Or… “Animal Tails”…?

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Here’s the start of my other option… how does this compare to “Dream”?

The Beginning…

Why is it that the colour palette of childhood memories remains so vivid in your mind’s eye, so poignant, so carefully delineated…my very first memory involves a cat, and from that day to the present I have usually been accompanied by a cat or two. Or three. Currently four…

My very first cat, my very first friend was Snoopy, a large black cat, who was originally a gift from my father to my mother. She however, has resolutely remained a “dog” person so Snoopy, by default, became my particular friend and comfort.

I was born in the seventies, not so far removed from the Golden Age of Hippydom, the Summer of Love and Psychedelia, but very different in terms of attitudes as strikes, unrest and power cuts made the news. For me though, it was a time of learning and sharing, an establishing of my own little foothold in the world around me.

My first memory then, my waking into being if you will, involves the sort of day we all remember from being a child: golden, dusted with magic and sunshine. On this day, I remember very clearly, bunching my fists in my cat’s furry armpits and hauling him upright to walk with me.

I remember so very clearly – I was maybe about two or three – the thick plushness of Snoopy’s fur, soft as love, the smooth cotton of my dress – blue with white flowers – and the springy dry feel of grass under my bare feet. The colours were bright and crisp, so bright you could taste them and smells – I wish I could bottle the scents of childhood, the golden days of summer when the sun shone, the sky was blue and the Earth gently baked.

Snoopy walked tippytoes with me, good naturedly and patiently. He was the first in my long and usually rewarding association with animals, my first introduction to the value of their friendship and love. He went on to be my best friend, dressed uncomplainingly in dolls clothes and a major player in my childhood adventures in the theatre of my imagination.

The sun was high overhead and the clouds were white and puffy, like cotton wool or cold candy floss that you could reach up and pull down by the handful to eat. At that age, every day is an eternity, a page waiting to be filled, a story just beginning…

Tiger Iron and Tails

Tails 7.jpg

Every living creature at some point in its evolution had a tail, and although humans have since disposed of theirs in the Darwin dustbin of “no longer needed”, when it comes to the Animal Kingdom, tails remain a useful indicator of how an animal is feeling and a barometer of its moods. My mother’s dog, Erin, has a splendid furred tail, and she has the endearing habit of wagging it if you wave at her. She obviously feels sorry for us lacking this handy appendage, but humours us by “waving” back.

Tails 3.jpgErin’s splendid furry tail

I have four cats and it is a constant source of amusement to watch how they use their tails. All my girls raise their tails in greeting to me:

Hi, where have you been? Where’s the food?”

and although Ting has the classic Siamese kink in her tail, the message is the same.

Tails 2.jpgSiamese kinky tail

Tooty is funny to watch as she hunts flies on the lawn, crouched parallel to the floor, tail straight out behind her, level with the line of her back as she does the sideways shimmy in preparation for a pounce.

tails-4Little short stumpy Tooty tail

Lily has the longest tail at 11 ½ inches, and as a small cat, she always has to carry it slightly raised to avoid tripping on it, a little like a clumsy Victorian lady neglecting to hold her skirts securely. At rest, she curls it right around her and buries her face in it, and whilst sitting upright, it is elegantly coiled around her feet, as she poses Egyptian queen-style.

Tails 1.jpg

Egyptian Queen

Charlie has possibly the most expressive tail of any cat I’ve owned. For all her grace and ladylike qualities, it is a little short…although I would never dare tell her so! However, it may be small, but it is perfectly formed, as befits a feline princess. A rich chocolate brown with shades of chestnut, at regular intervals there are striking bands of delicate mouse grey, broader on the outside but tapering underneath, so the whole effect is of a series of crescent moons running along its length, all finished off with a perfect twist of fur.

Tails 5.jpgTabby tiger tail

When Charlie is grooming, I sometimes like to think I’m helping her by holding the last couple of inches of her tail and offering it to her for cleaning. She licks it angrily, sometimes putting a paw on my hand for emphasis:

Wretched thing! It’ll never stay STILL long enough!”

It will wave gently, as she purrs herself to sleep, or thrash in annoyance as she chitters in frustration at rude sparrows. Or, most alarming, it can be fluffed out to what seems at least four times its size and used to terrify…

I was returning from the shops one day, when a little dog fell in behind me. It seemed cheerful and pleasant enough, but apart from a check to make sure it wasn’t going to leap at my throat and bite me, I largely ignored it and carried on home. As I approached our gate, Charlie came out to meet me, but upon seeing this little dog, the most extraordinary transformation took place…A low, vibrating growl emanated from her. The little dog stopped, its head on one side. She raised herself as tall as she could and fluffed out her fur. The little dog wagged its tail doubtfully, and took a step backwards. Charlie’s tail assumed monstrous bottle brush proportions and she charged at the little dog, whose nerve, completely broken, turned tail and ran away, yelping in fear as my little cat shot after it.

Having seen it off, she came sauntering back to me with an air of “Well, if you will bring these strange things back…” as her fur slowly deflated. I did, later, find out that the little dog belonged to someone up the road who had temporarily taken their eye off him:

Oooh, ‘e were only gone for a minute, came back in ever such a state ‘e did, won’t go out in the garden now to do ‘is business unless I’m wiv ‘im and you oughter see ‘im run when ‘e sees a cat..”

So then. A positive lesson learned as a result of direct action, rather like the metaphysical abilities of Tiger Iron. This is a lovely, positive combination stone of Jasper, Hematite and Tiger’s Eye. I have one particular piece that matches Charlie’s colouring perfectly, a blend of gold, chocolate and silver.

Tails 6.jpgGolden Tiger Iron

My initial piece, courtesy of my son and his crystal lady, Lizian, has more red Jasper in it, and I only discovered how helpful it can be by accident. In a rush, one morning, my hand hovered above my crystal shelf, and without properly looking, I seized Tiger Iron and Pyrite and stuffed them into my pocket. Off I went, and not a twinge from my hip all day. It was only later I discovered my mistake and my Tiger Iron practically purred with satisfaction as it demonstrated its worth.

Tails 9.jpgThese stones are redder because of more Red Jasper inclusions…

A typical interpretation of this stone is that it stimulates impulses and banishes stagnation, lending emotional endurance to any endeavour. Tiger Iron clarifies thought to encourage quick and determined action, heightening vitality and helping with tiredness. As a combination stone of Jasper, Hematite and Tiger’s Eye, it combines all of their useful qualities into one positive stone to promote change and supply energy. It gives the wearer space to think and then it will supply the simplest solution. An artistic stone, it will bring out hidden talents and can also be helpful in healing the hips and lower limbs. If possible, wear it so it touches your skin at all times.

Tails 8.jpgDo you see the shadow paw print?

I rattle with stones in my pockets and around my neck, but what I wear and carry is a useful indication of my mood, since I no longer have a tail… 

All photos were taken by my son!