Hello! Mia, my cat, has asked for permission to take over the keyboard today, so I present to you her debut as an author.
I wake up at 10.45 p.m. and Sofi is studying Romanticism. She has been looking at paintings of tragedies, wars, demons, and storms for two days now. She’s reading a book, so, naturally, I have to lay down on top of it. Since all the information contained in the book will transfer to me as soon as my tummy makes contact, I have to cover as much area as I possibly can. She says I’m no help at all when I prevent her from looking at the pages, but that I kind of look like a bread loaf so she can’t really be upset about it.
As if I cared. Mau.
By osmosis, I learn that Romanticism flourished in the decades after the French Revolution. That artists sought to express their own visions instead of painting what was popular and accepted. That, because of it, they were in a precarious position with the public. I absorb that painters were interested in the relationship between man and nature, and that the ocean and the forests and the glaciers made them reflect on their own insignificance. To be honest, thinking of the ocean only makes me crave tuna.
I usually prefer to look at paintings of my feline comrades, but this piece caught my eye. My tummy tells me it’s called Wave, by Ivan Aivazovsky. I see many waves in this landscape, but I think the author is referring to the one that is about to sink the ship, in the lower part of the painting. I’m glad I stole Sofi’s blanket from her, because just imagining this situation makes my ears feel cold. The scene is striking. Just look at the dark clouds, the people about to drown, the lightning dancing on walls of salty water, the ship nearly destroyed by an uncontrollable force… Sofi says that she doesn’t know what would terrify her the most: being in complete darkness, alone with the roar of the storm, or seeing how lightning illuminates the apparent infinity of the sea, and with it, the unquestionably lost fight.
Now, Sofi has moved on to writing about Kant and the aesthetics of the dynamic sublime, related to the force of nature. Apparently, human beings find beauty in danger and tragedy, as long as they are spectators and not protagonists. My whiskers laugh, mau. As if I didn’t regularly see humans cling to imaginary boats, trying to kick out any hint of a storm. I think it’s a good thing I’m a cat and can’t speak human, otherwise I would remind them that they’re vulnerable even when they feel safe. I meow to Sofi that storms and their destruction can take many forms: from sinking ships, to the death of a loved one, to neurochemical imbalances, as she very well knows. She tells me that the only thing she can do in her human life is to try to love more than the waves can ruin. I’m a cat and I don’t worry about these things. If my food bowl is full, I am at peace. If my bowl isn’t full, then the storm will be me.
Sofi won’t let me watch lions hunting on youtube – she says they’d feed my violent tendencies- so I’ll go back to sleep. Right before I close my eyes, she asks me if I would dare to swim in the ocean during a thunderstorm. In her dreams I answer that I have never been afraid of anything.
Mia told me all of her inspiration came from this poem by Richard Siken: Detail of the Woods
If you would like to keep thinking about the sea, I suggest this video: Pirates of the Caribbean Music and Ambience ~ The Black Pearl
Thank you for reading!
❀ Spanish version here. Translation is mine.