Sky (written 2005)
There is a half-grown stray cat 60 feet up a pine tree just behind our house. Some possibly food related scuffle with a jay or squirrel and our own cat popping out of bed for his breakfast frightened him and he climbed the tree without thinking. Straight up. We've named him/her “Sky” though we've only seen him by tipping our heads back and straining our eyes.
We hear him cry. He's been up there 3 days. He won't respond to our pleas to come down. We can't reach him, not even close, with our tallest ladder. We put tuna on the ground and our cat ate it. We put tuna at the top of the ladder and our cat climbed up, ate it and fell. He landed well, unhurt. He doesn't think before acting. He's never terrified it seems.
Sky didn't think when he was climbing but he's thinking now and he's frozen into place up there. And our fire department says they don't have the equipment to rescue him. And last night it snowed.
When I think of how cold and hungry and miserable he must be, I'm a little overwhelmed with my helplessness. Something happens. That's all. A stray cat went up one of our pines and we don't know how to help him down. That's all.
It's a day later and the Sky has fallen...or climbed down or something and disappeared. And it turns out we now can see how much we'd all invested emotionally in his rescue and hoping he'd become part of our family. More than hoping, I guess. Expecting that would be the case. But things happen. And when he/she finally came down, we weren't around and he must have hit the ground running. Far from here now. And there's something I want to say about this. Something about naming.
How we try to pin things down. Make them understandable, keep them in our control. How laying claim allows us to imagine that we will have something to say about the destiny of that which we name. Whether it's a cat in a tree, our own children, the job we want, the place we live. But in fact it's all in motion, isn't it, and we're in there too. So it's more like billiard balls passing on a table. Odd for one billiard ball to think it has any control over another. They influence each other. Ricocheting. Meeting for split seconds and moving apart. That's all.
I don't know where I'm going with this. It just seemed I was so vastly disappointed when Sky was suddenly not there. Relieved but disappointed. And I saw I'd already imagined a future with him/her in it, already imagined stroking the tigery head and calming him after his descent. Winning his affection. But he's gone. And, as my son said, “that sucks!”