Black Cats in Sun and Shade: A Painter’s Eye View

Catwoods:

I’m reblogging my earlier essay about black cats today because it’s Black Cat Appreciation Day. It includes a few ideas for taking photos of black cats.

Originally posted on Catwoods Porch Party:

My Little Buddy, who goes by several names

My Little Buddy, who goes by several names

or, The Natural Black Cat

Update: See 2nd photo below, added April 21, 2014; actually taken after any of the other photos in this post.

Over the years we’ve had fourteen domestic felines; five of those have been black cats. They’re glorious, purrsome, and chirpsome; they make me call out “Hey, sweetness”! They’re major snugglers, and adept communicators; I’ve had deep rapport with black kitties. My imagination always sings when I see a black furry creature lounging in the house, busy making sheen from sunlight. Often reported to be some of the most affectionate cats, they walk up with eyes bright and loving, do head-bumps, and always work a takeover of human hearts. My own ‘house panthers’ have been thoughtful muses, taking up lap vantage points at the drawing table and the computer. I adore black cats! I’m tellin’ black cat stories here…

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Our Cat with Feline Radial Hypoplasia

Little Buddy, flattered by green

Little Buddy, flattered by green

Those eyes!

Those eyes!

Little Buddy, our cat with radial hypoplasia (RH), travels close to the floor. He is nearing 19 years of age.

In 1995, my late Mom found a stray cat, along with her two kittens, living in her shed. This tuxie momcat had an elegant face with a white stripe down her nose. Her extra toes put her over the typical feline toe count, making her a polydactyl. One kitten, a tabby, had regular feet. The other kitty had radial hypoplasia, a condition in which the radial bones fail to generate, resulting in bent forelegs. Also known as agenesis radius, most of the literature indicates it’s a rare expression of the polydactyl gene. These cats usually learn to walk on their elbows, crouched, with a rocking and crablike gait. Mom had the momcat spayed, and later found good homes for this sweet cat and her typically-footed kitten. Mom was told the RH kitty was less likely to be adopted. So when she’d walked into the house carrying him, setting him down carefully, he was with us for keeps. Little Buddy proceeded to captivate us all with those big gold eyes. He became a master snuggler.

Household explorer

Household Explorer

Little Buddy was examined by two vets; Mom took him out of town to see a veterinary orthopedic specialist who had an interest in doing surgery on RH cats to straighten the bent front legs. The consensus of vet opinion was that Little Buddy was not in pain and had sufficient mobility as he was, therefore surgery was an unnecessary risk. Now that there are more radial hypoplasia kitties being cared for in homes you’ll see some pet parents who opt for surgery, and some who don’t. I’m not saying one approach is better than another. Every case is different, and RH cats should always be examined by a number of veterinarians. If the first vet seems really quick to recommend euthanasia on the basis of the condition alone, without in-depth evaluation, insist on gathering other opinions.

Sleeping with Bud, his pal, as pillow

Sleeping next to The Budster

Little Buddy is also polydactyl, with six toes on each hind foot. His wide back paws and  long hind legs are very strong and help compensate for his lower functioning front legs. As a young cat, he was bold, adventurous, and skilled at climbing and jumping. We kept finding him reclining on top of the refrigerator. To get there he had to leap up shelf by rack until he was on a high enough plateau to jump over to the fridgetop. We tried to always lift him down from any high place, to prevent him from making the hard landings RH cats can have if they jump down themselves. He moved with astonishing speed, especially when he was on a fast-waddle dash out the door, into the wild green yonder. Who knew he’d be quicker than we were? Once out, he’d hesitate long enough for one of us to grab him and bring him inside. He had no concept of being limited. He was the picture of “bright eyed and bushy-tailed” with his gold irises and floofy black fur. Mom had her house carpeted throughout to give him walking and running traction. He was more active than any of her other cats!

Hind foot with toes galore!

Hind foot with toes galore!

This links to an essay about black cats featuring more photos of Little Buddy:

http://catwoodsporchparty.wordpress.com/2013/06/12/black-cats-in-sun-and-shade-a-painters-eye-view/

The literature indicates that radial hypoplasia appears to be associated with polydactyl genes, although other causes noted are in utero events, such as mineral deficiencies. http://www.vetbook.org/wiki/cat/index.php/Radial_agenesis.

RH cats are also known as ‘squittens’, and ‘twisty cats'; they are now being adopted by caregivers who make social media pages for them, and write articles supportive of these cats. But there’s also a boatload of misunderstanding about them. Negative comments have turned up,  including speculation that RH cats exist in the stray and feral population due to escapees from breeding programs. In my opinion that’s false. To the best of my knowledge there may have been one breeding episode in the past, but searches of Internet and general media do not turn up any breeding programs currently ongoing. I don’t say this to argue with anyone, but to establish a comforting truth. I personally believe that RH cats turn up naturally in randomly breeding feline populations. Little Buddy is an example of such a cat. His tabby sister had typical legs and feet. His polydactyl momcat and his own feet may be evidence of the association with polydactylism. This trait was noted to occur at a rate of less than ten percent of cats in most areas by Stephen Budiansky (The Character of Cats: the Origins, Intelligence, Behavior, and Stratagems of Felis Silvestris Catus, p. 53). It’s more common in or near seacoast areas, because polydactyls were favored for ships’ cats. There are also photos on social media of RH kitties’ hind feet that look like our cat’s, with six or more toes. Over the years two more RH kittens have turned up locally. Both were homed; there are no doubt others I haven’t heard tell of. In those cases and some described on the Internet, the RH kittens’ siblings had routine leg formations.

There is no frequency data that I can find at this time, but we see RH cats mentioned more often these days. I believe this is because many humans have become more educated, more active and more caring regarding animals. RH cats may not survive in the wild; as neonates, they may have difficulty milk treading, and if they survive that stage they may not be able to defend themselves in the outdoors. More people doing TNR means more of these kittens are discovered, raised, and homed along with their littermates. Another factor is that RH cats found in previous years may have been euthanized immediately by persons who thought they could not have normal lives. Both those factors, lack of survival in the wild plus early ‘euthanasia’ of those who did survive, would blur the true rate of random occurrence in nature. Now we know that the less severely affected cats like Little Buddy can have great lives with a committed caregiver. Sadly, some kill shelters likely still label these cats and kittens “unadoptable”, kill them immediately and never give them a chance to be adopted. Not only would that also obscure the real number of RH cats born, it’s just not necessary because these cats are adoptable. RH cats are a very small subset of the polydactyl population, but I see so many social media pages now devoted to them, in both the US and UK, that I expect they turn up more frequently than is generally known. I personally think that NO healthy or treatable animals should be killed; I also think the RH cats and other special needs animals should not be killed.

Certainly no one should be breeding cats for this trait; but those RH cats who already exist can be cared for. We’ve managed with Little Buddy for nearly 19 years. There are people out there who will adopt them and provide special care.

Tips on how to care for an RH cat:

- Get a number of veterinary opinions about your cat and his/her chances of living a pain-free life. It’s best to include an orthopedic specialist. Part of the orthopedics determination about Little Buddy was made through observing his walk. I would suggest that observing your cat’s demeanor while he/she walks is important, too.

- RH cats can’t be outdoor cats, or even indoor-outdoor. They can only go out in the company of a human and with close supervision, and only if there is access to a completely safe area such as a fenced-in yard.

- Watch their forelegs carefully for any signs of sores and abrasions. If this occurs, protective covering can be fashioned. Although skin toughens up as a kitten becomes an adult, it’s best to keep up inspections. Any covering will have to be changed frequently and the limb checked to see that the garment itself doesn’t cause abrasion.

- Lift the kitties down when they get into high places, whenever you see them. Making a carpeted ramp can help for high spots the cat might insist on reaching frequently. Or, make a cushioned floor area near those enticing summits, since there will be mountain climbing when humans are absent. Access to high places can be also be avoided by re-arranging the furnishings the cats use as “steps” to climb to high places.

- If you live on more than one level, prevent access to stairs with barriers that RH cats cannot breach.

- Tend the litterbox(es) often because RH cats may not be as agile about avoiding whatever is already in the box. You’d want to do this anyway.

- A larger than usual litterbox is helpful for RH cats; it also helps if the box has low sides.

- Rugs and carpets will help provide traction for walking. That said, when we had to urgently transport Mom’s cats to our home because of a tornado, Little Buddy scampered easily on the uncarpeted surfaces. Your RH cat’s results may differ. It’s all about finding what works for your individual kitty.

- Little Buddy is a sturdy character who kept the upper paw in both our multi-cat households. Nevertheless, having an RH cat in a multi-cat household means staying alert to inter-cat dynamics.

- Be extra careful about stepping around in the house yourself, in case the cat is underfoot. We cat caregivers do this anyway, but with an RH cat, it’s even more important.

Awaiting dinner, notice my long sweeping whiskers!

Awaiting dinner, notice my long sweeping whiskers!

 

Little Buddy has lived a normal cat life, and he’s been beautiful and contented. As an elderly cat, he has now moved into the phase of life in which he has the same ailments as other older kitties. His in-depth story is part of my upcoming book and I hadn’t intended to excerpt part of it for this blog. However, seeing an increase in the numbers of radial hypoplasia cats on the web caused me to post these experiences. I wanted to get the message out there for all those individuals and animal advocates who may find RH cats like Little Buddy: this condition is manageable, and these cats can do just fine in homes with humans who accommodate their special needs. Like all cats, with the right care and understanding, they make sweet and loving companions. Little Buddy is a glorious pet!

 

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Spring: Creek, Flowers, Critters

Light fading on creek

Light fading on creek

Chilly air really stuck around this year; that’s odd. I went to the stream only a week or so back, for a warm, gala evening. Colors are back on the water. They’re more muted than in the creek photos from autumn, in this post: http://catwoodsporchparty.wordpress.com/2013/11/18/autumn-creekside/

Notice there is no creek post for winter. Not even snow, a rarity here, was enough to get me outside in the cold. I don’t do winter.

Twilight glitter

Twilight glitter

Water and rocks perform the audio tonight. Slanty sunrays do the light show.

Blooming was slightly out of sequence this spring. But the earliest budders were nonplussed by the chill, “What the hey, we’re comin’ on”.

Violet sweetness

Violet, sturdy and sweet

 

A wildflower that vounteers all over town, spiderwort can also be cultivated

A wildflower that volunteers all over town, Spiderwort can also be cultivated

Spiderwort bloomed in April, in town. Although an urban heat island is always warmer, to my thinking that’s still early. We usually don’t see it until June. The fig tree made fruit at the same time it was putting out leaves; highly unusual. Now blackberries are bursting out amidst my Mom’s vinca, they probably blew in with the 2011 tornado.

Spiderwort with leaves of unknown identity

Spiderwort hangin’ out with red leaves of unknown identity

Tree of mystery

Tree of mystery

This early bloomer was right on schedule. The tree’s most likely a crabapple, but has never fruited.

Wild Wisteria

Wild Wisteria

Out at the forest, wisteria was late, and scarce, although timely and profuse in town. A hint of the scent on a light wind can be maddening – in a good way.

March meeting of birds

March meeting of birds

Starling

Starling

A month or so back, birds swarmed these trees. Cool temperatures didn’t faze them. I identified one male cowbird and one starling; I believe the rest were mostly female cowbirds.

Iris bud ready to burst

Iris bud ready to burst

Three phases of iris

Three phases of iris

I prefer wildflowers, except for the purple glory of iris. These are my late Mom’s.  The sun puts a near metallic sheen on the bud in the first picture.

So many gray days this spring! Right after sunset on March 16th, the anniversary of the infamous pet food recall of 2007, the forest sky was slate gray along with a deep blue. The contrast doesn’t really show up in the photo:

Spooky spring sky

Spooky spring sky

Reflections come from the opposite creekbank

Reflections from the opposite bank

Cloudy evening

Cloud effect

Cloudy evening makes for pastel creek shades, two days before the severe weather night of April 28, 2014. For each tornado radar signature, the weathercasters read out towns and places in the possible path, bringing to mind names of people we know living in those places. Then suddenly we were in the polygon for a tornado; an F1 went right over a neighbor’s house. It was aloft, not reaching ground. In town, it had been on the ground and had done damage; it lifted before it got here. That was a day after the third anniversary of being in the F4 of 4.27.11.  Story at link:  http://catwoodsporchparty.wordpress.com/2012/04/14/tornado-on-the-ground-tuscaloosa-april-27-2011-3/

I am not pleased. I’m sick of playing whack-a-mole with tornados; we are the moles.

Madame Curious likes scaffolding

Madame Curious likes scaffolding

Madame Curious scrutinizing and supervising

Madame Curious scrutinizing and supervising

While I snap pictures and my husband repairs damage to the house in town from the F4 three years ago, the feral cat Madame Curious stays with him and meows instructions. She’s quite helpful. It’s astonishing how much that cat knows about masonry and even carpentry. I had to break it to her gently that I have the sayso about choosing colors, though. She didn’t like hearing that humans have a broader spectrum of color vision than cats.

Creek's edge

Creek’s edge

Back to the forest and the creek for breathers, for perspective, and to refresh the spirits, always. This post from last spring expresses our feelings for the creek: http://catwoodsporchparty.wordpress.com/2013/04/08/tributary-becoming-green-warriors-of-the-red-earth-country/

Appalachians

Appalachians

And, this is not far away. We’re in the southernmost part of the Appalachians, USA, Earth.

 

 

 

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Brightening Cat Photos with Added Color

Bud with blue

Bud with blue

The work, done by computer mouse, sort of feels like painting. This way of putting color on a photo blends the realism of un-retouched photographic captures with the artifice of hand-“painted” backgrounds. I’m sure it’s been done elsewhere, and as photo manipulation goes, it’s an elementary technique. For me it’s new. I just wanted to smooth out a busy background and had no intention of using the virtual “brush”. But when I saw the rainbow display of clickable colors on the screen, I was gone, in a whirl, like a kid with a box of crayons.

I find this brightens my flash-free indoor photos of black cats, dark cats, and even cats with lighter fur coloration. Even with strong sunlight diffusing in from windows, some of the backgrounds turn out rather dark. Adding highly saturated hues has made the subjects, their fur colors, and facial features, really stand out.

With Bud above, I chose a blue with a hint of violet because he had bluish highlights on his fur. Bud looks pointedly!

Little Buddy:

Little Buddy with Teal

Little Buddy with Teal

In a previous post I used the same photo, but the color wasn’t quite the intense teal I wanted. This is more like it! I’ve tried mainly greens with Little Buddy, because green is a color I’m passionate towards. Here is my post on black cats and ways to photograph them starring Little Buddy, an excerpt from my book: http://catwoodsporchparty.wordpress.com/2013/06/12/black-cats-in-sun-and-shade-a-painters-eye-view/

I find the hardest part is working around the whiskers and preserving their “real” look. I’ve often had to be content with a “sense” of whiskers. The spray of whiskers in the picture below worked out fairly well, I think. Another tricky area is edging up to the furry contours. The separate hairs are visible against the background and I want to preserve that. I don’t want a smoothed off division between cat and setting. I like things furry! Winsome Little Buddy has an expression both sweet and sly!

Winsome Little Buddy

Winsome Little Buddy

I never did any photo color enhancing before, or any retouching beyond evening out a stray speck of discolor. Photo manipulation enables artists to create fine art photos by enhancing colors and details. I haven’t tried any of those sophisticated techniques yet, so the subjects are essentially un-retouched in the first four photos.

These aren’t expertly done. I have the same fine finger imprecision I have with the traditional art materials I’m no longer able to use. Less set-up means I can do a small amount with virtual tools at the ready, but for me it’s very tiring so I can’t do much. I like the depth of the surfaces, although they fall far short of the transcendent luminosity, maybe even with multiple hues, that I’d like to have.

Anna in Sun

Anna in August Sun

This photo of my Anna, now gone to The Rainbow Bridge, was taken in bright sunlight. There’s no way I can retain the play of the natural light in the backgrounds, so I leave only hints. Her tabby fur now sparkles; before, contrast was needed. A good sun soak would always make Anna smile!

Choosing a color complementary to the cat’s fur or eye color increases gleam. At the end of this post:   http://catwoodsporchparty.wordpress.com/2013/09/23/cat-inspected-art/

there’s a picture of Bud with purple: Red-violet would have been the exact complementary to his yellow-green eyes, but medium violet, the split complementary, still lends zing to his gaze. I used purple because I like it, and because I thought it would look good with his deep sable brown coat.

I’m wondering if this technique would be helpful to those taking photos of shelter animals in need of homes. Someone with high level photo retouching skill could likely turn these out in a few minutes. I take much longer. It could counter any drabness of background, and would work for dogs too. As those with more art photo experience no doubt know, there’s also an easier way to put color in the background fast. You’ll first have to trace around the subject; the color will be a smooth unbroken surface, without the modulation of the painted backgrounds. I much prefer the latter, but when in a hurry, the flat color would also serve to show off the animals.

Found in Mom’s garage as a kitten, mini-panther Little Buddy has radial hypoplasia, so his forelegs have an unusual formation. He is 18 and a half years old. His story is in my book:  http://catwoodsporchparty.wordpress.com/2012/10/17/announcing-my-cat-book-meowyall-a-feline-centric-memoir/

I’ll write an article about feline radial hypoplasia in the future.

To complete this next photo, we added other techniques.

Little Buddy with a rainbow in his black fur. He's a found kitty with unusual forelegs.

Little Buddy with a rainbow in his black fur. He’s a found kitty with unusual forelegs.

This image of Little Buddy is a composite of two photos, one of the sleeping kitty and the other of refracted sunlight. It includes both some “painted” areas, and some changes to the subject. I shot both photographs, and decided exactly how I wanted one lined up over the other. My husband put them together in the photo enhancing program. This picture illustrates a point in my black cat essay cited above, and I might also place it into that text.

Slowly, I hope to improve in all these techniques, and use them now and then.

 

 

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Tornado, Upcoming 3rd Anniversary

April 27, 2011

Aeolus on a Tear

My husband took this photo about two weeks after. We no longer know the exact location.

Tornado damage from April 27, 2011

Tornado damage from April 27, 2011

The whole town still talks about it at gatherings, and in store checkout lines. Sometimes I can’t quite  believe it really happened, I mean, I know it did, but there’s that feel of unreality about it, like the mind has trouble acknowledging an event that is both not everyday, and extreme.

Here in the forest where we live, the lights didn’t actually go out until 5:13 pm, the instant the tornado hit in town. If we’d been home at that time, we would have learned the storm was serious, and headed this general way, right before the power, and all information, was gone. Instead, we were at my Mom’s house in town. My husband, my Mom, and I were in the actual freakin’ F4 tornado. I wrote up the experience, and the aftermath, here:

http://catwoodsporchparty.wordpress.com/2012/04/14/tornado-on-the-ground-tuscaloosa-april-27-2011-3/

It’s lengthy, but about five pages gets us through the storm and back out at home. After leaving Mom’s neighborhood the tornado tracked through other communities, but not our home. None of them are very far away, and all are intertwined. Everyone knows people who were in the tornado, or close.

This time of year, we’re uneasy, partly from memories stirred, and partly because it’s a new severe weather season. Spring here comes with contrasts of intensities. This can happen:

Glorious Wisteria

Glorious Wisteria

But so can this:

More  tornado damage April 27, 2011

More tornado damage April 27, 2011

Long range forecasts indicate possible severe weather on April 26 and 27. It’s far too early to say exactly when and what.

There were after-effects on the psyche. Many still have them. I’m easygoing, but I was far more on edge, hot-tempered and bold for awhile. I was encountering disparaging remarks saying that “rednecks”, or some other designation indicating rural dwellers,  always say the tornado sounds like a freight train, ha ha ha. Despite my resolve to let all things go when online, that made me actually speak out on occasion. I can do that now, I can “pull rank”, I’ve been there. I did stop short of writing an entire snarky essay, “Wind Storm Survivors Guide to Metaphor”, but the fact is, a train is a large, traveling mass of loud energy and the storm roar as I heard it was a match. Trains aren’t exclusively rural. I first heard and saw one in a suburban neighborhood; trains also run through cities. Train sounds, images, and associations are widely used in comparisons of many sorts, because they’re an experience common to so many localities. Another noise cited often by tornado survivors is jet engine roar, also a mass of moving loud energy. Now, if we stop and really listen to an oncoming train, we both get nervous.

Whenever I go through something that alarms me, I tell myself I got through the tornado, I’ll get through this . . .

We’re still fixing the house and it’s become wearing, but overall I’m glad we chose not to tear the structure down. It now has a reinforced safe room, and it’s pet friendly housing. When my husband began work right outside the bathroom where we survived the storm, he found 33 indentations in the walls from wind-driven debris.

Time helps, but we are not over it, there are too many shadows to outpace. I now understand PTSD in a way I couldn’t before. If you’ve lived here a long time, you see the difference in the trees. You always know, you’ve just entered the tornado zone. It sinks my spirits every time. It won’t matter how much fixing up everyone does, it will be a long, long time, before foliage shoots up and out, trunks thicken, and the canopy evens up again. Those empty spaces were overgrown for awhile, and had an awful lonely feel:

Pokeweed Prarie up close

Pokeweed Prairie up close

 

Lonely Pokeweed Prairie

Lonely Prairie

We are still looking for the cat we lost that day, Tiger.

Tiger, taken before the tornado

Tiger, taken before the tornado

I look back with gratitude for three years of life and experiences we almost didn’t have. We’re fortunate to have survived, and I’m grateful, but there are interior changes that just don’t fade. So much will never be the same. In the distant past I liked thunderstorms, I liked wind – Shelley’s “Ode to the West Wind” was among my favorite poems – but now wind only brings deep fear, and unrest. I tend to personify impersonal forces of nature, similar to what you see in so much poetry and legend. If there was a way, I’d want to hunt down and destroy tornadic storms.

Like Captain Ahab and the whale, there’s no letting go.

 

Everyone please keep up with your local weather conditions, and review current advice for survival during severe weather.

The next post will be more upbeat, and colorful . . .

 

 

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Meow Writing Fest Becomes Book; Cats Respond With Purrs and Trills

Budster Tries Out Some Glam

Budster Tries Out Some Glam

This purring guy is Bud, a presence in the book. Lanky, cranky, and imposing, Bud’s taken over as feline editor and he’s had a heavy paw in the writing. Mostly, he wants readers to know he’s a big fella, in fine fettle, near bobcat size, and mighty handsome.

My husband photoshopped the background. As a computer latecomer, I am just now venturing into photoshop – see next picture!

This confetti shake of a story has drifted together, becoming a memoir of our life with cats over forty years, surprising me. I can only hope the particles landed with symmetry. It was sort of like building a quilt, or a collage. I wrote from the ‘inside-out’, tinkering details into the interior. The work flow was nonlinear; the time sequencing, dicey. I slapped out a ‘big picture’ framework first. The components surfaced any time but especially mornings: ideas, memories; when humor bobbed up, I might wake up laughing. Not that I didn’t have to just sit down and do, and work really hard. That’s always part of any writing process.

For awhile I didn’t think I could write a book, because of a twenty plus year chronic illness that messes with concentration and causes fatigue, among other neural mishaps. I just decided to jump in and be stubborn about it.

The tentative title is, Meow, Y’all! Our Home in the Forest with Chattering Cats and Clamoring Critters. The book is part story and part study.

Along with Bud, our other recent kitties:

Little Buddy, Bright-Eyed Boy

Little Buddy, Bright-Eyed Boy

Little Buddy, a trilling virtuoso, is now 18 and a half. His eyes gleam! He enjoys sleeping and chowing down big time, and moves at astonishing speed – especially in the direction of another cat’s food dish. He’s featured in this post about black cats, a condensed section of the book:   http://catwoodsporchparty.wordpress.com/2013/06/12/black-cats-in-sun-and-shade-a-painters-eye-view/

I did the green around Little Buddy myself. Lots of work and I’m far from having mastered the technique; precision work is difficult with impaired fine finger coordination. But it was fun to feel like I was almost painting again! In fact, I went back in and redid the cat photo at the end of this post:   http://catwoodsporchparty.wordpress.com/2013/09/23/cat-inspected-art/

Our Sweetie, Anna

Our Sweetie, Anna

Sweet little former feral, Anna, who snoozes across the header of this blog, has recently gone to the Rainbow Bridge. When we met she was all like ” don’t y’all come near me” but later became all “don’t you dare move, I’m settled here for a spell with you, length to be determined by myself”. To her, every evening meant snuggle time. She had the same pale green eye color as her kitten, Bud.

Anna's Iridescence January 27th, 2014, Alabama

Anna’s Iridescence January 27th, 2014, Alabama

A few weeks after we lost her, I took this picture of ‘cloud iridescence’ on January 27th, the night before the snow/ice storm here. It’s a natural, but infrequent, phenomenon. Refraction of sunlight by water droplets or ice crystals in the upper atmosphere causes the effect. Sometimes I think the sky performs in honor of the transitions of our beloved ones. So I’m naming this sky event, Anna’s Iridescence.

Madame Curious, Feral Classic Tabby with Reddish Markings

Madame Curious, Feral Classic Tabby with Reddish Markings

Madame Curious, talkative feral about town. We’re keeping her fed, and we made her a cold weather shelter. We’ve tried to coax her into the house but she’s having none of that! We hope we can bring her inside one day. She was TNRed and ear-tipped by former residents of my late Mom’s neighborhood, a few years back.

I can promise a deeply skewed, some might say flawed, work, in perhaps unexpected ways, LOL. I like to break the rules and have fun with language, otherwise, why bother? I kept the outmoded lavish writing quirks of some earlier decades when writing about those years. For more recent times, I employed the sparser style of today. I evolved to include more of the cadence, structure, and expressions of humans actually talking, not just in dialogue, but as the narrator. The book’s mood ranges from light and conversational to completely goofy to seriously scholarly, to feeling sad about history, and life events. Cats, too, have their own ways of being lighthearted, or studious, or gloomy. There are blissful, giddy moments, and somber moments as we look back. This is the way real life is – humans, and animals, having moods and phases.

Along with the cats I observe the wildlife we’ve seen since first moving to the forest; I track the changes in area fauna to the present, the declines and imbalances. There’s a more elaborate description of the book at this link:     http://catwoodsporchparty.wordpress.com/2012/10/17/announcing-my-cat-book-meowyall-a-feline-centric-memoir/

This has been a long time project, partly because I’ve learned, from the cats, to scan things carefully. Tons of careful research went into this book. When on my own book turf, I’m being more forthright about my opinions than I usually am online. I’m hoping everyone will be cool with that.

I mean to get the book out and available this year, one way or another. I do still have to complete footnotes and photos. Likely it will be formally copyrighted before I post this.

I’m still waking up every morning with a few items to slip in, leftovers from the busy night brain. But I call myself, done with the book. Really. (LOL)

I want to take a moment to wholeheartedly thank all those who have viewed, followed, liked and/or commented on this blog. I really appreciate your support, and I am so sorry I have not been able to come to all of your blogs to say thanks and make comments in return. That’s been entirely due to my health, which hasn’t exactly been going gangbusters for the last few months. I will try to do better in the future, and will slowly try to get around and do some commenting. I get very little active time a day now. Clicking ‘like’ is something I can usually do, but composing comments and posts often demands more mental energy than I have these days. However, I hope to do more of all these things this year. I greatly appreciate comments, although for awhile I may be slow to post and reply to them.

Note: Ads are sometimes placed on this blog by WordPress to recoup their costs in providing me with a free blog, which certainly seems fair to me. I don’t make any income from these. I’ve seen some misunderstanding around the web about blog ads and income and am only stating this for clarification.

Though it’s unlikely there will ever be profits from my book, I can promise that in case of profits, a portion will go toward the well-being of my own cats, as well as towards causes beneficial to animals.

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Autumn, Creekside

Festive reflecting creek

Festive reflecting creek

Another few steps, another moment

Another few steps, another moment

The creek stages a gala, magical event, come autumn. It’s all done with light and water. Unlike illusionists using ‘smoke and mirrors’, the creek works with only natural props, and at “Presto!” reveals only vistas of solidly real beauty. Creek patter and flowing movements are not misdirection; they attract our attention at its keenest. It’s scheduled from whenever the leaves really start to turn, until . . .

I'm partial to intensely bright colors

I’m partial to intensely bright colors

I’m out in the woods using a camera to try to catch the creek at some of its ‘tricks’. I’m not a photographer, though, I’m a frustrated painter. I was always trying to play catch-up with nature, but nature was always light years ahead of me; well, duh.

The water grabs the light and bounces hues around, reflecting and cross-reflecting.

That large leaf is from a Broad Leaf Magnolia

That large leaf is from a Broad Leaf Magnolia

Presenting mixed media collages of light, ripples, leaves attached and detached, water, sky, trees, swirls, waves, eddies, reflections, with a heavy reference to traditional landscape. The light changes moment by moment, creating new sights. I have to go snap snap snap with the camera to keep up. Getting this close, I like to fell in the creek last year!

Floating mat of leaves - it looks still, but will slowly wash on

Floating mat of leaves – it looks still, but will slowly wash on

The camera and the creek are doing this. I’ll only take credit for composing the shots and choosing the scenes. I don’t use photoshop to enhance hues, but the camera may have brightened or subdued some colors compared to what the human eye would see.

The following are from a later time of day with twilight coming on. Slanting rays and darker tones but still, the color blends appeal to me.

Well lit, but dusk is on the way

Well lit, but dusk is on the way

The light changes every few seconds

The light changes every few seconds

Slight adjustment in the light, night edging towards us

Slight adjustment in the light, night edging towards us

Busy currents

Busy currents

I absolutely love this creek, and I’m far from alone. Chances are most everyone knows, remembers, and treasures a natural waterway. All are worth saving. We humans depend on water! Please support your local environmental groups any way you can. Here’s my essay, “Tributary” telling more about this creek, and all creeks, rivers, oceans. http://catwoodsporchparty.wordpress.com/2013/04/08/tributary-becoming-green-warriors-of-the-red-earth-country/

Leaves making ready to participate in the fall festival.

The forest

The forest

The forest floor

Leaves and pine straw

Leaves and pine straw

Green is leaving very slowly this year!

Green is leaving very slowly this year!

The Beauty Berries partied like rocks stars too, but they’re about to rest up for the winter.

American Beauty Berries

American Beauty Berries

A link to summer’s prelude to fall:  http://catwoodsporchparty.wordpress.com/2013/08/12/wild-summer-creeks-and-creatures/

Here’s a link to last year’s fall photos with a different camera: http://catwoodsporchparty.wordpress.com/2012/11/18/autumn-at-the-creek-within-the-forest-4/

After being outside, it’s a pleasure to walk into the house, because we have kitties. Here’s a link to the post detailing the book I’m writing about our cats: http://catwoodsporchparty.wordpress.com/2012/10/17/announcing-my-cat-book-meowyall-a-feline-centric-memoir/ As soon as I can, I’m going to get back to posting about the kitties! Bud, pictured below, is waiting.

Bud the kitty

Bud the kitty

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