I found Natalie in Geez magazine's (http://www.geezmagazine.org/) latest collection of thoughts on "holy mischief in an age of fast faith". Her gently provocative thoughts moved me to change, to grow, to take the face of a friend in my hands and say, "Look away."
So impacted was I that I hunted her down and asked her permission to re-print her thoughts here:
In my house live two cats. In the morning, as I eat breakfast in our solarium, surrounded on three sides by panes of glass, the cats sit on the other side of the table, flicking their tails wildly as they stare out the window. They stare at the birds flitting to and fro amongst the trees and telephone wires, free to do as they please, to do as they were created to do. They sit there; the heart-shaped cat food they've been purring for all morning is left abandoned at the sight of what they really desire. They gaze, poised as if they might strike at any moment, sneaking and hiding amongst the chair legs as if lurking in the shadows of the forest underbrush, though they've never experienced any such thing. Yet they never jump, never even paw at the transparent barrier between them and the object of their longing.
Their ritual of walking away from the cheap, substitute, ridiculously processed product and staring out eagerly, impossibly at the world they long to be a part of pains me. Some mornings it pains me to the point of tears. It pains me for them, and it pains me for humans too. We too are offered our hearts' desires in cheap substitutes, products that claim to offer fulfillment. But what pains me most is that the cats know to look away from the processed promise of fulfillment, even if they remain physically trapped. We do not even know how to look away, let alone walk away, though no panes of glass (except maybe the ad-laden TV screen) stand between us and the experiences that would fulfill us.
Let us help each other look away.
~ Natalie Boustead ~