I’ve been talking to friends about the missing cat. The cat is not here. Why? she sauntered or dashed or flew through an open door. Her name is Tara, while her sister is Scarlette. Scarlette is still here, while Tara has departed for parts unknown.
Tara is the little one, while Scarlette is the big bad alpha of the litter. Tara weighs eleven pounds, while Scarlette is roughly double that size. Since Tara’s departure Scarlette seems upset, and isn’t eating with her customary gusto. She’s not the only one.
As I confront my feelings –sadness, shock, frustration– at the departure of a cat that is one of my favourite people (you won’t see that as a contradiction if you have a pet) , I am trying to put a frame around the event, trying to make sense out of what happened.
In the context of the two cats arrival –feral kitties persuaded to come in out of the wild outdoors for the comforts of a Scarberian home–this is an unexpected turn of the tail… er- tale. The life expectancy of outdoor cats is nowhere near as long as that of cats inside a house (as I speculated in yesterday’s post). Starving feral kitties at death’s door, brought indoors to stretch out in well-fed comfort was the expected story-line, and might still be the story for Scarlette.
But how do we understand what’s happened with Tara? She went through the open door into the wild.
This is not what we expected. It feels tragic or at least, sad and upsetting. The open door can be a synonym for “incompetent owners”. It’s a pointless waste of a life if she dies, although i am hopeful that she can survive for at least awhile, and maybe just maybe, either be coaxed back inside or be found at the animal shelter.
There are shelters, and cats are sometimes brought in. We’ll see if Tara allows herself to be caught. It depends on how well her adventure goes, on whether she’s able to forage, or if instead the adventure becomes more perilous than she expected when she followed her nose out into the fresh air.
And maybe that storyline is a bit selfish. Who’s to say whether it was even a good thing that Tara (to use the name we hung on her) came inside? She was always wilder than her big sister, and maybe more feral than we realized. Funny how one thinks about such things later, as a kind of post mortem (although she’s not dead as far as we know).
I was watching a youtube video of Peter Hofmann, the heldentenor whose untimely death was reported today. In the linked scene, Siegmund is told by Brunnhilde (goddess, and unbeknownst to Siegmund, his half-sister) that he’s appointed to go to Valhalla: tantamount to an announcement of his impending death.
One of the big differences between real life and art is those frames that are put around events. Not only is Siegmund confronted with the end of his life story, but this opera –like most– is structured around deaths & big events in the lives of the protagonists.
I wonder if the actual event for poor Peter Hofmann was more like that of Siegmund or like that of Tara: coming at the expected place in a big story, or a sudden absurd event with no apparent logic?
I don’t really know whether Tara has ended, or merely gone off into the sunset, possibly with heroic music on her internal soundtrack. And yes she did hear all that Wagnerian stuff in her time. Sometimes it was coming out of the TV + DVD. Sometimes it was coming out of the piano & out of me, playing & singing.
There are two versions of my favourite piece of music. Hm i feel a bit nervous typing that but come to think of it, yes i know it without hesitation at this moment. While my thesis concerns Debussy, and i have had warm fuzzy moments with his Nocturnes, his piano music, even withPelléas et Mélisande (subjects of that aforementioned thesis), like Debussy himself, since childhood, I’ve had a weakness for Richard Wagner.
There’s one tantalizing composition that exists in at least two versions. I first encountered Siegfried’s Rhine Journey as a child. I had no idea what it was about, because i had yet to encounter even my first Wagner opera.
Later, I started working through the Ring cycle, beginning with Die Walküre. By the time I got to Das Rheingold I was fortunate to get the London recording (aka the “Solti” because of the conductor), which came with a marvellous little extra. Wagner’s themes were explained, and then, like a magical gloss, as one followed the libretto, they’d prompt you, that we were hearing the theme associated with the Rhinemaidens, the gold or the Ring. Wow. Before long I started to realize that the cool piece of music —Siegfried’s Rhine Journey— contains lots of those themes.
I discovered that the excerpted version of this orchestral interlude sometimes has a concert ending that is substantially different than what we get in the opera from which it is taken. The first version i heard seemed to show a happy ending, as if Siegfried happily rides off into the sunset. The version we get in the opera confronts us with something disturbingly different: that Siegfried is going to die. We know it at this moment at the beginning of Act I, long before the actual catastrophe. In death, Siegfried gets a death scene and music befitting a hero.
Hofmann & Tara, unlike Siegfried, can’t get that kind of treatment in real life. Even so I am trying to picture both Hofmann and Tara riding into the sunset, a happy ending to their adventures.