Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Zen Catbox and the New Canoe

It sounded like a good idea at the time, putting sand and seashells in the front patio area with the driftwood and the new canoe.....

As you know from reading this blog, I have two cats, four kittens, and the outside invaders commonly known as the commando of cats. Mom and kittens prefer to use a cat box, and so I have two...five cats eat and crap a lot! One item that is expensive here is cat litter. One day when we were heading to the beach at Celestún on the Gulf Coast we took all the empty litter containers and buckets we could find. When we got to the beach we filled them with sand. I thought I could use real sand in the cat boxes and save money. It did not work out as well as I had hoped. The fact is the cat boxes became a smellier mess than usual, attracted miniature flies and the cats started playing in their own shit boxes because sand is FUN!

The little rectangular area in my front patio was full of gravel and weeds. I had planted papaya seeds from a strawberry papaya I found in Honduras, the ti plant my neighbor gave me, the henequen plant with super sharp points, and two unhappy pineapple plants. After weeding one day I decided to make a Zen-like garden out of this space. I dragged the buckets of sand over to my creation and carefully covered the area. I brought out the driftwood, which may or may not be balsa wood, that we found on the Balsa Coast in El Salvador. It looked out of place in the house. Then it occurred to me the seashells we collect every time we visit a Gulf of México beach would look pretty cool spread around the area. And the new canoe!! Of course!!

It may not be evident when you look at this photo, but Moka is christening the new Zen garden by pissing in it....before I even finished. This should not have surprised me, however I should have had the foresight to realize this is what would happen.

Busmo poses in new canoe in Zen catbox as his sister looks on.

In the early 1990's when Jim was working on the University of Hawaii Research Vessel in Papua New Guinea, he traded a case of Budweiser for a canoe. The locals rowed out to the vessel in search of western goods, and much tongue clucking later with their eyes on that case of beer, they offered to trade Jim a live eagle. Jim tried to explain he could not take a live eagle, so they offered him the canoe they were rowing. The canoe was at least 12 feet long and made of a hard heavy wood. The guys hoisted it onto the vessel and took it to Hawaii. We used the canoe as a beverage cooler at parties for years. It always had an esteemed place in our yard.

After Jim's passing, when I had decided to move to México, I had to give up the canoe. Our friend Rusty, one of Jim's dearest friends, made arrangements to have the canoe shipped over to his island. Rusty was a boat builder and a sailor, today he is struggling with melanoma. The canoe now is an altar, so to speak, in the Quesinberry yard in Waianae, Oahu. Recently I spotted a small dugout canoe while we were on the Guatemalan Caribbean Coast and had to have it. It was my way of hanging on to the original canoe, if only in thought. After creating my Zen garden it seemed the perfect addition.

Lorenza likes it.

If you are wondering, there ARE two hubcaps in the Zen garden. It seemed like a good idea at the time. They may not be very Zen but they already lived in the patio space and in their Mexican way they look like they fit in. The photo below was taken this morning. After several rainstorms the sand is packed tight like cement. We are thinking about heading back to the beach soon to fill those same buckets with more seashells to cover the area and reduce temptation to use it as a toilet.


Julie said...

That's the nicest catbox I've ever seen!!! Shrine a la piss! lol. I always wondered what happened to the canoe... it proved handy on many drunken occasions!!!

Pablo Chavez y Linda Dorton said...

Rusty and Carol just sent me some photos of the canoe. I will try to post them. I have lots of news to post on all three blogs. So one thing at a time. Thanks for the comment.