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" … he seems to be Interpregating, interpreting to integrate rather than to separate."

This world seems to be continuously trying to teach me stuff. I remain a reluctant student. I suspect that I absorb most of what might eventually become learnings sub- or pre-consciously, and I feel truly grateful for this small gift, for if I had to maintain attentive concentration, I'd certainly fail to learn much of anything at all. We've acquired a kitten who reminds me what learning actually entails. The Muse and I find his antics entertaining, sometimes in a rather mean way, for he seems to endlessly play the fool for us, perhaps to teach us something. Learning seems to entail much foolishness, approximations of congruent responses morphing over time into ever more well-adapted ones. The first few attempts qualify as genuine comedy, easily observed when someone else performs but not so easily recognized when we mount the stage. We're always on stage but only occasionally aware of the observers surrounding us. We're probably always trying out some new routine, but largely unaware that we are. The more well-rounded among us might construct lives of well-practiced, numbing routine, but even these masters might continuously try out fresh variations unaware of just how silly they might seem to the rest of us.

The best I can claim about myself seems to be that I'm still learning.
I'm secretly pleased that I remain largely unaware when I am learning, for learning, however amusing it might appear, remains challenging. I hear others speak of their great personal joy when engaging in learning and I cannot help but suspect that perhaps they've conflated learning with having learned. I, too, experience the satisfaction of finally integrating those initially clumsy approximations into more fluid, pre-conscious capability, but the road to that sensation never seems to have been paved, and often remains unsurveyed until I uncomfortably blaze a first trail through hostile wilderness. I rarely warmly anticipate those ordeals, and more often easily justify deflecting opportunities to expose myself to fresh learnings due to the inevitable hassle involved. Not so the kitten, who I suspect remains ignorant of the likely cost of each new learning. He's more fluffy and pliable than I and gravity seems more friendly to him than she's been to me in a very, very long time. I used to run barefoot on gravel without discomfort, but I grew up to weigh more while my feet retained about the same thickness as they did when I was small. I poke into new experiences much more hesitantly now.

We introduced the kitten to bird videos last night. He went nuts stalking the screen, following departing birds as though their flight might take them across the room. He stalked over to other windows to perhaps see what bird activity they might frame, but found only another cat staring back from the darkness outside. He decided to transfer his dry food into his wet food bowl this morning, employing the same technique he uses when shuffling his litter box contents, managing to move most of his dry food into the floor instead of into the adjacent bowl. He tore through the house as if his tail might be on fire, pouncing on his catnip mouse, reproving his budding dominance again before slinking back to remixing his food. He waits now in anticipation of the magpies' predawn arrival, apparently aware of time. He positions himself along the couch back, keeping a low profile. He might be learning stealth after inadvertently scaring away yesterday's magpie contingent by standing too upright in the window.

He finally yesterday afternoon exhibited an ounce of trust in me by allowing me to actually pick him up. He quickly cuddled in and even declined to leave when I released him from my grasp, digging more deeply into my neck and nuzzling my face, purring his foolish young head off. He would not repeat the performance when I later invited him to stake claim to space on the bed, and he fled to his secret hideout through the night instead. I recognized that I'm usually not far above that response when invited to change. He seems increasingly less self-conscious, though, less painfully aware of us humans nattering to domesticate him. As he loses his initial hyper-awareness, he seems to be Interpregating, interpreting to integrate rather than to separate. That's learning manifest, and a lesson I might benefit from Interpregating, too.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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