A slight act of selflessness . . .

One of several community herb planters dotted around the village, this one sits right outside our garden wall.

I wondered why the marjoram label was regularly covered with compost. We noticed it buried again as we went out for a short walking interval between rainy spells.

I moved to clear it off, but my hand froze mid-air. The cat droppings were a good clue. We made our progression around a new-to-us circuit, on the smooth wet tarmac, but we resolved to investigate the best way to repel cats from vegetable beds when we returned.

A variety of citronella concoctions gave pause: what might they do to the herbs? The herbs are meant, once established, for local folks to pluck to flavour their cooking. But we felt so sorry for the volunteers who carefully weed and maintain the planters around the place. Might a felicitously arranged series of Cat-Scat mats dissuade the feline fecal fomenter from its arrogated toilet? We decided to ask the volunteers, next time we saw them attending to their charges. We might need a few of the mats too, for when the brazen creature discovers our own little planters.

In the meantime, the cat droppings were just offensive. I decided I could as easily dispose of them as could anybody else. I got a trowel to pick the offending material out of the compost, and discovered that the cat’s strategy was not new. Not a nice feeling, doing the picking, but on my return to photograph the tidied place, with the marjoram, bay, dill, rosemary, parsley, oregano, chives and sage all looking healthy, it felt good to have taken care of the dirty.

A slight, ever-so-slight act veering towards the selfless axis, and a feeling of some joyful satisfaction that more than rewarded the effort. Maybe that’s a major component of the volunteer ethos, after all. As Abraham Lincoln was reputed to have said, when asked why he selflessly rescued a litter of piglets from entrapment in a muddy slough, ‘I did it for my own peace of mind.’

One response to “A slight act of selflessness . . .”

  1. Larry, You’ve hit a nerve. I like cats & they seem to Ike me but… Cat lovers will hate me but I do not like roaming cats & have strong opinions re: feral cats. It is illegal to allow cats to roam in residential areas in our Township. T9 the best of my knowledge the statute is never enforced. If someone’s dog is picked up by animal control however it is close to a $500 fine plus costs plus proving to the Humane Society that you are a responsible dog owner + paying their fee. Last summer we used cat repellant to fend off a roaming cat who decided our yard was its litter box. Cat feces is terrible disgusting. I don’t see the difference between roaming cats & dogs. On Saturday our next door neighbor told my wife he couldn’t keep a cat inside bc it goes against its nature! I sometimes feel my bird feeders are bait stations.

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