Interestingly enough, my blast-from-the-past story for today is synonymous with how I’ve been of late-in the shadows. Life has been busy as usual, but I have to admit, my lack of social media presence has been nothing short of just simple lack of organization and motivation. I’m one of these people that, if I have a lot on my plate, I tend to stare at the plate and try to figure out what to do first. Whatever screams at me the loudest is usually what gets my attention. Writing tends to be the quiet student in the classroom. It wants attention, but the writer is distracted. I think there is an element of fear as well. A fear of failing. Yet, if I never tackle keeping up with blogging and social media then it is certain to fail.
Here’s to one blog post per week, reading and commenting on two blogs a day, and following a new blog once a week. I think I can do that. Now back to the plate and the priority I will make most important for today. I hope you enjoy!
My first attempt at capturing the skinny, black and gray tabby cat was with food, a cardboard box and my own two hands. She took to the food quite readily, but when I picked her up with my bare hands and tried to put her into the box, she let me know very quickly that that was unacceptable. I walked away from her dilapidated barn home with two bloody streaks down my left arm. I was going to have to be a bit sneakier.
It took a while for her to trust me again but, as I knew it would, hunger eventually overcame her fear. This time, I brought a cat carrier to the barn, set it on the ground just outside the entrance, placed some food in the carrier and left the door open. I sat and watched. For three days I repeated this pattern until she, unhesitatingly, went in and out of the carrier to eat.
Day four, I squatted a short distance from the carrier. She approached it, sniffed a moment, then went inside. Stealthily and quietly, I reached for the carrier door. As soon as the latch was in my fingers, I swung the door rapidly into its closed position. Like lightning, she whipped around and began to frantically claw at the door, but I had already snapped the latch into place.
The five-minute walk down the driveway to my home was serenaded with yowls, hisses and frantic clawing. No amount of talking could settle the girl; she was mad. I really couldn’t blame her. I set the carrier down on the porch and called for the kids to come see the new cat. Eagerly, they bounded down the stairs, sat beside the carrier and stared at her. She stared back; her pupils large with fright.
“What should we name her?” I asked the kids. My daughter suggested a name, I came up with a couple, but none of them seemed right. Then my son spoke up.
“Let’s name her Shadow,” he said.
“Why Shadow?” I asked.
“Because she looks like a shadow with her gray and black colors,” he replied.
Somehow, the name seemed perfect. Skinny, gray and black Shadow became a forced new member of our home.
Time would reveal the significance of her name.
She was the typical cat story-unwanted female dropped off and left to fend for herself. She wasn’t completely wild; I could tell she had enjoyed companionship with people before, but it took a while for her to relax.
Time also revealed that she was pregnant. Five kittens and a spay later, we finally settled into a routine with Shadow. After the birth of the kittens and her surgery, she became a loving, loyal family member and she had a unique way of showing it- she followed me like a dog. No matter where I went, she was right behind me. Pitiful meows greeted me if I was too far ahead for her liking. When I paused, little Shadow would come running in her eagerness to be close by my side again.
Our hearts knitted together tighter and tighter as each month passed. Then the unfortunate happened; she disappeared.
Vacation time came and plans were made for a neighbor friend to come over twice a day to feed Shadow. Partway through the vacation, I texted to see how she was doing. All was well. I relaxed and told myself that Shadow was a tough girl and she was going to be okay.
Five days later, we arrived home and as soon as the vehicle stopped, I hopped out and began calling Shadow. I was puzzled when no response came, so I called louder. Still no answer. I texted the neighbor. What she told me shocked and upset me. She had brought her dog with her and as soon as the dog saw the cat, she lunged, yanking the leash out of her owner’s hand. Shadow, terrified at the sight of a dog lunging at her, flew up the closest tree. The neighbor lady took the dog back home, came back and attempted to coax Shadow down from the tree, but she would not. The lady left, thinking that Shadow would eventually come down and eat.
But she never did come eat and when we arrived home, she wasn’t up the tree. She left no trace of her whereabouts. I called and called for her the rest of the day, but no answer. Tears streamed down my cheeks as I realized that I might never see her again.
One week passed by and still no Shadow. Each night I faithfully called her. As the next week rolled around, I began to give up. We were surrounded by woods. Very likely a coyote had caught her, or she was too scared to come back.
Late the second week, I was busily making dinner when the thought to call Shadow again, came to my mind. I brushed the thought aside and told myself I was being silly. It had been two weeks, there was no way she could be anywhere close. Besides, we had lost a cat before and our neighbor had as well. What made me think that it would be different with Shadow? But the thought persisted. I descended the stairs and exited the front door.
It was nighttime and darkness cloaked the woods around me. Anything outside of the glow of the outdoor light was imperceptible to my unadjusted eyes. I called. No answer. I called again; no answer. I argued with myself that this was ridiculous; I needed to just go back inside, but I could not move. I stood there, still trying to see into the darkness, hoping that what I had been impressed to do was not a figment of my imagination.
I mustered up one more effort to call for Shadow as loudly as I could. As the echoes of my voice faded into the darkness, another sound greeted my ears. Ever so faintly, the obvious meow of a cat pierced through the quietness. Eagerly, I called Shadow’s name again. Closer the answering meow came. My eyes filled with tears and I began to tremble all over. I called the third time, my voice quivering. The nagging doubts still hung around, suggesting that maybe it was another cat but, somehow, I knew it wasn’t. The third reply came loud and clear. Looking eagerly in the direction of the meow, I spotted a movement just outside the glow of the light. All doubts fled away as out of the shadows of the woods and into the circle of light came my little Shadow. Over and over I called her name and just as many times she responded eagerly, both of our voices fraught with emotion. Her little legs didn’t seem quite long enough to get her to me as quickly as we both wanted, but soon, her starved little black and gray body was in my lap. She rubbed against my hands and purred loudly as I stroked her dull fur.
Out of the shadows, my Shadow had come, eager to be home and by my side.