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Yep, I'm wearing purple today. Lots of it.

I don't remember their names- they don't deserve the honor. I do remember what was said to me, what was done to me, what misery I suffered on a daily basis from first grade right through to 12th grade, I remember the names and faces of the few who stood by me and stood up to the bullies. Among those fine, courageous, true friends I count my mother and my sister (who had plenty of her own bullies to stand up to) and my (few) girlfriends. And I remember my pony Prince who, while unconscious of things like school or bullies, was the best possible companion for me. In his company I left everything bad behind and was returned to the truth of not only my self but of the world. The strength I learned from him and his patience and love for me are still part of my life today and I will be forever grateful for his friendship. Someday I hope to have the money to retire some old school horse, keep some poor beast from the slaughter house in his name.

So, yes, wearing purple because what I endured was nothing compared to what some of my friends endured or what kids suffer with today. No one, NO ONE should have to go through this.
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“Now we shall describe the disciples of the Buddha. They do not conclude that the nature of the mind is destroyed. Although they are constantly bringing beings to enlightenment, they do not generate emotional attachment. They constantly cultivate insight, so that stupidity and wisdom are equalized. They constantly dwell in meditation, so that there is no difference between clarity and chaos for them. They constantly view sentient beings whom Bodhisattvas have vowed to save, and yet they know the beings have never had permanent existence and ultimately neither come into existence nor pass away. True disciples everywhere manifest form which is not seen nor heard. Completely understanding all things, they have never grasped or rejected anything. They have never transformed themselves into other bodily forms, and yet their bodies are everywhere in Ultimate Reality.”

Excerpted from Early Ch’an in China and Tibet
This selection translated by David Chappell
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Movie review "Life Blood."

Well... so, we're house sitting a lovely place that has Net Flix. Probably thousands of movies to choose from, live streaming... and we picked something called "Life Blood." It was so... bad... Sort of vampire girl-on-girl porn but without the sex. One of the reviews starts, "I knew I should have turned this movie off in the first five minutes..." but he didn't and neither did we. Frankly, I'm not sure why we didn't.

Anyway, if you like your movies confusing but with lots of fake blood and girl vampires in skimpy clothes revealing almost everything and finally nothing, a script that has some of the worst lines ever written and a sound track that is first-song-I-ever-wrote-open-mic-bad then this is the flick for you.

Oh, and God is a woman with extraordinarily bad make-up and a transparent gown that leaves all of Her attributes plain to see.

Whew. I'm at a loss to say anything more. Very odd.
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Harpy eagles are BIG.

I mean REALLY big. If I saw one overhead I'd duck and cover. I can really see how something like this in the sky would spawn all sorts of stories, legends and other types of tales in impressionable folk. And with the size of this bird and it's sharp talons (up to five inches in length!!!) that would include, oh, just about everyone with a hind brain.

Wonderful photos, slightly disturbing "cycle of life" video involving a harpy eagle successfully hunting a sloth (poor sloth!) and a still of a harpy eagle eating a rabbit. Also, very interesting text about mammals and their warning calls, or lack thereof, for predators. Enjoy!

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On the same melancholic note, a little Kipling..

From a Facebook friend:

"The Power of the Dog" - Rudyard Kipling

"Garm - a Hostage" - Actions and Reactions

There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie -
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart for a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet's unpoiken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find - it's your own affair -
But . . . you've given your heart to a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!)
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone - wherever it goes - for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart to a dog to tear.

We've sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent.
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we've kept 'em, the more do we grieve:

For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-time loan is as bad as a long
So why in Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?
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Mona the Cat.

Queen of all she surveys
aged though she is
weakened in the legs

The room you're in is hers
she tolerates you there
so feed her when she says

Ancient and timeless she strides
reminding us all
while we live, we're still HERE.
-Kurt Mesford.

Well, what can I say? Mona really wasn't feeling well the last two days or so. She stopped eating and then today stopped drinking. She wanted to drink but... she didn't, just sat over the water bowl as if she just couldn't quite summon up the energy to bother with the task. Or perhaps she couldn't quite see the point of it anymore after nearly 19 years...

So the vet very kindly came over tonight and gave her a sedative. I imagine you'll think this is silly of me, but I was holding her and as the sedative took effect I could see and feel her energy float up and out and gently hover about three inches above her body. When Mona's body was completely limp and she was certainly fast asleep, the vet gave her the second shot. Mona's energy gently rose up and expanded until it was like a fine fog or mist of cat essence over us, still within the house.

We put her body in a plastic tub on a towel. After the vet was gone we showed her to Biscuit- who definitely reacted to her companion's dead body. Not with fright but clearly with consciousness of the difference- and a little anxiety. She went outside for a while and when she came back she was the same silly girl she usually is, watched tv with us, migrating from lap to lap and generally being very sweet. She went and sniffed at Mona's bed once and that was about it.

I can still feel Mona, she's still around us, very calm and composed and expectant but not quite ready to leave us yet.

We all feel sad, of course, but also so happy that her life ended so easily and peacefully surrounded by people who loved her and wanted the best for her. We were truly blessed to have her with us even for so short a time. Mona was a being of high quality, a lady of stern character and proved it from the first moment she walked in the door. Poor Biscuit sometimes got the brunt of that sternness, but they became friends nonetheless. As Mona came to know us she allowed her stern aspect to slip aside now and then and show us the depth and generosity of her heart. As she aged and became more rickety her warmth grew and in the last weeks I often felt her butt my leg with her head and her purrs were quick to rise and slow to fade away.

Mom will take her body to my sister's house tomorrow and it will rest in exalted company- but her spirit is already prepared to go on to whatever is next. I'm not sure but perhaps she's just waiting until we're ready to really let her go.

So think of Mona and be glad! Mark the passing of this fine Lady! Wish her well, light a candle, pet your own furry companions, do or think whatever suits you best and be glad!