This probably isn't how she'd spell her name (even if she could), but this is Zena phonetically. Zena is a cat, an aging cat, that I lived with during the famous ice storm. Zena was transplanted from her birth place in Seattle to Tulsa a few years ago and has never completely thrived here. In the summer, the bugs and fleas attacked her and left her little ears with scars she'll never be rid of. She never liked the heat and quickly developed a preference for those cool spots under a house and most recently The Basement. For the past 6 months or so, Zena has been referred to as The Basement Dweller at my sister's house. She would come upstairs, peer into the kitchen from the glass-paned door, and quickly retreat. Her food magically appeared at the bottom of the stairs and her litter magically disappeared. She was a recluse and seemed quite content with her life. Then came the ice storm.
Two more people moved into the house. Boxes of Christmas decorations were carried up from the basement and stacked in the kitchen waiting for a day warm enough to buy a Christmas tree. There was a lot of laughter and goings-on in the kitchen. Zena became curious and finally ventured upstairs, climbed up on top of the Christmas boxes, and made herself quite comfortable on top of the Christmas stockings. She was there every day, going to The Basement only for her litter needs and sometimes to eat in privacy.
So, why all this about Zena? It makes me think about how easy it is for me to become detached, comfortable in my singularity, not reaching out. And then how quickly I can respond to a laugh, a surprise, a little bit of giving. Now that the ice has melted, the extra people are gone and the Christmas decorations are on the tree, I wonder if Zena will go back to The Basement. I don't think I will.