“But I can’t remember the sound that you found for me.” The Cat Virtute Explains Her Departure by the Weakerthans is a song that hit me hard the other day. I was driving to pick up a toggle cap for the tone switch of my Les Paul and this song came on and I was struck by beauty of this song.
The song completes a saga begun a disc earlier by the Weakerthans called Plea from a Cat Named Virtute. Which is another amazing song about a cat that tired of their human’s depressing music, self-defeating ways and drinking and watching TV. “Frankly that thing doesn’t really interest me.” And the moment in this song that is so powerful is the cat telling the human, “Scratch the terror and begin to believe you’re strong.” And a few bars later Virtute is pleading, “If you don’t stop the self defeating lies you’ve been repeating since the day you brought me home. I know you’re strong.”
And then in this next installment of the story Virtute reflects back on the relationship and talks about the “sound that you gave to [found for] to me.”
What that struck in me was the loss of a cat two years ago now, named Lego. And what was amazing about this cat was the enthusiasm he showed when coming at the call of his name. He would leap over fences and run practically into my arms when I called him. And there was a special call. A way I sang his name. And somewhere this song brought the memory of Lego’s call and Lego’s joy. And more likely the painful loss of my 18 year-old Burmese Peter.
And to close this song Virtute recalls at the end of the goodbye song, “How I’d kneed into your chest while you were breathing, your shallow breathing made me purr. But I can’t remember the sound you found for me.”
And I was driving in my car between work and a music store, during my lunch hour, crying.
I let myself feel whatever was coming up. Sort of amazed at the touch of this wonderful song and the recollection of two amazing cats.
And then some stroke of Jungian synchronicity brought me this video as an alternative link when a web stats site was down.
What I can say about this entire day was cat’s play an important part in my life. Ti Jean Duloz, Jack Kerouac’s name for his little brother used to tell the 6 year-old Jack that a cat coming to sit in your lap was a cat blessing your life. It was a Buddhist concept that stayed with Kerouac for the rest of his life. And it has formed much of my understanding of the magic of cats.
To Peter, Lego and Ti Jean,
More posts about parenting are on The Whole Parent tab.