I miss the sounds of the outdoors.
Ninety-degree days and still, sticky evenings have forced us to close up the windows and turn on the air--not so much for the cooling, but the relief from humidity.
Beyond the glass, the sky hums with cicada song.
I’ve set up a nursery for the orphaned kittens in our bathroom. It’s a small space, easy to clean, and relatively quiet.
Their window I’ve left open—one remaining tie to their previous lives in the barn. They sleep beneath it, a pile of heads and tails with the nighttime sounds—familiarity in their changed world.
Already, they’ve become less frightened of me. They crawl and climb over my legs, tumbling and wrestling, chasing each other’s tails. And, even at this young age, their ravenous appetites empty plate after plate of food. I wash their faces and stroke their full bellies, clean their ears and behinds--like mama would.
But, try as I might, their mother I am not.
I watched her, Wednesday, return to the barn, and call them from beneath the lumber pile. Their immediate response to her barely perceptible voice, the perfect display of joy.
Dancing up to her, nuzzling close—she was their only need.
Twice since she’s been gone, I’ve seen it again—when a kitten accidentally begins to purr.
A barely perceptible sound that draws the others close.
And leaves them standing, looking lost, unable to find her.
It must be what they remember of her closeness.
A sound that meant she was near.
But, now, just seems confusing.