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'In This Light I Can Count Your Lives' by Philip Hinge, Final Hot Desert, Goblin Valley, Utah

I’ve had more of you in my life than I can easily remember. Like petals pulled from a flower, I can count the versions of you that have brought us here. In my childhood you were small, grey and white with a distinctive charcoal patterning around your eyes. Nervous and sweet, you were scared of almost everything, except me. In my adolescence you had changed your color, your temperament and your stripes. You had a confident and sturdy frame covered in stale orange fur. You had retained familiar white patches on your paws and stomach but was bold in a way I had not experienced. Now, you have tabby stripes and it looks like you waded through a shoulder’s deep puddle of white paint. Affectionate and quick to comfort, this is the time I’ve enjoyed most. 

While I can reflect on the lengths we’ve crossed together, I don’t recognize the path we are on. This journey has become unfamiliar, and the way forward is increasingly unclear. Our plateau is as long as it is flat. In Dark Souls, when you’ve strayed too far off course or are suffering insurmountable odds you can use an item called, homeward bone. Using one will transport you back to a previously discovered, safe area so you can regroup and rest before continuing onward. Reality has no equivalent; a linear path may wind but it’s forward momentum doesn’t falter. And the further we go, the more I can’t shake the feeling your form is readying itself for its next transformation. 

If the adage, “a cat has nine lives”, cuts both ways, then the sentiment’s reflection becomes true for the caretaker; “a person can have nine cats in one life”. A superstitious daydream, maybe. I don’t think so. We are currently experiencing your sixth iteration, which means I will witness you bloom three more times before I see no more. This prolonged spectacle could end quickly for us both if an unlucky or quick series of events descends on either of our trajectories. There is no certainty other than that we are intrinsically linked. As another dusk settles, we will pick up where you leave off. 

20.9.20

Curated by Ben Sang

Photo by Tucker Nickman

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