Sunday, September 10, 2006

Zen Cat

We wrestled with it for a bit, but Jaru and I recently started letting our cat, Minou (that's her to the left), go out and meander the neighborhood. We were worried that she'd fight with other cats, run in traffic, smoke weed, and hang out with the wrong crowd.

I was also worried that she's an awfully pretty cat, and that somebody might go in for an impromptu adoption. To reduce the risk of this I made sure that we got Minou a collar with name and phone number etched onto it before we let her out. I figure that most people wouldn't adopt a cat that's clearly got an owner, whereas they might if the cat was pretty enough and the ownership was vague enough.

There's another cat in the neighborhood -- we call him Pinky. He's below. Pinky doesn't wear a collar. Maybe he's a stray, maybe not. Regardless, his owners, if they exist, have little to fear because he's one ugly cat. It's a bit disconcerting since his coloration is so close to Minou's -- but then you see that face (the pink nose is often scratched up from fights) and you just know the cat is safe from cat-nappers.

Chuang Tzu has a story where someone mentions a useless tree who's "trunk is so bent and knotty that nobody can get a good straight plank out of it. The branches are so crooked you can't cut them up in any way that makes sense."

Chuang Tzu points out:

So for your big tree. No use? Then plant it in the wasteland - in emptiness. Walk idly around it and rest under it's shadow. No axe or saw prepares its end. No one will ever cut it down. Useless? You should worry!

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