Forgive me, mother, for I have sinned. I've never actually confessed directly to the earth before, but I'm feeling guilty, so I figure now's as good a time as any.
Oh, Gaia (can I call you Gaia?), I've been a loyal soldier, haven't I? I champion your causes. I cry out publicly when anyone betrays you. I turn off the taps as I lather my dishes with environmentally friendly soap.
But still, I carry a dark shame around. And I blame it on my cat.
You see, he hates drinking from his water bowl. I refill it and wash it out regularly enough. But still he refuses. Instead, he hovers outside the tub when I shower, just waiting for me to finish so he can drink from any puddles left behind.
Then the faucet started dripping. Leaking, really. I'm sure we've wasted rivers of water. We tried to get it fixed, but it just kept happening. The kitty, meanwhile, never looked so happy, his wet furry forehead a sure sign he'd been lapping away blissfully.
I tried to look the other way and block images of all the bathtubs we must have filled by now with perfectly clean, useful drinking water - water many in this world would die for. And no doubt have. But I became a slave to his meows. We'd even instruct cat sitters to leave the bathroom door open for him so he could access his ever-fresh water source. I knew they'd look at us funny. But I did it anyway. Oh, the shame.
Occasionally, I would turn to my boyfriend and say feebly, "You should tighten those taps." To which he'd respond, "But the cat ." And that was that. I'd drop it.
But now, with a new year ahead, haunted by reports that progress on pollution is a myth, Canadians everywhere failing the One-Tonne Challenge and our country making an eco footprint the size of five planets, I swear I can hear the drip of that damn faucet from my desk - a good 6 K from home.
Now, when my cat rubs his little (OK, not so little) head up against me (he's husky, OK? not fat) looking for some good lovin', I've stopped thinking, "Look how cute you are, you wet gremlin you" and started thinking, "What a shitty mom I am - blaming you for my environmental negligence."
So this new year I resolve to stop the insanity. I vow to turn off the taps. I'll buy the damn $50 fresh-water feline fountain if I have to. Oh, but that uses electricity. Can't leave that on all day either. OK, whatever - the cat will just have to learn to drink like a normal cat. From the toilet.