Thursday, January 11, 2007

On theory and death

It is difficult to consider theory seriously in the light of death.

The feral cat who has lived in my yard for years is dying. I define my
relationship to her in terms of how long I can keep her alive. And in comfort.
She lives inside now. By the radiator, which I leave on.

Outside in the yard, two trees are also dying. They are large
evergreens. Is it possible for evergreens to die? Doesn’t their name
signify forever green. That is to say, immortal, or more—forever fresh, alive.
A third one died in the spring, turned brown. Now, the other two
are slowly turning brown.

The hard drive on my computer is also dying. On Monday I will have it
replaced and all the data transferred over to a new 9-gig drive.

It will take years to replace the evergreens. Are they Monterey pines?
I think so. Or some kind of cypress.
Something that should have lasted centuries.

I can’t replace them with more of the same. I will need to try a
different plant. Perhaps a ceanothus, which will grow taller and
thicker and bluer. Or a manzanita with twisting branches, peeling red bark.

And there is nothing theoretical about the mass in the feral cat’s
body—the mass that is killing her. When she dies—which means
when I decide that she’s begun to suffer too much—I will bury her near her
brother cats—who died just two months ago—

out in the yard, not far from where the first evergreen—was it a
cypress?—died last spring. Which was only six months after my
father died—

just over a year ago.

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