He said the assignment is an easy one for this class, write a piece, poem or story, your choice, but focused on a single metaphor. Oh, and to make it interesting, that metaphor should be the last pet you owned or currently own, and if you’ve never been blessed with a pet, use an ocelot or a lynx.
How hard could it be, I thought, I have a cat, she will be my metaphor, and so I sat, picked up pen and paper and absolutely nothing came.
The cat watched me, heard me mutter under, I thought, my breath, then gently mewed: “Cats cannot be metaphors, you should know that, for we are unique in nature, unless of course you wish to write about God, for we know that we were created in his image.
She sat us down this morning for a heart to heart conversation. We had mentioned the neighbors’ new dog, their second, this one little smaller than a pony. She smiled at us, but we could tell it was a false smile, something was hiding about to be set free. “That is the problem with dogs,” she said, “they come in all sizes and temperaments. You never know what to expect, except that in any weather, but mostly the kind you hate, you have to walk them, or they walk you. And loud, they all seem to come without volume controls. So be thankful you have me. Now excuse me, my litter pan beckons.”
The Buddha said that any task you do if done mindfully is a sort of meditation. We assume he said it, we’ve been told he did, but no one I know was anywhere near that bodhi tree, so we take it on faith. When it comes to things like chopping large quantities of onions, or roasting coffee beans I totally get it, it does seem like meditation, and deep at that. Walking the dog makes the list, and perhaps convincing the cat to do anything she didn’t think of by out waiting her. I can even accept washing the car or the dishes, but washing the dog is only so on rare occasions and only if I medicate her first, and the cat, forget it. But even Buddha would have to concede that no matter how totally mindful you are, driving anywhere in either Broward or Miami-Dade counties is as far from meditative as opting to commit sepuku with a butter knife.