Thursday, October 29, 2009

≈ Celebrating Bodhi ≈

Bodhi, little happiness bringer, thank you for your joyful, confident light!

Bodhi came into this world one year ago today (29th of October, 2008). We met the next day.

For the first eight months of Bodhi's life, I posted photos often to flickr and created a Bodhi Set. Then...

On June 21st, 2009, in New Mexico, while Yuki, Jesse, Bodhi, and I were camping, Bodhi disappeared. He got spooked by the rumbling sound of a diesel engine in the campground. Although Bodhi was wearing a harness which was attached to a leash, tied with five knots to the picnic table, and in my arms at the time, he wriggled out -- to be free and safe from the scary sound. That was the last time we saw him. I had been feeding all of them a special treat of sardines at the time, hand-feeding little Bodhi, in my arms. I spent 2 weeks looking for Bodhi, staying at the campground and in the area, but he did not reappear.

I feel that Bodhi is still alive. I feel this everyday very strongly. We have talked. I also feel that Bodhi is happy and healthy, very playful and confident, just as he was when we were together physically.

At first, when he burst out of his harness like a bucking bronco, I was stunned. My arms were also scratched up and bleeding (but it didn't hurt). It all happened so quickly that I did not see which way he went or where he went. It's as if he exploded or burst into the sky and vanished.

When I did my daily searches for him -- walking and hiking in the area, talking to people, calling to him, registering at the local animal shelter, putting sardines into the have-a-heart-trap I borrowed, putting up posters, driving the nearby highway, etc. -- I sometimes thought I saw him. Is that Bodhi? A certain playful curl of a flattened rope or rag on the road made me stop to take a closer look; a black dumbbell on a bench seen from the window of a friend's camper looked like Bodhi in loaf position playfully waiting for me to see him.


I am not sad anymore. My heart expands with joy and gratitude whenever I imagine Bodhi. I feel Bodhi's utter confidence and lightness of being, and his playfulness and joy as my own joy... his best qualities seem to have strengthened those same attributes in my being and personality. Maybe I have become a great tree-climber, too! I have yet to test that one out... :)

Bodhi enjoyed a wonderful life with us, first in our home in Tucson, then across the country on our drive to Virginia and to Maggie's, and then again, across the country on our drive to New Mexico with Yuki and Jesse. During our 3-1/2 month stay in Virginia, Bodhi was best buds with Jasper, Maggie's 16-year old black cat. Jasper and Bodhi played together everyday. Bodhi enjoyed Maggie's kind care and loving attention, too. In particular, he liked that Maggie allowed him to curl up inside her large clay bowls (see below photo).

Bodhi nursed with Moxie, his tortoise shell mother, for a full 8 weeks, longer than any of his siblings. All the kittens lived, cuddled, and played together in Tucson at Moxie's house (just a hop and a skip from my house) with my neighbors Therese and José Luís.

Bodhi distinguished himself as an excellent climber early on, so much, that Therese and José Luís gave him the nickname of "Spider." I knew Bodhi was Bodhi from the first time I saw him, an awake one (from the Sanskrit root word, Bodh, meaning 'awake'). Bodhi's full name is Bodhi Seed "Spider" Stern.

I don't actually know if Bodhi is alive or dead. I feel he is alive and that he has good cat survival skills to enable him to live well in the mountains of Northern New Mexico. He was unusually smart and quick, a great climber, very curious and playful, and a happy, happy kitten with sharp claws with which to climb and hunt. Coyotes and foxes live in the area where we were camped. However, I believe that Bodhi's sharp claws and excellent tree-climbing ability have served him well. There are plenty of little animals (i.e., rodents) that Bodhi could hunt and also some houses in the area where he might have been taken in and/or where he could find food and shelter if he wants it. I see Bodhi enjoying his free life; I see him as happy.

The morning that Bodhi broke out of his harness, he was kissing and licking my face as we lay inside the tent, kissing me as he always did in the mornings. I kissed his soft furry chest and actually took some pictures of us and him, plus Yuki and Jesse. A little while later he was gone.

Maybe he missed us at first, like I missed him at first... But he is a cat and his survival skills are strong.

Maybe he will reappear. Maybe not. The shelter has a file on him and knows how to contact me if he is found. It could happen. And, when I talk to him, I tell him to let himself be found and brought to the shelter so we can come and bring him home.

Anyway, I am celebrating Bodhi today. I am so grateful we had 8 beautiful months together.

Happy Continuation Day, Happiness Bringer. Thank You

We love you, little Bodhi-chan.


Bodhi exploring after the rain ~ 3

Bodhi watches his big sister

Bodhi & Jesse napping


Bodhi in the grass

Bodhi Bowl, II

 Yuki & Bodhi in Santa Fe


Anita Thomhave Simonsen said...

Hi Nicole !

Thanks for your comment on my danish/small partly english blog.....and I was a bit overwhelmed by reading about Bodhi having disappeared this summer....I did cry some while ir reminded me of my own cat " Celia" that didn´t come home years ago and your text reminded me of the terrible feelings I had When searching and looking for her...and I can imagine that it was terrible for you too when Bodhi ran away....I appreciate this post where you put your wonderful pictures of Bodhi from your life together....and I did follow your flickr much when you decides to have Bodhi and enjoyed it......I hope he has a good life too and could easily imagine that someone took him inside, not knowing about his former life and just live happily together....
just sending your some love...

Nicole Raisin Stern said...

Thank you, Anita, for your comment.
I remember that you wrote something of Celia on a photo of Bodhi when he was just a wee kitten. Celia and Bodhi must have been found and are being loved by their new humans. In any case, we love them always. Warm hugs, from us ~ Yuki, Jesse, me, and from Bodhi in New Mexico.