Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Gimme the Song - White Kitty Blues

Here I sit in Portland, Oregon, still working on acquiring a visa to return to Skye. Anyone who loves this place knows what I am going through...but I am still on Skye, and my friends are around me, I am looking forward to attending the Skye Book Festival in a couple of weeks and I shall enjoy myself with treats and laughter and if it rains, "Yay! "and if the sun visits, "Hello Sun!" and all is right with my world. Call me stardust til I am materialized in flesh on the Isle of my heart's desire. Til then, I share my past with you.
Excerpted from "Gimme the Song O' the Pipes! 
Crazy American Lady Tours Historical Scotland"
MaxCat Recirculated?
8 October: Our host is gone, and Fooh is as nosy as I am so we feel free to explore the closed-off room upstairs. It is full of sheets and cleaning supplies. I grab a rag, some cleanser and Kleenex, and also sniff the sheets—they too, like mine, are a bit smelly. I think the cleaning-person leaves them in the washer too long...or maybe its the pervading Skye damp.
   I’ve been putting off the drive to Elgol, having heard it was just a long drive through nothing, that leads to a cove. But wanting to leave no road undriven, we head west from Broadford and are soon on the one-track road of fifteen miles. Instead of nothing, we pass the proverbial refurbished white croft houses, sheep and cattle in the fields and along the road, a beautiful marsh area with grasses and a view to the Cuillin hill, Bla Beinn (Blaven). 
Two miles in, there is a walk (which you can also take from Broadford, from a gate and path next to the river) that heads to An Sithean, the Fairy Knoll. We trek around, looking for the mound, and find a gentleman crofter who used to be the vet on Harris. He quickly points to the hilltop, saying, 'There's a "feddy" now - see her?' We follow his finger and exclaim, 'Oh, yes, yes, there she is! Let's go try and catch her.' We plow up the hill of grass clumps but she flickers away and disappears. We do find an imposing chambered cairn, with burial remains of the earliest farmers in the area. 
   Glen Suardal is where the old church of Christ in Kilchrist (Cill Chriosd) sits with its graveyard. To visit the old marble quarry, there is a path on the rail bed across from the church. The diverse rock formations here attract geologists and walkers alike. Marble deposits have been quarried for many years and currently are still actively mined in Torrin, up the road. In contrast, the Cuillin range is magnificent with its black, volcanic rock—not to mention the magnetic properties that suck visitors in, who never know what hit them til they’re in love with Skye.
  There are many B & Bs in the area, along with self-catering cottages. Loch Slapin seems a sort of non-descript area, but the mist and light turn it to magic, with the fishing vessels sitting prettily upon its waters. As I ascend the road on the other side of Loch Slapin, there is a track to walk to Camasunary (3 miles round trip), for what some people say is the best viewpoint in Scotland.
  At Kilmarie, we go up the pretty driveway of the old Strathaird Steading mansion, to Duncan House keep. I am not so interested in the Celtic jewelry and knives advertised, as to see the keep. Fooh waits in his tray, while I walk through the break in the old wall and there, next to the house, I spy a white Persian cat. He immediately jumps down from his perch and walks around an aged stone circular structure, which functions as a fountain. He walks right up to me and as soon as I start petting his pretty white head, I say, ‘I’m going to miss you so much.’ It just comes out. I can’t stop petting him and tell him I can’t leave him. This attraction must have something to do with my MaxCat Black Persian, who was the light of my life.
  The cat walks with me to the gallery. I go in and after a minute, I look out and he’s staring at the door. A few minutes in the posh gallery tells me this Garth Duncan is a gifted artist. There is an impressive array of ancient Celtic knotwork, some combined with gorgeous gemstones. Among Pictish designs, impressive buckles and brooches hearty enough for any sturdy apparel, are his traditional Scottish knives (sgian dubh) in intricate designs. It is all beautiful work.
   I sign the guest book, go out and say, ‘Can I have a kiss?’ Kitty stretches his squishy, slant-eyed face to me and I kiss his forehead. This is amazing. There doesn’t appear to be anyone around so I feel free to play out this drama without seeming like a nutcase.
32.  The face that launched a thousand tears.

   He follows me to the car and when I open the door, he jumps in. Fooh almost has a heart attack, but Kitty calmly goes to the back seat and sits on his haunches, facing forward like he’s ready to go. I figure if I take him out, I may accidentally run over him, as he seems to want to be with me. Having ascertained that this is another of the species of cat that is benign, Fooh is now delighted with this fluff of fur.
  As tempted as I am to just drive away with him, I find a teen-aged boy in the workshop who introduces himself, and on the way to the car he says, ‘You could just as well take him, no one would care.’ This is not a good thing to say to me—I have fallen in love already. I say, ‘Oh no, someone must care because he’s so beautifully groomed.’
  My new friend says there is a girl staying here who brushes him. He explains that a Polish girl came to visit, bringing all of her pets; when she left, she deserted the cat. ‘The cat just kept hanging around, so we had to feed it,’ he complains, 'no one can remember the cat’s Polish name, so he is just "Kitty".'
  He spies Kitty still waiting in the car and says, ‘This is weird.’ He lifts the cat out from the back door and the cat jumps right back onto the front seat and digs his claws into it. ‘I hate that about him,’ as he takes Kitty out again, ‘and I hate the fur all over the place.’
  As he and I talk, Kitty keeps sniffing the car then walks away and I sense that he feels secure in my presence to do that. So I feel like a rat when, as he jumps up at a bird on the other side of the fountain, I quickly walk to the car and drive away. I know that is the only way I can go; it is best for him not to prolong it. I have an inexplicable longing for this guy and he seems to know me—perhaps I resemble his Polish mama and he thinks I have come for him. How heartbreaking. I have run away when he wasn’t looking, then he will happily come back to me and I will be gone. I am sick.
  What follows is big melodrama. I sob all the way down the road, to think he is not loved by those people and he knows it and wanted to come with me, who he instinctively knew loved him. Wah is me. I am not loved either. This brings it all back... my beloved Max, so sick and dying around this time years ago and my ex recently abandoned me and I feel lonely, sick and sad—I want that cat. I want to reassure him that he is cherished. Emotions run rampant all the way down the road to the picturesque little cove and ferry.
  I am barely aware of what I am passing and find myself at Elgol and the Cuillin View Coffee Shop, nibbling on a Stilton and walnut scone—scrumptious. The owner says he knows the family and is sure they will treat the cat well, which is why I am able to get a nibble down, in case you were wondering how I could savor this taste with my broken heart.
  Fooh and I walk along the muddy path on the side of the hill overlooking Loch Scavaig. To the west is Canna and Soay and ahead, the Cuillins’ Gars Beinn is closest to us. It is a beautiful sunny day, and trawls, creels and the tour boats are on the water. It looks like the Bella Jane is heading to Loch Coruisk, which is right in the midst of the Cuillin. The hills are amazing from any angle or side, but from Elgol, I can look right into the heart of them. Some day I will walk the Cuillin.

  We have hopped a few small burns, passed several walkers, saying hello every time, and reach a beach, which has some trash scattered about. I decide we have gone far enough, though Fooh wishes to bask in the first real sunshine we have seen this trip. The walks here are wonderful, but usually so muddy, it gets tiring darting about to evade the constant muck.
I head back, stepping in with a couple who enthusiastically join in on my obsessive concern about Kitty; they have five cats and understand, telling a few of their own stories. (To appreciate this, dog owners must imagine this to be a canine tragedy.) We part at my car, they heading off toward Glasnakill, a mile and a half walk to the old crofting settlement, where you can look across to Tarskavaig and the Sleat Peninsula.
  I drive back down the lane, now paying attention to what I had passed with tears in my eyes. We stop at Kilmarie graveyard, which looks out over the Loch. Moss and vines cover gravestones, which look more ancient than they are—sunken, lichen-painted, and black with a hundred years of damp. I take photos with my camera pointed up toward Kitty’s house on the hill then drive up the driveway, stopping at the gate of the mansion. Fooh chastises me and I know he is right: What am I thinking of? If he sees me, he will think I’ve come back and I will break his heart again. This is selfish - oh dear, now I have become a stalker. They will report me and you'll see me on Facebook: "Cat Stalker Shot from Tree"... 

  At the Cottage, since our host is gone, we peer into her windows. Fooh is as curious as I but I 'm certain he would never creep about like this on his own. I am setting a terrible example for this proper English bear. I poke around the yard and decide I feel okay about snagging a few more bits of small wood - now I am teaching him to steal.  Buying that coal was the right thing to do! My eyes are tired from the crying and to nurse myself back from the pain, I eat a half cup of Cornish clotted cream ~