Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Solitary Hunter


I shot this photo on Valentine's Day, and it brought to mind a story I wrote last March. 
It fits like a glove.

I grew up with farm cats. 
Not just one or two or three. 

About half way through milking, I would go outside and yell at the top of my young lungs "Here Kitty, Kitty, Kitty!!!"

...and there would be literally 5 cats running up from one direction down the hill towards the barn, 4 cats from another direction and 10 from 2 other directions...coming on down for their share of milk in the bowls.

I never knew anything about spaying or neutering back then.  I was just a farm kid.  Farm cats bred and then disappeared mysteriously.  A hard life...all the way around.

I had names for them all.
And I loved them all.

Matt was one of them - a beautiful yellow striped tabby.

Matt was tame as farm cats go and I remember once we shared a nice sunny, warm afternoon in the interior of an upside down chicken coop on the hill... me reading... and him stretched out beside me.
 (yes, I did say upside down chicken coop....tornado took it up, flipped it over, and brought it right back down in the exact same space.)

Farm cats are a different breed.  Tame, but extremely independent. If you saw them at milking coming in for a milk chow down, so be it.  But I do not remember being anytime worried if I did not see one for a few days.
So I remember being very surprised how Matt just settled beside me that afternoon and was just a cat. So nice.  Wonderful, special memory.

Then again it is funny how when  cats are away from the familiar settings, they are their "real" cat selves.

I had gone for a walk....I walked alot around the farm.
One time I came upon Matt maybe a 1/2 mile away in a ravine.  I could see from the road his yellow shape hunkered down intently watching a certain spot in the tall grass.

I came up closer to where he was and he saw me.

His ears went back, he crouched down and was ready to spring away and I shouted to him..."Hi Matt!" 

It was so surprising to see him almost shake himself and kinda take another look at me and then ..all of a sudden his whole demeanor changed.

He recognized me.
The solitary hunter was gone.
Matt was back.