When I Was 10 Years Old


Piet Mondriaan
Polder Landscape with Irrigation Ditch and Two Cows

The ditch ran down the road we lived on and it traveled for block after block after our street.

When it stormed out and the rain really came down hard the ditch would fill up and sometimes it spilled into the road and it pushed things out into the open  for a little ways before the water crashed into a pipe where the roads intersected and it went underground.

Once I saw a dead cat – and it had been dead for quite awhile whoosh by me in that ditch.  The cat was on it’s side and I will always remember it’s one cloudy filmy blue eye looking up at me. I resisted the urge to reach down and grab it out of the water, I think I wanted to save it from that dirty horrible grave but the sides of the ditch were slippery and I didn’t try.

Of all of the dead faces I have looked into- both human and animal, that one face is the one I see when I think of death and loss.

I still wonder what that poor cat’s name was.

I was 10 years old the year I saw that cat.

46 years later and I’m still here, that ditch is still there and I suppose you could argue

that cat is still here to

and so is the water.

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