October 1, 2022

October 1, 2022

I’m visiting Tomales Bay State Park this weekend.  I took a blessed kayak excursion from Heart’s Desire Beach to Indian Beach where there stands two Miwok kotchas (houses).  The rock formations along the kayaking route were phenomenal. 

Heart’s Desire Beach

One usually has to drive hours out of the Bay Area to get what Tomales Bay State provides.  That is: swimming in clean water; a beach, that at least on a weekday, is relatively empty; a kayak launch that’s next to parking; an interesting shoreline, and some beautiful hiking trails.

I look longingly at the hiking trails since my knee injury.  I haven’t spoken of the knee in some time, but suffice to say, the disabling pain is still there.  It is much better since a shot of cortisone last month, but the cortisone is wearing off.  It’s taken me this trip to realize that my ability to walk any distance is greatly diminished. 

One trail that was especially tantalizing was the Johnstone Trail which hugs the coast between Heart’s Desire Beach and Shell Beach.  The trail was shady and relatively level.  It would have been an awesome place to take a mountain bike, but alas, none were allowed.

Johnstone Trail

I can’t help but think about Peanut the cat.  About how she is no longer a part of my life.  Her absence certainly leaves a hole in my home.  “My heart hurts from this loss,” I told a friend.

She told me that she has learned to be grateful for the hurt that comes from loss.  “Because it means we have loved,” she said.  “Love always comes with loss.  The alternative would be life without love.” Maybe I did love the cat and Maybe she did love me. Or perhaps she just learned the ways of survival: be adorable and affectionate and they will feed you.

I think of all this after recently watching Island of the Sea Wolves, a beautiful Netflix documentary on Vancouver Island. In watching such a film you realize that this is the world of animals, and perhaps of even us (who are also animals). The birds, fish and mammals of Vancouver Island survive by devouring each other. I’m beginning to wonder if humans aren’t the same.

Anyway, it’s a fascinating and phenomenally photographed film. I am certainly paying more attention to animals these days. I find myself more aware of them – even the squirrels. I guess that was one thing Peanut brought me.

But why does one love a cat?  Because they seem to love us, I suppose.  (Although one wonders whether their signs of affection are just ploys to get some food).  Do we sense their vulnerability and want to protect them?  Is that love?

Or maybe they teach us about our own vulnerability.  Cats are tiny creatures in a world of giants.  We see the pains cats take to navigate that world.  I too have come to think about my own tiny-ness.  I do feel tiny against so many mounting onslaughts and various kinds of giants.  The giants of corrupt politicians and their lies, the giants of the defense industry and the proliferation of guns and wars, the giants of corporate pollution and a planet that is choking on greenhouse gas…. I could go on.

Published by susancasslangmailcom

Susan Casslan is a writer and a nurse. Her writing touches on spirituality and issues pertaining to social justice. Casslan lived for a decade in the San Francisco Inner Mission District, and she was greatly inspired by the Latinx culture of that neighborhood. The Inner Mission emerges in her books Conversations with Richard Purcell: The Adventures and Reflections of a Renegade San Francisco Priest and That Which Wavers with the Night, as well as in her chapbook 24th Street and Other Poems. Additionally, Casslan’s nonfiction articles have appeared in El Tecolote, an Inner Mission newspaper.

%d bloggers like this: