Wednesday, January 22, 2014


This is Maia:
Shown here with Hermes, her son, she's one of the seven Pleiades in Greek mythology.

This is Maia:
The bright one towards the upper right, below the two smaller ones, she's one of the seven Pleiades in the night sky.

This is Maia:
Now that's more like it. Here illustrated by Mary Shepard, she's the youthful star, clad in a wisp of sky-stuff, who comes down from the sky to do her Christmas shopping in the next to last chapter of P.L. Travers' Mary Poppins, taking suggestions from Jane and Michael. Now wearing Mary Poppins' too-large gloves and carrying the package of presents for her sisters, "she began to walk up [the air], step by step, climbing ever higher, as though there were invisible stairs cut into the grey sky. She waved to them as she went, and the three of them waved back." It's the chapter I remember best from childhood: a dedicated astronomy buff at the time, I learned the Pleiades from it.

Now, this is Maia:
She's our new cat, whom we named for the Travers character because we've both just re-read and like the book, and because she's a slightly late Christmas present herself. She's a 5-month-old kitten we adopted from the county animal shelter not two weeks ago, and a busy not two weeks it's been. At first she lived in the upstairs bathroom, but after about six days Pippin's curiosity about the possibility that another cat had gotten into the house somehow became sufficiently insatiable that we let her out.

This, by the way, is Pippin, since you won't have seen him either:
Though he's a shy boy himself, we've actually been seeing more of him lately, as he's cheered up considerably since finding that he's no longer an only cat. Maia, meanwhile, we've found likes to sleep a lot, burrowed into the deepest, darkest corner that she can find, wherever that may be - we're not unsupplied with deep, dark corners around here. But she also likes to play - toy-mouse-on-a-stick and cat dancer (a length of wire with some cardboard tabs on the end, that wobbles around in the unpredictable way cats like) mostly so far. And occasionally she also remembers that she likes to be petted.

Yesterday morning I came out to the hallway where we shelve the paperback books to find a few from the top shelf on the floor, along with two peacock feathers - cat toys in reserve - plus a long felt dragon that we keep up there, the last thrown from its perch with sufficient force that it landed down on the staircase below. Maia's doing, because it certainly isn't Pippin's, giant slug that he is. That bookcase is nearly 5 feet high. She really can climb the invisible stairs.

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