It was one of those early starts that found me out of the house before 5:15 and other than grabbing the wide angle lens for a sunrise shoot, I hadn’t really made any decision about where I was heading.
I think I was on the road about a half an hour before I finally settled on Ballast Point. The sky above had a good clarity and there seemed to be some loosely configured clouds up there too, so that’s how I ended up deciding on shooting over water.
The reality is that if there was some solid clouds there or anything that looked like it would mess with the horizon, then I was probably downtown-bound. Then the buildings would have taken the brunt of the cloud cover.
At least that’s the way my early-morning-brain saw things.
I was pulling into the parking lot by six which was still well over an hour ahead of sunrise and there were already about ten cars there. I sighed sadly because I knew that while two or three might indeed be early morning fishermen, there was a distinct possibility that a number of them were occupied by sleepers.
I parked into my spot beside a white sedan and as I came to a halt, there was a familiar face looking out at me. It was the same cat that I had seen there a few visits back. He and his owner sleep in the car and I guess this is their go-to spot for overnight quiet.
Thankfully I have gotten into the habit of always having a can of Fancy Feast in my car these days. Oftentimes the beneficiaries are the stray cats that live up at my local Walmart. But for the second time now, this little guy was about to get a nice breakfast.
I tapped on the window which was party down and though I thought he was awake, I think I woke up the driver. I apologized and handed him, through the opening, the can of Gravy Lovers Beef for his little buddy at the back window.
He remembered me from the last time and he thanked me again for this one. I asked his friend’s name and it turned out to be Edgar. Lovely name for a cat.
Camera and tripod in my other hand, I walked away humbled by the experience and the gratitude just shown me. You see, on my drive down there this morning, I had been feeling a bit cheated by life in recent times and was generally feeling sorry for myself.
There wasn’t one particular thing that I was upset about, just life in general and for a while now I have been dealing with a general level of unhappiness.
So as I walked away, it wasn’t that my own level of unhappiness went away … it didn’t. But this little encounter suddenly put a sharp perspective on how I felt for myself.
As odd as this is going to sound (and I am sorry, in advance) it was really Edgar I felt most sorry for. Clearly he is loved and that is a huge positive for any little creature, but living in a car is no life for a cat.
It would be tough on a dog too, I know, but the truth is that you would be able to get out and take your dog for walks and such and let them run around and stretch their feet. That kind of outlet doesn’t exist for a cat and so in many ways, little Edgar seems imprisoned. I just don’t know what his crime was.
Some kind of feliney, I guess. Oh come on … work with me here.
As I rattled off my early morning shots, he stayed stuck in my mind and I asked myself who was better off, the little family of young cats living in Walmart parking lot or Edgar living in a car. There was a real back and forth playing out in my head on this and it doesn’t really matter what answer I came up with, neither was perfect.
Though my heart then wasn’t really into the whole shoot this morning, I still managed to get a few pics that were decent and I have them at the end of the blog.
I hope you enjoy.
Now, this is the point in my blogs that I always depart onto the main purpose for my writing or my thoughts for the day. And right now, there are some of you reading this thinking “Oh shit, he’s going to head off into another dissertation about homeless people and the inequity of riches in America. But relax … I’m not.
No, the real thought that ran through my head as I drove home was all the little creatures that we come into contact with every day and how different their lives are from one another and from ours.
The Walmart kitties live a different life to Edgar who lives a different life to my office indoor/outdoor cats who live a different life to my upstairs indoor cats.
And the possums and raccoons that come to my food stations each evening live a different life to their buddies that have to find food wherever they can.
The baby possum that lives in my storage room gets fresh food and water twice a day and lives differently from other baby possums that may or may have enough to survive with.
The birds that fly in every late afternoon and let me know when I am late putting out their bread; they live a different life from birds that may or may not be able to find enough to eat in a given day.
And we humans live different lives from those around us. We may even look the same as other folks but none of us live the same life.
Some are privileged, others poor, some may have to dig like crazy just to eke out an existence, others may find opportunities waiting for them around every corner.
We can choose to resent those who have it better off than we do and that is one way that many people go through life. They begrudge, they moan, they object. And all that happens is that they become bitter.
Do the cats at Walmart resent the guys living with me? Or do they go about their little lives as best they can?
Going about life the best you can is a genuine path to happiness. Because true happiness comes from our achievements in the face of adversity. Happiness does not come from power, riches, or an easy lifestyle.
Is there anybody on the planet that things Trump is a happy person?
No, happiness comes from taking whatever life sets in front of us and finding ways to make it work for us.
When we make a life within our situation and do as best we can with whatever is dealt to us, we achieve real success and this in turn points us towards happiness. And every now and then an opportunity to make our life better comes along and allows us to grow with it.
Edgar lives what many outside that car might view as a tiny and tragic life. But he is loved. And the car is his domain. And he looks out through the windows at the things that happen around the car. He is not moping on the back seat waiting for life to be over.
And then every now and then, there is a knock on the window and someone hands him in a little can of Fancy Feast.
… just a thought!