Monday, April 11, 2005


This morning I had just a short moment to visit my favorites.

I discovered them only recently, less than 100 feet from my bus stop at the Northeast corner of central campus, two beautiful concrete lions, flanking the entrance to the University's Natural History Museum.

Normally, I just get a few moments to look them over before walking down the to get a coffee before class. They've been painted black at some point, and their wide, round, expressive eyes glisten knowingly. They are female lions, curve and class, without that overwhelming mane to muck up the profile. They have elegant lines straight from the 30s, and they look rather wistful. Each faces away from the other, as if they faught briefly in the split second before they were turned to stone, and now they must live some unimaginable eternity without company because of their momentary quarrel.

This morning, I looked carefully at their feet. ( I'm paying special attention to claws these days, since Alexis has recently Dremeled the dog's feet, and they have gentle little nubbins where there were black curving talons.) These lions have soft, rounded paws, with large pads and dulled claws. I've been fascinated that each foot had different length claws - the left had longer, and the right, shorter. Then it hit me...

The lions were kneading.

Kneading has to be one of the sweetest, cutest, heart-warming activities that kitties of all sizes engage in. I love it, but if you hate it, you may not be clipping your cat's nails short enough. Our cat Beast purrs when she's near us, and when we hold her, she kneads and kneads, so full of joy and safety...extend, relax, extend, relax, a slow, quiet, rhythm. A method practiced by kitties, big and small, by grey/peachy tiny things, and huge, black lions, guarding the entrance to the natural history museum.