Saturday, September 26, 2009

What We Found

It was getting near sunset this evening when I told Allen I was going to walk the trails in our field. He'd just taken the mower down there and they were fresh-cut. He decided to come along and so did the dogs.

About a third of the way down, we heard Uno, one of our cats wailing, trying to find us. We stopped and called to him and he came bounding to us through the weeds. He's just a beautiful black and white cat. He was just a kitten when we first moved here. We used to walk the field then, too, with his mother, an all black cat, and other strays that we adopted.

I picked Uno up and carried him, which is what he wanted. He frequently follows us to the mailbox for the same purpose. He will keep cutting in front of us until we give him a ride back to the house. He brother, Dozer, was like this, too.

Allen used to pick Dozer up and put him inside the hood of his jacket and carry him that way. Dozer has been dead a long time. He was killed out on our highway. So was their brother, Spotty. Uno and Stinky (his sister) are the only two left of a once-thriving family of cats.

The field is so beautiful right now. The white of the Queen Anne's lace has given way to yellows and purples. Once in a while, during our walk in the field, I'd have to shift Uno from one arm to another, as he's a pretty heavy cat. His claws would dig into me because he thought I was going to put him down. He didn't want that.

We were on the last leg of the trail when I looked down and saw something white, a skull. It was recently cracked, probably by the mower wheel. "What is it?" I asked Allen. But as soon as he turned it over, I knew.

"It's a cat," he said.

Two of ours had disappeared this summer.

Uno jumped from my arms and smelled the skull. Then he sat there next to it, looking. We started walking again but he stayed there. I turned frequently to look back at him. Each time I looked, I saw him sitting completely still, just looking the skull.

One of the cats that disappeared this summer was his mother.


emmapeelDallas said...

This is a beautiful post, Theresa. Years ago, we had two cats on whom we doted. One night one of them was hit by a car and killed, and we buried him in our back yard. For weeks afterward, whenever we let him outside, his partner would go straight to the spot where we'd buried his buddy, and sit mournfully on his grave, his front paws crossed as he sat there. Animals mourn, just as we do.

Magyar said...

There was never a thought in my sallow mind... that animals didn't have that sense... that 'ken of kin;' this feeling is so well, and simply painted here. _m

Erin said...

This is a beautiful post, Theresa. And the last sentence literally gave me goosebumps. Animals are amazing.



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"I was no better than dust, yet you cannot replace me. . . Take the soft dust in your hand--does it stir: does it sing? Has it lips and a heart? Does it open its eyes to the sun? Does it run, does it dream, does it burn with a secret, or tremble In terror of death? Or ache with tremendous decisions?. . ." --Conrad Aiken


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The Secret of Hurricanes : That article in the Waterville Scout said it was Shake- spearean, all that fatalism that guides the Kennedys' lives. The likelihood of untimely death. Recently, another one died in his prime, John-John in an airplane. Not long before that, Bobby's boy. While playing football at high speeds on snow skis. Those Kennedys take some crazy chances. I prefer my own easy ways. Which isn't to say my life hasn't been Shake-spearean. By the time I was sixteen, my life was like the darkened stage at the end of Hamlet or Macbeth. All littered with corpses and treachery.

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