Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Link is Broken

Two weeks ago, I took this picture of a happy Nicholas, sitting in the porch of the big chickenhouse where he loved to look for mice. He would follow me on my chores as he followed us while we walked Oscar the Min Pin in Leavenworth when we first moved back, when he would follow us down the alley and out onto Esplanade, running behind us on the curb and laying down under the park bench when we sat to watch the river. When we stood up to go home, up would come Nick, and follow us back. When we moved to this farm, it was like he remembered the old farm, where he had grown up with me, and he couldn't wait to investigate all the buildings and the pasture and grounds. Yes, he did kill some wild birds, but he was an indoor outdoor cat out here in the country. Twice we thought we had lost him, but we know now that Oscar was keeping him away from the house. After Oscar was gone, Nick felt safe to approach us again, and I was so glad to find him again. I had heard him night after night, calling to me, until I thought maybe I was losing it, but he WAS out there.

On the first he did not come to me when I called him from the porch, and Keith found him curled in a deck chair, and carried him in. Two days at Dr. Tom's that week found only that he had a virus, and he was sent home with medication. He lost weight and stopped eating, and finally, drinking. The last night he dragged himself up between us, and gave two short yowls... when I turned the light on, I thought he was gone. I stroked him and talked to him, and cried. Then, at five, he dragged himself off the bed. I left work that morning and came home to take him back to Dr. Tom, where I held him until he went to sleep peacefully.
He was the last of my beloved pets from my "old" pre-married life, at my old farm. They are all gone now, Petey, Ashley, Libby, Stealth, the Elmos, Nicholas the Third and now Nicholas the Fourth. All the chickens and ducks that lived happily there, and the gardens and lovely rolling meadow in the pasture. He is buried here under Beau's tree in the pasture, in a little red box, and the coyotes won't be able to find him. He can look down on the beautiful ponds at the foot of the pasture, and in the summer the mulberry tree will shade him. We are going to plant wildflowers on his resting place, but his real resting place is in my heart.

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