I took my friend Holly to Dana Faber Cancer Center in Boston where she is in a clinical trial (that is working well - thank you all gods everywhere) and while an old friend from her college days was visiting her Tuesday afternoon, I headed out to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. I was looking forward to seeing an exhibit "Cat's to Cricket ~ Pets in Japan's floating world."
(picture above is from the Museum of Fine Arts website)
In the 17th and 18th century in Japan, the rising middle class had the means to enjoy having pets in their homes. The title and the article suggested that cats and dogs were favorites and that they were pampered members of the household. I was looking forward to seeing happy kitties and cute crickets enjoying their new status.
Nope. The cat above is the only happy cat in the show. First, out of about 30 prints more than half were monkeys. Another 30 percent were dogs, some of which looked a lot more vicious than cuddly. And all of the other cats were not that happy. One showed a kid holding a cat by its hind legs while is was struggling to leave. In another print a young boy was holding a cat by its scruff and pretending it was an enemy soldier that it was going to kill with a wooden sword. Not in one of the four cat prints did a cat look happy except for the print above. I was so upset.
Fortunately, I had the Buddha to remind me to remain calm. This fabulous Buddha was made up of images that came from a myriad of sources. Stickers, magazines, maybe even cereal boxes. It looks like jewels from a distance and only becomes apparent when you get closer that you are looking at something else. It was fascinating. I stood and stared at it for quite some time. Then a Asian many with the stereotypical camera walked up and took a picture. I was so surprised. There was a time that you couldn't take pictures in any museum. So I questioned him. "Are you allowed to take pictures?" I asked.
"Yes, yes!" He said. Then he wiggled his finger at me, "No flash. No flash. OK?" Yes, I assured him, no flash.
I stopped by the gift shop to lust after glossy paged books, reproduction Renaissance gold jewelry with pearls, and small statues of Bastet. In the cafe, just outside the gift shop, I sat at a high table and listened in (yes, ease-dropped) on a conversation between to of Boston's Grande Dames. They were speaking about a third woman and her "foundation." The foundation is provided scholarships in education.
Being at Dana Farber with Holly was a hopeful thing. The clinical trial drug seems to be making a difference and getting to a bone marrow transplant looks likely. From there it's even (or better) odds that the bone marrow transplant could extend Holly's life a good long time. And that is good news.
Thanks for letting me take you, Holly!
“Exhaust the little moment.
Soon it dies.
And be it gash or gold
it will not come again
in this identical disguise."