For the next few years our little family - Light Heart, Golden Heart, Strong Heart and I - continued to find our path to connecting to each other. I had learned a lot more about the "science" of cats, but was also discovering the bonding one has with their four legged family. I remember many nights while I sat typing on my computer, Strong Heart rested his front legs on my arm, sitting peacefully for hours beside me. Sometimes I would lean my head toward his, and he would press his forehead against mine, and the two of us would just sit, resting our heads together, for long quiet stretches. Peace and contentment and the joy of each other's presence.
I was growing in different ways, exploring different ideas and different ways of being. I became a vegetarian, but cannot tell you the day it was decided. I had been consciously or unconsciously avoiding meat for a while before I had realized that was what I was doing. In retrospect I think it came in part because my relationship to the four-leggeds was changing, and caring for some while eating others was a practice of convenience, not of true honesty.
Of the three, Strong Heart was the "ponderer," one who drew into himself and dreamed of far away places. I don't know if his somewhat limited vision inspired him to turn more inward. I remember one summer evening, when a storm was blowing in, we lay together with our noses to the screen of the window. I watched him close his eyes and smell the storm breeze, reading its messages. I closed my eyes and tried to do the same, to feel the storm, to smell the storm, trying to connect with his vision of his world. To this day my senses remember that encounter - a gift he gave to me.
My family was gently molding me, preparing me for what was to come - an adventure so different I could have never dreamed it to be so.