Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Rungis, the God of Harvests (Personal)

It's the first day of August, the Day of Harvest (Lughnasadh), the birthday of someone I know, and the day Rungis the Latvian God of Harvests first showed up.
I live with my parents and they work night shift, to keep from making themselves crazy with changing hours all the time, they live the night shift on their days off too.

Night shift is an interesting way of life, but that's another story for another time, but for now let me just say some strange things go on at night.

My parents were cleaning the barn around midnight when they heard mewling. We've got another cat that's rather friendly and has a very kitten-like voice, named Sandy, so my parents thought it was her. They'd called enough that the kitten decided to poke its head into the barn. Certainly not Sandy. Apparently, it didn't take long to convince her to come out of our straw stack (I'm convinced that it's a cat spawn point by now.)
Souls, she eats them.

We live out in the country, so it's rather weird for there to be a kitten running around as we only have one neighbor within kitten distance (a very scientific measurement). They said it wasn't theirs, so we kept her.

I'd written a speech paper on black cats a few years back, and in doing so I learned about Rungis, the Latvian God of Harvests. According to Latvia's old pagan beliefs (they're primarily Christian now) they believe black cats embody the spirit of Rungis, and finding a little black kitten on a pagan harvest holiday is rather coincidental, but fun.

That, and we had our best squash harvest from our garden, ever. It exploded, crawling all over the rest of the garden, so much that we had to keep it from choking off the rest of the stuff we were growing, and it grew up and over a fence and into a goat pasture, where the chickens hid under and laid plenty of eggs that we didn't find for a long time.

Assembly instructions not included.

We've already had so many black cats in the past that we're running out of names, so we called her Smudge, like a coal smudge.

My brother was dating at the time we found Smudge, so I was left pretty bored and lonely. There's only so much you can do by yourself when you live out in the country. That left Smudge to be my buddy. She usually slept on my bed in the sun while I read or wrote.

Cats grow up, as cats tend to do. Smudge was always friendly a friendly kitty. She was also very vocal, and loved to let you know she was there. This spring, she got big and round, and suddenly our Rungis was pregnant with little Harvest Demigods.
Momma needs a mousetini.

She had kittens on April 20th just before my brother and I were ready to head for school. We didn't get a good look at them until later that day when our parents were awake. She was very happy to see us, and didn't mind at all when we touched and held the kittens.

We were kind of hoping for at least one solid black kitten, but the genetics roulette didn't provide. Instead we were given what mostly look like tabbies, which is weird because there were mostly 2 possibilities for tomcats: A white tomcat with orange ears and a tail that we own (thank God that didn't come to be), and a beefy, wild Siamese. So where the heck did these tabby...things come from? No idea. Two are pure grey tabbies, one being longhair, and the other two I call "Camo-tabbies" because they're tabbies, but a mix of both orange and grey tabby markings. There were 3 girls and one boy, for a while their designations were Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Dave. (Yeah, that's okay, I didn't get it either.)
Insomnia kitten was stuck on the bottom.
Eventually they were named Grim, Bean, FSMO, and Dave. My brother and I are Computer Networking Technician graduates and FSMO is pronounced Fizzmo, short for Flexible Single Master Operator role. A part of Windows Server. Nerdy, I know, but Fizzmo is a cute name, especially for a kitten.

I've never seen a mother adore her babies so much, and I've seen herbivores. Everyone grew up nice and healthy.

We're always responsible about spaying our cats, this was an intentional litter, so we made arrangements to have Smudge spayed, but the day before, she didn't show up. That wasn't like her at all. I felt bad because she usually got closed up in the barn with her kittens, but that night she wasn't in the mood for it, so I left her out. That was July 10th.

We haven't seen her since.

Her kittens are still growing well, they're 3 months old right now. Since their mother disappeared they've been extra attached to us, but they still show signs that they're waiting for her. Bean almost got her nose smacked off because she mistook Sandy for Smudge last night.

It's silly, but I like to think Smudge really was Rungis, in some way. She came, made our squash harvest unnecessarily plentiful, blessed us with little Harvest Demigods, and went on about her divine way.

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