The infuriating thing about the internet is that it gives with one hand and takes away with the other. Every year when I start trying to find spring-themed wallpaper, I see. . . this cat. No, I mean THIS cat, this solemn-looking tabby-with-white cat with the unusual grey scarf (and who puts a scarf on their cat?). I thought I was imagining things at first, but then I found more and more shots - well, five of them, but five shots of what is obviously the same cat in the same cherry tree.
OK then - who took these, when, and where? Ever since the devouring dragon of Pinterest, the provenance of things has become impossibly muddy. It seems anyone can post anything at any time, with no restrictions whatsoever. There is no such thing as asking permission. It's a free-for-all. Only the odd time do I find a restricted site where things can't be downloaded or copied. But why aren't there more? If some people can do it, why don't all of them, or at least real photographers and artists?
I'd like to know who this kitty is, if he's alive still, if he's from Japan or Victoria or wherever-else cherry trees flourish in the spring, but I'll never know. If I try to go on TinEye or Google Reverse Images, all I get are endless replications of the same image, all different sizes and under different names from various websites. So they've been borrowed and swapped and passed around over and over and over again, so many times that the origin is lost forever.
But it intrigues me. Here is this cat, this unknown cat who shows up on wallpaper everywhere, who is sort of famous in his own way (or her own way), even though s/he doesn't have a name or a location or an owner, or even a photographer. It's the Mystery Cat. The Hidden Paw, like in the poem.
So now I spend quite a bit of time trying to find a sixth picture. There may be one, or even more. It seems to me I remember more than five, from my other searches. Damn. Another obsession - I thought I had come to the end of them.