Saturday, April 30, 2005

Opera and Cats

My brother Stephen (he pronounces it like Stefan) had to rest his voice for several weeks. He has started to practice again with scales and other exercises I know nothing about. This has been interesting for us and for the cats.

Now the cats are used to music. Nyssa has played the piano since kindergarten and the cats loved to sit in chairs and on the sofa while she practiced. Her baby, Scarlett, would sit next to her on the piano bench; sometimes sitting in an upright Siamese tucked in position, staring straight up at the sheet music and other times curled up in a ball beside her. She loved to participate if possible, not by actually playing the keys but by performing acrobatic acts to the music. In middle school, Nyssa had the obligatory braces and glasses. She had long blonde hair that she wore most often in a ponytail or long braid. In this instance her hair was in the braid and she was intently preparing for the spring music recital. She can't sit still when playing, I think because she gets so involved in the music; not just the right notes but in the sounds and emotions that came from them. Sometimes, she sways when she is in this zone, and when she swayed her long braid swished from side to side. Now Scarlett can resist toys and catnip to some extent but the hair swaying was too much. She sat next to Nyssa on the bench with her back to the piano and batted at the braid each time it swung in her direction. I'm not even sure Nyssa knew what Scarlett was doing, such was her intensity, but then Scarlett in her own zone, stood up on her hind haunches and tried to get the braid with both front paws. She missed and being shaped like a bowling ball, lost her balance and fell off the bench. Also being shaped like the said bowling ball, she does not easily land on her feet but rather flops on her back...turning swiftly, jumping up and looking around as if to say, "I meant to do that."

She still loves music, at least the piano. The sounds of an operatic tenor practicing scales are another matter. Several of the cats spend their days in sweet repose in the living room. There so is the piano. Enter Stephen. Hear chords from piano. Then loud scales, up and down, over and over. Let's just say we hope his human audiences are not such severe critics...I have never seen a room empty so fast nor has the (far distant from singer) sunroom seen so many sleeping animals before the nightly shoo-shoo time!! The misquoted, "Music soothes the savage beast" was certainly not in play here. Today, the cats have found their places again, thankful that all is still silent.

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