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Tracie Skarbo was motivated to write by her father, who was her biggest supporter. “He was always behind me, rallying me on with my writing. I would always see him with a book in hand. He gave me a great appreciation for the written word, and the power and responsibility that writers have to shape those who read their words. He also taught me to respect nature and to value the beauty within it; my reflections on my environment are just an extension of this.” Skarbo was raised on Vancouver Island and is working on her next two books.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Meditations with Tom Thumbs

For those of you who are not privy to who Tom Thumbs is, let me explain.  Tom is a caramel colored tabby who came into my life last winter as a stray.  Tom is the larger of the two cats who have decided, through the gentle coaxing with cat food no doubt, that life on the “streets” is harder than life within the compounds of our residence. 

Shy Tale, the small, dainty, grey tabby prefers the comforts of the insides of our dwelling while Tom is the defiant patio rebel.  Taking it upon himself to guard the flowerbeds and gardens from scaly and whiskered foe that dare to show themselves.  He lies out lion like, rolled over onto one shoulder and hip while surveying his domain, basking in the afternoon sun or in lazy crawling shadows of weeds that insist on emerging between the cobble stones. 

I look deep within his eyes which are flecked with a brilliant lime green and I wonder if he is somehow sending me Morse code messages through his slow winks and almost imperceptible nose twitches.  Perhaps this is some kind of feline alphabet that he shares with me through a silent knowing?  For it seems that through his lazy gaze he is also intent and focused on the slightest change I make with my own face turned upon him. I take it upon myself to try out this hypothesis on our seeming mediation and wait until I have his full attention.  When I do close one eye a little more than the other and then slowly and deliberately close both of them together, and repeat this again when I see that he is raptly focused upon my face and particularly my eyes.  I hope that if I am saying anything to him at all that it was not aggressive, the last thing I wanted was Tom’s claws in my calves.

I was somewhat surprised when Tom rose and came over to where I sat, he mewed once—almost as though he was letting me know he understood, but understood what if anything was yet to be determined—then he lay down over my feet and began a loud rumbling purr. 

I smiled to myself wondering what exactly I had said.  Did I give the signal that my toes were in need of toasting?  Or that I was feeling sleepy and wanted to cuddle?  Or was Tom secretly chuckling to himself at my frail attempt to bridge the language barrier?  Either way I enjoy my meditation time with Tom Thumbs and I am grateful for such a brave backyard warrior.


  1. this was a very sweet story. Cats are masters in mind reading. BTW, I had this very lovable Russian Blue named Tom who was one of the sweetest cats in the world. He jumped in the laps of perfect strangers and made himself at home. We often had "conversations" and after a stressful day, he was the best thing to come home to. He was also very bright, he figured out how to open the European doors (they had latches instead of round knobs). As a result, we had to lock the door to keep him from escaping the apartment, and he was quite the escape artist. Thanks so much for sharing this :)

  2. What a smart cat! :) Sounds like he was quite the character!