Sunday, March 04, 2007

Very Superstitious

in the storage shed at my mother-in-law's, a feral cat decided to have her litter. The mother is a brown and gray tabby, but the litter is so diverse, you just have to wonder about the paternity. There are two short haired orange tabbies, one sleek gray tabby, one white cat with a gray striped tail, and two solid black kittens, one as sleek and shiny as patent leather, the other so fluffy it looks like a dangerous storm cloud. It also has the most imperious, angry green eyes that totally contradict its cute bouncing kitten walk. I want it.

I've always wanted a black cat despite their being a symbol of bad luck. There's nothing that I can think of that is more truly elegant than a black cat. When I was a little girl and told my mother that I wanted the stray hanging around our neighborhood, she was appalled. There was no way that we would have a black cat. She nearly screamed every time she saw one. A broken mirror would cause an emotional eruption as well.

She was definitely a superstitious woman, as was her mother. My grandmother swore that the reason my mother had a long wavy birthmark across her lower back was because she saw a snake in the garden when she was pregnant. It so frightened her that she jerked back quickly, grabbing her lower back as heavily pregnant women sometimes do. That moment of fear and that touch imprinted themselves on her unborn child.

It's obvious I don't fear black cats. Broken mirrors are just something that happen when you're as clumsy as I am. I can't trace my daughter's one small birthmark, a mole just over the back of her right knee, to any action during my pregnancy. Friday the thirteenth is just another day. I don't have lucky numbers, and carrying a rabbit's foot creeps me out. That doesn't mean I'm without superstitions though.

If my left palm itches, I have to scratch it so money will come my way. If it's the right palm, I need to rub it on wood or else I'll be spending money I don't need to. I picked these up from my boss, and they've just become habit. I toss spilled salt over my left shoulder as well for good luck. When I add new herbs to my kitchen window garden, I make sure to pot them during a new moon. I always pick up pennies when I find them. They're gifts from guardian angels. From my mother-in-law, I learned to always leave a building from the same door that I entered to guarantee that I can return.

Do I really believe any of these? Well, the ones about planting and harvesting according to the moon make sense to me. You don't mess with Mother Nature. The others are some mild social silliness, a sharing of culture and history, and a slight tip of the hat to the mystery of a world that is just beyond our control no matter how much we wish otherwise.

I really do want that black cat. He doesn't want anything to do with me though, and I really don't need another animal. Part of me wonders if this desire of mine to add this particular feline to my menagerie is in part superstition. If the source of bad luck and I belong together, it will bounce away from me.

This entry is part of Sunday Scribblings.



Blogger Virginia said...

Yep... a little of kittens can have multiple fathers.

Peace, Virginia

March 04, 2007 9:04 PM  
Blogger Theresa Williams said...

We inherited a black cat when we bought our house in 1999. She's so sweet. I've always had a soft spot in my heart for black cats. They are very special.

March 05, 2007 2:18 AM  
Blogger Kimberley McGill said...

I love the way you described one of the cats: "the other so fluffy it looks like a dangerous storm cloud."
I have an orange tabby and we are now looking to add another cat to the family. I am looking for a female black cat that I can name Morgaine. With an orange and black cat in the household I guess we will always be ready for Halloween!

March 05, 2007 1:49 PM  

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