The Gift of Happiness / by Jeannine Cook

Happiness, with all its definitions, often comes quietly into one's life from a direction least expected. Precious, often fugitive, and always a gift, it spreads through one's life in subtle ways. My - our - most recent gift was a diminuitive black kitten whom we found abandoned when we returned last summer from Europe. Rescued, christened Chutzpah - for obvious reasons - and installed, she soon transformed our life with her jaunty golden-eyed insoucience and ultimate absolute trust.

However, we soon discovered that she had been bitten by heart-worm-carrying mosquitoes and was the youngest cat our vets had ever seen to have heart worm – a death sentence deemed to be two years ahead, for there is no treatment for cats.

We decided that her time with us was a gift, that she should live as joyous a life as possible with us - and so it was. Last night, from being a vital, purring, beautiful little cat, within ten minutes, she was dead. Seemingly the heart worms were exacting their toll, not at two years but at ten months.

Now, amid our tears, I begin to measure, as an artist, how the happiness I experienced with her in our home has even filtered into my art. As I sat drawing at the table, she would sit on the next chair, peeping up at me, always happy to have a conversation of purrs and churrs and soft squeaks. Her repose and elegant slumber were a delight to look at when I needed to rest my eyes from the drawing. Her intense interest and curiosity when I was working on matting and framing art helped alleviate the tedium of the tasks. She threaded herself into our life as a golden strand of happiness, incredibly fragile, appallingly brief, but such a gift.

 Christmas Cactus, silverpoint, Jeannine Cook artist

Christmas Cactus, silverpoint, Jeannine Cook artist

 White Christmas Cactus, silverpoint, Jeannine Cook artist

White Christmas Cactus, silverpoint, Jeannine Cook artist

Resquiesce in pace et in amore, Chutzpah. I owe these two drawings of Christmas cactus flowers to you.