Under the Stars

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“She says nothing at all, but simply stares upward into the dark sky and watches, with sad eyes, the slow dance of the infinite stars.”  ~ Neil Gaiman, Stardust

It is nearly 5 AM and I’ve yet to write a word until now. Excuse me while I step outside. There’s a good show going on out there. We often call it stars, but what gets to me is what is between and behind the stars. That’s the good stuff. Like I said, I’m going outside, be right back.

It’s below freezing, your nitwit scribe has been outside, barefoot, in his rich gray fleece bathrobe, and, yes, the stars are there, as is the space between them. The scribe is me, and I was just looking in the mirror, right before I stepped outside, and I noticed that the pentacle and my mom’s garnet and gold ring still dangle on a chain around my neck. Having a chain around my neck sounds like an analogy for a working man, but I don’t want to go there today. Today is Halloween, or Samhain. The latter term is the former reality. Samhain has been around for a long, long time. Halloween – not so much. You could call it All Hallows Eve, and that would also be correct. Then again tomorrow will be All Saints Day. All Saints? Really? Bring it on. We could use that kind of help. Let’s start with Saint Francis of Assisi, k?

Our opening photo for today’s post, here at EyeYotee, is of some more shelter cats. That’s Kanga on the left, Castiel in the center, and Prince Harry on the right. I, instead of doing the obvious photoshop sort of thing, left Prince Harry in there because I want to advocate for him, since he has the longest record as a resident in our shelter. That’s why the photo is out of balance. Prince Harry needs a new home. Perhaps yours? We caregivers at Stray Hearts animal shelter, in Taos New Mexico, are in the business of providing the animals with the best care possible so that they can be most ready to “go home” when adoption time comes. Our wages are low. That’s because the shelter is a non-profit and funds are low. The funds could be higher, and we hope that they will be so in the future, but that just ain’t the case these days. What I am getting to is that it is all about the animals. We are there for the animals. Does that make sense to you? Or do you subscribe to the stories about what a wicked place it is in which we work? Stories of wickedness tend to detract from donations rather than encourage them. What’s the sense in that? It ain’t been easy, folks, because as these stories of wickedness swirled throughout this small town the pressure laid upon the shelter crew has pretty much been, at best, an unnecessary  burden, which was passed on through to the animals, and these animals have no forum as far as any WTF issues they might have. The crew has a few WTF issues as well, but the issues usually remain around and at the break table as the crew goes back to work. Wait a minute now. My bad. The crew must carry these issues as they tend to the animals. There’s no way around it. As a crew member I must note that what goes around comes around, so if stories of wickedness go around it inevitably comes around to us. And to the animals who are like all dude where’s my kibble and why haven’t you changed my linens yet?

Let me tell you about the morning I came to work and saw a dead automobile in the parking lot.  When I got there several employee’s cars were parked outside the gate, which had not been unlocked and opened because there was some of that police crime scene tape draped all over it; yellow ribbon to warn us that something wicked had occurred. I looked over the fence and saw the burnt out car. Let’s call it nausea. I went almost dizzy in considering what had happened and all of the implications attached. Somebody had the good sense to call the police. An officer soon came to examine the scene before removing enough yellow ribbon to allow us through so that we could get to work. My car had been broken down, and it had been parked next to the vehicle that was now in ashes. I’d had it towed and repaired just the day before. If it had still been parked it would have probably been burnt as well. Lucky me. My car was okay. That aside, we went to work that day and gave the animals the best care we could provide. But, let me tell you, when you have started the day with a sight like that, and with having to call the police to let you in to work, it kind of fries your mind a bit. Listen, the animals feel the residue of that kind of stress. How could they not?

Yesterday a fellow worker and I were sitting at the break table, waiting for 5 PM to clock out for the day, when two of the board members, who oversee the shelter activity, arrived and came over to us. They assured us that better days were coming, and hopefully soon. They also thanked us for our good work. They suggested that we were heroes. They gave us food for thought. They made us feel better after several months of living under the gun. That’s important. Because it’s all about the animals. Human politics should not eclipse this reality. Not now, not ever. I work with the cats, and I love being serenaded all day long by their precious voices. To have those little voices overwhelmed by the shouts of outraged humans just boggles my mind. I’m tired of it.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.


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