The tenor soloist in a Christian Church during Advent Season sometimes gets to be an ambassador of hope. The text for Handel’s Messiah comes directly from the Bible:
Recit: Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned. . . .The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Air:Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill made low, the crooked straight, and the rough places plain.
I was privileged to play that role this past Sunday even though i was acting. It’s not that i find it difficult to sing this text with conviction, but rather, that I was not feeling hopeful.
Scarlett & Tara are two feral cats who have been living indoors since 2007, when they were coaxed away from the wild, to the warmth one finds indoors. While Scarlett is still inside, Tara somehow got outside last week. She’s three years old, small, and I don’t believe she’s really prepared for the cold nights we’ve been seeing.
What’s more I live in a rough neighbourhood. I’m very fond of the Scarborough Bluffs, and unfortunately, so are pet owners looking for a place to release unwanted cats. The parents of Tara & Scarlett were probably released into the wild, although it’s hard to know how many generations back the feral part of the family began.
The past few days I have been making posters with Tara’s sweet expression, hoping to catch the attention of anyone walking by.
Reason would argue that Tara’s survival is unlikely. My heart wants to believe that she can find a place to hide at night, to avoid the hazards of the neighbourhood
- fast cars
- coyotes, foxes, raccoons
- pets and feral cats
- the coming winter
I will continue to hope that Tara might be out there somewhere, that she’s tougher than she looks. The drama of her accidental release may be a misreprentation; maybe she chose the wild, and is bravely adventuring after too much comfort and warmth.
I am reminded of Achilles, who chose a short life of heroic adventure over the long life in tranquil obscurity. There is also the line in Blade Runner.
The candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long.
The life expectancy of a cat in the wild seems to conform to the choice that confronted Achilles. Whatever the truth might be, I would be happy if someone else welcomed her inside, even if I’ll never know for sure.
My fondest hope is to persuade her to come back inside again.