The Long Road

I am already beginning to forget the monotonous journey that carried us and our miserable cat from Florida to Colorado.  By great good fortune our route threaded a path avoiding all the natural disasters occurring around us and we had pleasant weather as we wended our way past nondescript towns bordering the highway.  A few side trips would have relieved the tedium but deepened the cat’s misery, so we drove on, our spirits enlivened by an audio book that entertained and taught us more about Africa in general and the particular wonders and struggles of the Republic of Congo.

Nothing could be farther from the African jungle than our new hometown in Colorado.  Within a day of our arrival the temperatures tumbled to near freezing, and our removal van arrived heralded by sun, wind, rain, hail and snow!

The driving haze was quickly succeeded by the unpacking haze and the blizzard of packing paper, the blockade of boxes, yet before long our new home was taking shape and the paper and boxes dutifully recycled.

View of mountains with snow

There are many glories of living in the mountains; the clarity of the air, the drama of the clouds, the overtowering grandeur, so we were a little taken aback to hear that one of our town’s nicknames is “Poverty with a View”.

I strained my memory to recall the Arthur Miller play, A View from the Bridge, I read at school.  One of the characters reminisces about his beautiful hometown in Italy.  When pressed as to why he left, he says something to the effect of, “You can’t eat the view”. There have been vast changes in our new town over the last fifty years, rendering it no longer dependent on the railway and the mines but increasingly on outdoor adventure tourism.  We’ve already met several people who embrace the change and see it all as part of the exciting evolution of their town, but inevitably some are left behind and can no longer afford a comfortable life in a town they call their own.

Chris enjoys the surprise of living in a place he visited and loved as a child, a place that formed him more than he knew, and he revealed when we walked up to his old cabin, stepping cautiously through the snow.

My joys are nostalgic too. For the first time in thirty years I am witnessing spring as I knew it growing up in England, a slow spring – not a Rachel Carson,  “Silent Spring” – thank goodness.  Each day the new tender leaflets uncurl like fresh ferns, the pink white blossom as delicate as dandelion clocks floats in the air, new florets present pearlescent petals to the crisp breezes and every day, birds chirrup, crickets chatter and deer nuzzle all the gardens’ greenery!

As for the cat – he has his own “tail” to tell.

The Misery of the Cat

Having patrolled the lizards and languidly clawed at the palm tree, I strolled indoors for a little sustenance. The door slammed. Trapped!   With  a splash of water but no food!

All night I walked across their bladders, swished my tail up their noses, delicately pawed their eyelids. At last he got up and left me a morsel of food. My nose told me it was suspicious, but my belly clamored for it.

Encaged in a canvas carrier, I woke up to a nightmare.  Noise, vibration, alerting smells, churning air. It added up to a visit to the vets!  Yowling in protest I thought I might cause them to turn around, take me back to the familiar fleas and ticks of home. Hours later I thought I should conserve my voice, so I strained at the carrier until it lurched and tipped.  Exhausted, I ceded the first battle and took a nap.

Unhealthy polish and disinfectant smells awoke me. The unfamiliar room was cramped and dingy, but at least there was a bed to snuggle up on.  I washed vigorously making sure my fur and dander staked my claim.

At daybreak they proffered the tainted food.

I walked away.

Later she spread out a towel and started to roll me up.  A game – ha ha – I usually win these. But no, she forced something acrid between my jaws, massaged my windpipe until I swallowed.

I woke up to the nightmare again. This was a greater torture than the vets!

Caterwauling, squirming, tumbling the carrier, I thought they would have pity.  But they were relentless, driving ever further from all that’s familiar.

Another stand-off lost, another night in an antiseptic hotel.

She whipped the towel out in the morning, but I started to shred it before she could roll me up and trap my paws.  Delighted with this victory I didn’t notice as she poked a pill between my teeth.  I struggled with the bitter thing and then, I snored.

The nightmare became hell.  Unending infernal noises, smells and the jolts and screeches that jounced me, carrier and all, off the seat!  “Me out” I called again and again until finally they stopped and she took me on her lap. Terrifyingly, the world flew past my whiskers.  I was so scared my fur began to shed up her nose and in her eyes and down her cleavage.  What offense could I have committed to deserve this?  Too few mouse and bird presents maybe.  I made a note to be more attentive should I survive.

And there we were, a new house to explore, familiar furniture delivered and an outdoors world to bring to order. Purr!

Hmm – is that large creature a deer?  With horns?  Are those menacing birds vicious?

Perhaps they need me to curl up on their laps for a while before I protect my territory .


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