Early, and Late in the Year

cat on afghan

Colorful Nap

Again, remembering my little feral kitty, here is a photo of her from about the age of two, when she’d gotten accustomed to living in the house but was still a little uneasy about appearing out “in public”, generally sleeping under tables and walking behind the furniture to pass from one room to another, occasionally sleeping in the sun on the floor.

A sunbeam, however, managed to draw her out and here I found her in the morning after breakfast, in January as I know by the quince blooming outside the window and my afghan on the back of the couch, warm in the winter sun; it’s a photo I’ve always treasured. It was the very first time I ever saw her in what she’d consider a vulnerable position, out in the open, simply enjoying her space. And because of her difficulties with her hind legs, getting up on the back of the couch was no small feat.

I know she realized I was there, and for a long moment she simply kept enjoying the sun on her fur, her eyes closed, breathing calm and regular. When her eyes opened, even though she actually trusted me and even slept with me, I knew my looking at her was disturbing, so as much as I wanted to enjoy the moment as long as she enjoyed the sunshine, I remember looking down, and backing around the corner. I remember she stayed there for a while, and visited the spot now and then.

photo of cat in sunshine

Late in the Year, black and white photo © B E Kazmarski

And here she is “late in the year”, as the photo is titled, at age 19, in November, and I love this photo just as much.

“Portrait of a senior kitty”…this is a favorite of my black and white photos. Aside from a strict adherence to twice-daily mealtimes, her one and only absolute necessity was a sunbath, preferrably al fresco, every day to help soothe the arthritis that had built in her somewhat hobbled hind legs.

I took this photo during the last warm day in November, just three months before she died. Some viewers have told me they have a difficult time piecing the image together because her features are distorted by age, her eyes set deep, her cheekbones sunken, nose slightly flattened by dehydration and ear tips curved as the skin on those extremities begins to wither, but I knew every hair, every feature.

Between those two photos, she filled my life with love and beauty, all through the year.


All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used in any way without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.

3 Comments on “Early, and Late in the Year”

  1. What wonderful photos, both of them. As with most of your work, Bernadette, I have trouble telling whether I’m looking at photos or at paintings — your photos have a soft “painterly” (for want of a better word), and your paintings are so vividly detailed, they often seem photo-ish.
    I also loved her story in “My Favorite Feral, and My Enlightenment.” Have you read Rita Reynolds’s BLESSING THE BRIDGE? I think that it would speak to you on so many levels —

    • animalartist says:

      Tammy, “painterly” is actually a technical term for describing a style, and many people do call my photos “painterly”, including me. It’s also referred to in drawings, charcoal, pencil, that use a variety of lines and textures so it’s not just a reference to the colors. But that deep focus and the variety of line and texture are what captures my eye–after the big splash of sunshine, there has to be sparkling highlights and interesting shadows, usually.

  2. Alexandra says:

    Beautiful cat, beautiful story.

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