Saturday, August 14, 2010
(ph: Paul Brady)
For many years now historians have preferred to turn their attention to long periods, as if, beneath the shifts and changes of political events, they were trying to reveal the stable, almost indestructible system of checks and balances, the irreversible processes, the constant readjustments, the underlying tendencies that gather force, and are then suddenly reversed after centuries of continuity, the movements of accumulation and slow saturation, the great silent, motionless bases that traditional history has covered with a thick layer of events.
Friday, August 13, 2010
August, 1984. James was downtown at Seventh and Massachusetts when he heard a cat mewling very loudly as if in pain. He went over to see what was wrong and the little black cat leapt into his arms. He brought it back to the house and when I started to open a tin of cat food the little beast jumped up onto the sideboard and rushed at the can. He ate himself out of shape, shit the litter box full, then shit on the rug. I have named him Fletch. He is all flash and glitter and charm, gluttony transmuted by innocence and beauty. Fletch, the little black foundling, is an exquisite, delicate animal with glistening black fur, a sleek black head like an otter's, slender and sinuous, with green eyes.
After two days in the house he jumped onto my bed and snuggled against me, purring and putting his paws up to my face. Fe is an unneutered male about six months old with splashes of white on his chest and stomach.
I kept Fletch in the house for five days lest he run away, and when we let him out he scuttled forty feet up a tree. The scene has a touch of Rousseau's Carnival Evening... a smoky moon, teenagers eating spun sugar, lights across the midway, a blast of circus music and Fletch is forty feet up and won't come down. Shall I call the fire department? Then Ruski goes up the tree and brings Fletch down.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Someone said that cats are the furthest animal from the human model. It depends upon what breed of humans you are referring to, and of course what cats. I find cats uncannily human on occasion.
In 1963 Ian Sommerville and I had just moved into the house at 4 calle Larachi in Tangier. Several cats assemble in the open door, slinking back and forth but afraid to come within reach. One white cat inches forward. I put out my hand. The cat arches his back, moving back and forth and purring under my hand as cats have done since the first cat was tamed.
The other cats growl and whine in protest: "Front-office brown nose!"
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
In your schooldays most of you who read this book made acquaintance with the noble building of Euclid's geometry, and you remember — perhaps with more respect than love — the magnificent structure, on the lofty staircase of which you were chased about for uncounted hours by conscientious teachers.