Lotus position

I like to think her name is Sheila.

I don’t know why. Maybe it’s that sheela means lotus flower, which symbolizes purity and rebirth. At least, that’s what my friend said when she got a pink lotus flower tattoo, long before the internet was a thing.

This new Sheila feeds my cat colony in the mornings. Truck drivers would tell me about her, that she was always getting in trouble with local businesses for her kindness. So she’d park far away and lug her little white styrofoam bowls and cans to feed the babies.

She mostly got in trouble because she didn’t always clean up. That’s why I got forewarned — feed them if you like; just make it look like you were never here.

That was a welcome change from everywhere I’ve lived where they say don’t feed them at all.

Sheila got pretty good about cleaning up. And if she missed a bowl — the same white bowls I bring from the dollar store — or a can, I take them for her.

I haven’t seen any of her things lately.

I wonder if she is staying inside because of the quarantine.

Or if she lost her income and feeding our dozen or so strays got to be too much.

Most cats come every day. But lately there are a few missing.

One hopes they found homes. There are plenty of housing developments nearby.

Knowing the main road they live by, though, that’s a very hopeful statement.

There are also a lot of predators. I love a good raccoon or possum or bird. But I’ve broken up enough duck and cat fights to know that the biggest enemy might have the same wings or tail that you do.

Anyway. Sheila is on my mind today.

My hope is she scooped up a kitty and is loving on him or her in lockdown.

Maybe Sheila had some favorites and it’s too heartbreaking to come back and not see them.

We all name these cats. All the locals who walk by have names for each of them, too.

The story goes that an elderly lady nearby collected like 80 cats and couldn’t take care of them. Which explains why we have literally every color, breed and size roaming around.

I hope she does come out and I just don’t see the evidence.

I hope she is healthy and well, wherever she is.

I often think about dropping down to a couple times a week. Traveling daily is harder than it is costly, and not just in money terms.

But then I think of those empty bellies. Those kitties who go sleep on a pothole cover or find a safe place on a wall when I leave, and I just can’t fit it in my head.

I wonder if the remaining kitties miss the ones that are missing.

Or if they say, bye, more foodz for me when the hoomins do come.

I don’t know.

I do know I can’t wait to see my Bernie, Magic, Morris, Cocoa, Cal, Bella, Kenya and Shawnee again. And I’ll always look for “pretty Kenya” (the long-haired female version of him) and a handful of others I haven’t spotted in a while.

My prayer list is long. I hope the gods and kitty gods hear it.

May they all have a full belly and a safe place to land, and a long, secure life to go with it. Thank you that I have the means to give them some nourishment till then.

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