Friday, December 20, 2013

Cat Encounters in Crete

Cats were one of the first things I noticed in Crete. In Chania, our first stop, there were lots of cats. They seemed well fed. They were not intrusive, just ubiquitous. And every little store with postcards and souvenirs carried images of cats.

I only took a picture of one. This one lived at the Paliani Convent which is built around a Holy Myrtle tree.

I never managed to photograph the cats with whom I had a special connection. I was on a goddess tour ( Led by Dr. Carol Christ – scholar, author, and theologian -- we honored the sacred at each site that had been sacred to the Minoan people and their descendants.

At the convent, we sat on a stone bench curving around the ancient tree and sang a response as each of us tied a piece of ribbon on the branches with a prayer. There, a little black cat hopped onto my lap to comfort me.

I don’t remember now whether it was at Phaistos or Malia – two of the ancient Minoan sacred centers we visited – but a little white and brown cat followed me, jumped on a bench when I asked it to (how did it know English?) then gave me a good-bye head bump as I was leaving.

There were other cats – a tri-colored kitten in Mochlos, a beautiful little fishing village, and the cat I fed French fries in the Anoglia tavern. But the most amazing was the little black cat who guided us around the Minoan ruins in the town of Tylissos.

We had had a wonderful visit to the home of Marie and Stella who shared refreshments and stories before we moved to the ruins of a Minoan village around the corner. As we entered the complex, the little cat trotted up and walked with us as we walked and sat with us when we sat.

[Actually I do have sort of picture of him, climbing onto Mikai’s shoulder.]

As we were leaving the complex, a family was just entering. The cat abandoned us and trotted up in front of the new group. Evidently, he was the official guide.

Who could ask for more?

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