Tuesday’s Theme Music

The song, “The Year of the Cat” (Al Stewart) was released in 1976. A mellow pop-rock song, I was stationed on an unaccompanied tour with the USAF when it came out. The song appealed to me, and I sometimes played it while sitting in my barracks room burning candles in a straw basket to create shapes.

On a morning from a Bogart movie
In a country where they turn back time
You go strolling through the crowd like Peter Lorre
Contemplating a crime
She comes out of the sun in a silk dress running
Like a watercolour in the rain
Don’t bother asking for explanations
She’ll just tell you that she came
In the year of the cat

I was a little bored. I’d usually sip wine or cognac while I was doing this.

Another’s post had reminded me of the song. As it streamed through my mind, I thought that cats measured time differently than we do. We establish a calendar and a clock based on what we observe. Cats declare, “This is my year,” and ignore the calendar. The year of the cat when we had Jade lasted twenty years. Pogo had a year that went for four, his year cut short by a car, while cancer ended Quinn’s year of the cat after twelve years. So it goes.

We have three  cats. Each has declared their own year. Tucker’s year began four years ago, while Boo and Papi are each into about twenty-four months of their year. I hope each has a long year of the cat.

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Today’s Theme Music

We’re experiencing unseasonably strange cold, wet weather in Ashland, southern Oregon, this week. It feels like late November, an odd juxtaposition against the full green trees, lush grasses and arrays of colorful blooms. It feels like it might snow, your mind whispers to itself, setting you into a groove of wondering what this rain is doing to the seasonal snowpack. Perchance this colder, wetter weather will diminish the wildfire season. Maybe, this year, we won’t have drought and water rationing.

But on a Sunday morning, it also settles coziness. What better things are there for cold summer weather but leisurely breakfasts inside, reading books by a fire while sipping coffee and tea, and, for us, going to an afternoon movie?

All this kicks the mental streams into retro-mood. From that morass of signals emerges an album from nineteen seventy-six.

Married less than a year and separated from my wife, nineteen years old, and experiencing my first overseas assignment in the Philippines, this album helped me keep my focus and balance. “Year of the Cat” wasn’t Al Stewart’s first album, but the song by the same name was one of his highest charting songs. Its piano-heavy folk-rock sound with mystical lyrics spoke to me as I walked around Clark Air Base and the surroundings Filipino cities and towns.

It’s a good song for a cold, quiet morning. Here’s “Year of the Cat.”

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