Sunday, February 17, 2019

Snowy Sunday

Stop Sign, the cat who has been hanging out at the farmette, on and off, ever since she was a kitten, the one who this winter had a litter of her own and brought two of her kittens to the farmette's garage less than a month ago, had disappeared yesterday, along with her two babes (who were more like adolescents by now). We found blood in the garage and expected the worst.

Near midnight, I went out for the thousandth time in search of any traces of a cat and in calling her name, I saw Stop Sign coming toward me from the direction of the barn. I took food to the barn and left it there. I checked a half hour later and saw that she had eaten a chunk of it. By then, she had disappeared once more into the night.

Today, I am up early. The snow is coming down hard and I find myself shoveling the walkway to the farmhouse door many times. All day long -- snow falls, Nina shovels. Light, pretty snow, but it's a misleading loveliness: we still have a horrible thick layer of ice underneath. Walking is very tricky: you never know if and when you'll slide over a solid pane of ice.

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As I step outside, I look up and there is Stop Sign again. She is coming out of the garage. I give her more food and then I go down to take care of the cheepers. As I walk back to the garage, I hear the saddest cat wails coming from within. Snowdrop is besides herself with grief. Her two babes are gone and they aren't coming back and she knows it. And now I know it too: two young cats, gone.

I stay in the garage and talk to Stop Sign for a long long while. She wont let either of us come too close: she trusts us only to a point. You want to hold her, comfort her, but she wont let you. It's not what she is used to. She straddles that blurry line between feral and domesticated. She is, in so many ways neither.  She knows us, relies on us for food, hangs out near us when the sun is out and we're working the garden. But she is at this point a creature of the wild. We don't know if she'll ever cross over toward domesticity. My guess is that she'll always come and go, but truthfully, I don't know. 

Breakfast. Ed does come down for it, but I spare him the photo. We're both treading gently with each other, not placing too many demands, not asking for too many favors.

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I do have a wonderful distraction today (and I have to say, I need it badly). Because her father is recovering from surgery, I bring Snowdrop to the farmhouse for the day. Her mom has a lot on her plate right now and Snowdrop loves having a long, unhurried day of play here.

And the snow keeps on falling...

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And the drive today is long and along the slippery roads...

Once I pull into the farmette driveway, I want nothing more than to check on Stop Sign and head inside. But Snowdrop has other ideas.

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She has this toy chicken. It's something to do with the movie Moana that has so thrilled her this past week. In any case, she wants to show the chicken to the cheepers and so we make our way to the barn.

I haven't told the little girl that Cupcake is no longer part of the pack. Nor have I told her about Dance and Jacket, the kittens. It's not that she doesn't understand hawks' (or was it an owl?) predatory behaviors. Too, she is familiar with violent death. She told me today (as part of one of her stories) that a super hero killed an evil thing and that it was a good thing because the evil thing was really really bad! (Where she got this is beyond me. When in doubt, point the finger at kids in school -- the source of all such wisdoms.) Still, I say nothing. I suppose I don't want any more sadness working its way into my day and so I put it all aside and she and I play...

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.... and eat lunch...

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... and read and tell stories until dusk draws near and it's time for me to pack her and a container of supper foods for the young family into the car and drive the whole sweet lot of them home.

And then I visit Stop Sign and talk to her some more, even as she is curled into a ball of sadness as she rests on the cardboard that was once a place of rest for the three of them, one on top of the other, in a beautiful display of kitten love.