Feral

 

©manwithashadow

©manwithashadow

 

He’s white. Like snow. A neighbor calls him Casper. Though he moves like a small ghost, slinking through the vineyards, he’s not friendly. Maybe he was once, but life has dealt him a weak hand, and he has to play it where it lays.

Like any good hunter he’s familiar with every tree, and rock, every fox den, and squirrel drey in his travel radius. He has his landmarks. I see him resting by the cairn of flat rocks my niece constructed last summer. She buried a treasure, the feather of a blue jay. The cairn marks the spot. Out of the path of the vineyard tractors I imagine it staying in place until she’s grown. She’ll forget it ever existed. Until one year while she is in the midst of a life-altering decision, I’ll lead her to it. Seeing it again will flood her with memories, all those carefree days of childhood. Miraculously, her decision will be made clear. These things happen.

By then, by the time she has set aside her stuffed animals, and taken on the demands of adulthood, the white feral cat will be long gone from his hunting grounds. But, she will remember him. She’ll remember how we tried to adopt him, how we left him offerings of food, how we spoke soothingly hoping to coax him to come near. But, he was too far gone, his fear of humans too pronounced.

in the wild
the hunter and the hunted
memories of moonlight

——————————————

Bjorn at dverse asks us to write a haibun, and Hamish Gunn asks the same every week…

Thanks for reading!

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16 thoughts on “Feral

  1. Oh how those so-called lesser beings have a more acute realization of deceit than you or I..
    Cats are so unforgiving – perhaps they are smarter than you or i?
    Anna :o]

  2. you can not take the wild out of the cat…my cat is a hunter as well…comes home with scars and such…i am glad that it helped her make that decision, when the time was needed….

  3. This story is nicely layered… “in the midst of a life-altering decision, I’ll lead her to it. Seeing it again will flood her with memories, all those carefree days of childhood. Miraculously, her decision will be made clear. These things happen.” Love how now my mind lingers on the girl’s future and this lesson you have waiting for her. VERY nicely done

  4. Oh how I have missed your prose Steph, this is so layered and well written, containing two stories, looking backward and forward in time.. And your haiku to top it of.. This is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you so much.

  5. When I had the health to hike in the forest, or God help me, hunt, I recall finding feral cats several times. It always seemed to incongruous to see a tabby pussy cat gone totally wild; but on the plus side, the cat is one of the only domesticated animals that can survive in the wild; their feline instincts always close to the surface. As Bjorn wrote, this is a perfect haibun, & terrific haiku.

  6. Beautifully descriptive. Through your words I feel I have gotten to know this Casper. I was sad when you mentioned that he was too far gone to be able to live with humans, that he would forever be feral. A very sensitive piece.

  7. Steph this is a benchmark and is relatable to each and every reader. Sometimes I think nothing beats good writing, for the way it reaches both intellect and emotion. One simply cannot read this once only. A sublime piece, enriching on a few levels. It is amazing what great writing does to the reader, and the individual emotions tucked in there are a joy to discover and think about. Humbling.

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