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The Sassy Sandpiper:  MEWS-ings of a Crazy Cat Lady

Sassy Sandpiper | TB Reporter

The Sassy Sandpiper reflects on the delights of cats and other forms of nature.

By M.R. WILSON, Columnist, Tampa Bay Reporter

It’s well past the summer solstice and I am not a-mews-ed. As you may well know, this is not my favorite season.

Summer 2020 is unlike any other in my lifetime, given the threat of Covid-19, social turbulence and the dismal political scenario. I’m not savvy in either epidemiology or debate so I stick with science and unvarnished history, like the work of Dr. Anthony Fauci and Howard K. Zinn. Compassion and common sense are trampled daily, so it’s a constant effort—an exhausting effort—to maintain any semblance of emotional and mental equilibrium.

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society,” believed Jiddu Krishnamurti, Indian philosopher, speaker and writer.

Likely the most well adjusted beings I know are my companion cats. How can I not emulate their ways? Eat off and on all day, nap frequently, play with simple things, gaze out the window, groom often, growl and hiss occasionally, yowl as necessary, repeat.

Catlike, I sometimes prowl for adventures and distractions. Yesterday, I visited the new St. Pete Pier. Spectacular architecture. A billowing kinetic sculpture. I’ve never seen the bay so blue. Happy people walked and biked; some wore masks. Smart distances between couples, family clusters and solo visitors. I took 25 photos only to hear the heart-sinking rasp of a too-slow shutter  on the last one before my camera expired. I’d only recharged the battery a few weeks ago. All the photos were lost in a whitewash. Somehow the settings went askew as well as premature battery death. I will return to the Pier soon.

While I didn’t think of making catnip tea to quell my disappointment by sharing the felines’ glee, there was the solace of fresh mangos. They’ve been an extraordinary delight, a gift from a friend’s co-worker who has a mature tree. The bountiful fruit has no doubt been possible at least in part by unusually abundant rainfall, especially this past month. I’m reminded of weather patterns during my childhood. You could set your watch by the 4 p.m. thundershowers rolling in from the Gulf.

Sassy Sandpiper | TB Reporter

Only one leash, so I can’t take all my cats on walks to the park, not that any one of them would tolerate such restraint. But I must say what’s been written about the benefits of time in natural settings holds true. Visits to Raymond H. Neri Community Park, although less frequent during the sweltering summer, are a balm for my buffeted spirit. More people and pets abound in the Covid-19 era. There’s the pride and pleasure of the park’s friends group, which has grown to 206 members and includes some exceptionally personable and talented folks.

Sassy Sandpiper | TB Reporter

Sassy Sandpiper | TB Reporter
Laura Petersen Brown, left, and Kim McDonald, both of Lealman.

I certainly don’t wake from sleep with the agility and grace of a cat, much less the happy anticipation of freshly filled food and water bowls. Mornings are grumpy times; thankfully coffee in bed with several furry bodies improves the “forecast.” To avoid letdown, I watch a video called Chase the Light by Matt Wertz as soon as possible. It’s the cat’s meow.


M.R. Wilson | Sassy Sandpiper | Neri Park | Tampabay News | News Tampa

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