NOTE TO READERS: The Rome 2014 trip begins with post #30. Posts #10—29 were Rome 2013. Posts 1–9 were Florence 2011. If you'd like to be notified of new postings by email, let me know at

Saturday, March 30, 2013

#24.2: Truth and Beauty...dedicated to Volusia

This is just to say that my final musings about Truth and Beauty will be about the old Roman Forum and Trajan's Marketplace, which is across the street from the forum. These sites have been my favorite and before my final reflections, I want to return to them before writing #24.3.
I first encountered Volusia on my way back from my first trip to the forum. I was photographing a block of ruins on Via di Torre Argentina. These ruins date back to a time before Caesar.

Sitting on a bench watching rush-hour traffic zip by was

I then spotted this sign:

As you can see in the last line, there is an invitation to visit the shelter that cares for the abandoned cats who live in the ruins. It took me several tries to figure out that the shelter facility was actually down in the ruins. Ah, yes, this is the shelter I'd read about: Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary. This group helped in the effort to remove the vast number of cats that had taken over the Colosseum. Laura, a volunteer at the sanctuary gave me an indoor tour of the large and comfy room for the cats who, unlike the feral ones in the ruins, are adoptable. She said the last cat removed to the sanctuary from the Colosseum passed on to the Big Cat Santuary in the Sky just several weeks ago.

It was also Laura who told me my calico friend was named Volusia. There's another popular calico on the other side of the ruins named Oprah Winfrey. And oh, my you should see the very handsome boy named George Clooney...if you're interested, he is adoptable.

Laura said they've tried and tried to bring Volusia inside, but she hates it and is always sneaking back out. She loves hanging out on her cement bench and hobnobbing with tourists and folks in the neighborhood. She's blind in one one knows how this happened...but clearly doesn't feel sorry for herself.

There are various feeding stations throughout the ruins. And despite the sadness of so many abandoned cats (i gatti abbandonati), it is a very happy place. As the brochure puts it, this is "the place where emperors once ruled and cats now reign."

It's a truly remarkable Netarts own United Paws...and no-kill animal shelters everywhere. There was so much peace in the sanctuary. Especially in the section with the non adoptable cats who had health issues including neurological disorders and deafness. As I was talking to Laura, the deaf cat interrupted us with a very loud MEOW, letting Laura know that she wanted to get back inside her cage for a snack...un spuntino.

There is, I think, a gift that comes with loving animals and entering their world. At least, this has been my experience with the nine cats with whom I've shared my live over the years. Each of these cats has taught me something I needed to know at the time. Entering their world, I enter an entirely different consciousness. And also a different way of exploring the world. I can't recall exactly the words of Henry Beston from "The Outermost House." But what he says is that we need a "more mystical concept of animals" because they come to us from past more distant than ours, with a wisdom about life that we have forgotten or perhaps never knew.

When I get back home, I will be exploring these thoughts more in my blog "The Romance of the Netartians."

Meanwhile, perhaps we should all be mindful of supporting a shelter or spay-neuter organization near us. Instead of more abandoned animals, the world could use more of the wisdom of animals. And oh by the way, Reno, Q and A, and MO, I hope you don't mind that I gave your spring allowances for i vostri spuntini to Volusia!

So, to end this, I say here's to you, my fearless and sweet little Volusia...and to all abandoned and mistreated animals everywhere...and to those humans all over the world who are dedicated to making the world a better and safer place for these animals.

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