Year of the Cat

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The music of childhood can resonate for years. There are some songs from those years that can evoke just how I felt the first time I heard a particular song. Al Stewart’s “Year of the Cat” is one of them.

I think I was watching a rainstorm from the picture window of our living room in suburban Indianapolis when I first heard that one. The photo above was taken right around the same time; Snoopy was my likely companion for this reverie, too. I recall that the song transported me to a wistful feeling that was novel at the time, like I was longing for the future as someone older might long for a time in the past. I sensed that rainy days were good for solitude so one could reflect on curious feelings and things, like what happened to the toy elephant in that made several appearances in the pictures of my sister taken before I was born? One of my earliest memories was breaking something, like the sound of its shattering awoke me into conscious memory. Had I broken that elephant?

The song itself seems to be just as lost in time as my feelings were on that day. I feel like there’s an underlying sense of the British trying to find their place in a postcolonial world. That has little relevance to a American in the Midwest, except that sometimes I do feel like I am living in an outpost of a bygone empire.

Today has been just as rainy as that afternoon when I watched the storm from the picture window of our living room in the late 70’s. I heard this song as I drove home from work today and knew that it was the right music for this day that was 40 years in the future from that afternoon.

Garden, June 9

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Rain has reigned today (homonym intended) with just a few peeks of steaming sunshine. We’ve already had an inch of rain today, and an omen of more appeared in the street:

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I don’t think we’ve had enough wind today for the pool to have arrived via a strong gust. Maybe all the owner’s children have outgrown so small a pool, so this freight of early childhood was slyly discarded in a way that commemorates past neighborhood floods.

Our garden has needed this rain. The yard looks like shorn straw in places, which oddly reminds me of that episode of Spongebob Squarepants wherein Spongebob realizes that he becomes bleached rather than tanned in sunny weather. That is one thing I won’t forget about my own daughter’s early childhood, Spongebob’s sometimes edgy humor. That episode¬†about the Krusty Krab training video is quite subversive. It makes me consider that while we are lucky that one’s first job is no longer dangerous child labor (at least in this part of the world), there is still something a tiny bit soul-crushing about selling one’s labor for the first time, especially if that buyer trains with patronizing cheesiness. By the way, I feel lucky that I work for a business that doesn’t have corny, dumb-downed training materials. I once worked for a now-defunct retailer whose training video on loss prevention featured an elderly woman slipping a set of steak knives into a purse that matched her babushka.

Back to the garden, the sudden rain enriched the ditch that runs between our backyard and an adjacent wetland. Somehow a Dutch iris has emerged in the ditch:

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The rest of the ditch has adopted an Ophelia-worthy pose like these water lilies before bloom:

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This year we decided to add morning glories and a trellis to the garden. The seedlings are starting to grow leaves and were undoubtedly grateful today’s rain:

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My pots and hanging baskets continue to prosper:

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Cookies and Rain

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Monday is my whirlwind. This day is dense with tasks at work and at home. As I start my week, it’s inevitable that I’ll need to do something I set aside last week. No matter how much I try to stay ahead of the current, there is usually some basket of laundry or pile of papers that can wait no longer. I also do a retrospective in numbers of the past week at work. These reports have thousands of rows of figures. I wish all that is done outside work could be plugged into cells and sorted, too. The tide comes in Monday, for all that is counted or uncountable.

My daughter and I baked some chocolate chip cookies for my family’s little Fourth of July gathering tomorrow. We used a Ghirardelli mix for these batches.

The weather was heavy with heat and humidity today, and an early evening rain relieved some of the tension:

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