He came in the ceremony hall this morning close to the end of morning service. Saw him out of the corner of my eye as his form flitted past the back of the altar. He purred his way loudly up the line of monks then threw himself on the carpet, right beside the celebrants large ceremonial mat. Extended long, from claw to claw, front to back paw. Contented cat, relaxed and happy to be in with his friends.
The ceremony ends with a procession lead by a monk with a small hand gong. Uh, slight kink in the procession to avoid Smudge thus disported. We hold our collective breath. Phew! Nope, Smudge was not in the mood for play, no swiping at robes as they swish by nor a more athletic leap for tassels dangling from a ceremonial item.
They come to teach and test our patience and our ability to remain still in the midst of circumstances, not to mention our inner strength not to laugh during inappropriate moments!