Log24

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Requiem for a Cat

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 8:28 PM

Cover art by Robert Goldstrom

From “Schr√∂dinger’s Cat,” by Ursula K. Le Guin
(Buffalo Gals and Other Animal Presences )

….

There was silence then: deep silence. We both gazed, I afoot, Rover kneeling, at the box. No sound. Nothing happened. Nothing would happen. Nothing would ever happen, until we lifted the lid of the box.

“Like Pandora,” I said in a weak whisper. I could not quite recall Pandora’s legend. She had let all the plagues and evils out of the box, of course, but there had been something else, too. After all the devils were let loose, something quite different, quite unexpected, had been left. What had it been? Hope? A dead cat? I could not remember.

Impatience welled up in me. I turned on Rover, glaring. He returned the look with expressive brown eyes. You can’t tell me dogs haven’t got souls.

“Just exactly what are you trying to prove?” I demanded.

“That the cat will be dead, or not dead,” he murmured submissively. “Certainty. All I want is certainty. To know for sure that God does play dice with the world.”

I looked at him for a while with fascinated incredulity. “Whether he does, or doesn’t,” I said, “do you think he’s going to leave you a note in the box?” I went to the box, and with a rather dramatic gesture, flung the lid back. Rover staggered up from his knees, gasping, to look. The cat was, of course, not there.

Rover neither barked, nor fainted, nor cursed, nor wept. He really took it very well.

“Where is the cat?” he asked at last.

“Where is the box?”

“Here.”

“Where’s here?”

“Here is now.”

“We used to think so,” I said, “but really we should use larger boxes.”

He gazed about in mute bewilderment, and did not flinch even when the roof of the house was lifted off just like the lid of the box, letting in the unconscionable, inordinate light of the stars. He had just time to breathe, “Oh, wow!”

I have identified the note that keeps sounding. I checked it on the mandolin before the glue melted. It is the note A, the one that drove the composer Schumann mad. It is a beautiful, clear tone, much clearer now that the stars are visible. I shall miss the cat. I wonder if he found what it was we lost?

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