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August 12, 2004
My strategy is to plant the new lemon catmint in the back garden, so if the cats really do like it, they won't be tempted to journey out front near the road in search of it. The cat in the picture on the seed packet seems to like it well enough, but he is an English cat. It remains to be seen whether or not his colonial counterparts share his taste in herbs.

They should stay in back. The back garden is a cat's paradise. Shiny dark Vinca surrounds the dogwood tree, where Noodle of the Jungle practices her stalking: the leaves rustle as she creeps stealthily long beneath them, and once in a while her little head appears briefly above them, a periscope. Sometimes she runs straight up the trunk of the dogwood to its highest branches, and birds come and scold her, taunting her from branches just beyond her reach. It is almost more excitement than she can bear.

It is to the credit of the older cats that they have taken the trouble to coach Noodle about how to behave in the yard, because they all dislike her: she is forever pouncing on them -- more practice -- and they hate it. Still, they seem to have told her: Don't go anywhere near where the big loud fast things go by. Don't even go near. Stay within the hedges. You can go in the bamboo if you want to, it's up to you. Watch out for Banana next door: he's big, and he can be testy, and he comes over here sometimes. Whatever you do, don't pounce on him unless you want to get yourself killed. The big yellow guy from beyond the garden in back won't hurt you -- he just wants to fight Banana. If you smell a possum in the shed, don't worry -- he's been gone for a couple of years. They've just never cleaned up after him. And if you see a big black cat with a white stripe down his back, for heaven's sake don't pounce on him, either. That's not a cat.

How they tell each other things, I don't know. The oral communication we favor is not the only show in town, I know that much: the conjoined twins recently separated in New York City shared a portion of their brain, and the doctors think they communicated telepathically. And communication goes on between cells, between molecules, between atoms. Everything is talking to everything else, all the time.

And, under all the chatter, the still, bottomless being of God. Silent beyond silence, but birthing music and words. Completely empty, but containing all existence and full with it. Still, but authoring all motion.
In prayer, sometimes, you go there for a moment. Find that still music, that full emptiness, gaze upon its mystery and do not even try to understand.

The garden is all new to little Noodle, full of fresh mystery at every turn, things never before seen and not understood. She creeps along under the Vinca and peers out occasionally, looking for something.
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