Metaphor – or Phive

Dave Smith

Taz creates a very unique cat-astrophic existence.  He does his very best to be the typical slither sneak slink of mischief,  but absolutely fails at the “who, me?” end result.  Guilt lives in his every post-crash moment.  One trait I have come to love, a trait that brings a smile every time.  Once abed, I, in the tradition of most sleepers, flip the pillow for the cool side of cotton to enhance my doze moments. I roll to my side and stretch an arm across the sheets.  I must then signal to my pets that they may join – a fingernail kneed of the extra pillow scratches into their attention, somehow, someway.  Most often at that time Taz joins me.  His quite quiet entry unnoticed, his panther-like leap up the side of my 4 poster bedframe a ten even by a Soviet judge. But the landing, oh not so much.  No “stick it”, four pawed beauty for this boy.  Pretty much I don’t think he has any spring reaction, no gentle compression to soften the end of this routine.  These nightly phlop plops followed by three or more distinct “meeerowwws” to announce “how’d I do papa?” define his life.  I know when the Tazmaster wants to snooze.  Soon a wet nose pokingly lifts my hand and a furry head slides under my palm.  A few curls, nips, licks, and nuzzles later, he settles in.  Though all of this, Nani has silently entered, leapt with no recoil or bounce onto the bed, and jumped to the top edge of the unused mattress propped against the wall next to the open window.  The incoming breeze carries her whisper-purrr.  “Nite papa-I got the high ground covered.”

Awaking, usually in the early peak of dawn when a Soo Line forgets the no horn crossing or a night owl double clicks the key fob and a car horn scraws “I’m locked”, I need to wiggle life back into my arm crawling with the prickles of little circulation.  Taz now resides on what I used to call a bicep, his tail a slow, furtive flick on my forearm and his paw protectively, rhythmically scrunching my hair.  In the pale light, Nani sleeps with one leg dropped over her bed ledge, the pose of a lioness ever alert beneath the veneer of slumber.  All is well at Dave’s house.  The cats in their cradles with silver spoons, to steal a thought from Harry Chapin with nowhere near the intent of his lyric.  They have comfort.  And thank me with giving it in return. Under a sheet and hooded with a blue striped blanket, I don’t disturb any of this.  I flex a little, the prickles ease, and I manage a pillow flip, ever so slowly.  Comfort.

I suppose somewhere in this think lies a metaphor to my faith journey.  I’d use the term “parable”, but that belongs only to Jesus.  I find Him in so many different ways, in so many literary devices of my days –  new, old, and yet unlived.  A bounced pontoon ride to escape sudden storm alludes to Jesus calming the waters.  High wisps of cloud strings and the cumulus puffs bulging creates similes for watching disciples.  “Is He really gone?  Will He be back?”  A trip down a gravel/dirt road to a mystery in need of exploration dusts my feet and dirties my sandals, my “Jerusalem Cruisers” of younger days.   Symbolism.  Rhythm, rhyme, alliteration, onomatopoeia, euphony, and cacophony – playthings for thinks, for sharing the comfort and assurance of Christ.

Taz sighs, jerks in dream and I scratch his nose. Nani rises, does that cat-stretch, arch back, front paws reach back to a curl of furry sleep happy.  Me, I close my free hand and knuckle bump with whichever of God’s angels rests above me.  I tend to keep them busy.