Friday, November 21, 2008

Footprints

This entry is an update to a ongoing story recorded here.

Perhaps we were seeing a bit of our future, that Sunday afternoon in June, working in the cool, dimly lit interior of the big, old barn. For, our first inkling of another’s presence with us, was discovering tiny footprints captured in one of the small, square slabs of concrete, hand-mixed and left to cure, undisturbed, on the dirt floor.
Preserved in stone.

The footprints, alone, meant nothing. Raccoons, opossums, even woodchucks wandered through its drafty, dark spaces regularly. And skunks often scented the summer nights’ air. But these were different—of a small, young animal’s tentative first steps, alone.

In the days that followed, we caught only shadowy glimpses of the five young kittens hidden beneath the old wooden floor boards where Mama left them to sleep as she wandered the nearby fields for what little she could find.
How she had come to be here, tattered and worn, we could only imagine.
But clearly, of her fading strength, to her young she had given all.
Mama’s kittens became ours that Thursday.
Country roads are not gentle, nor patient with those who linger at the edge.
And so our life with kittens began.

Max, bold and black.
Alexander, kind and gray.
Olivia, tender and disheveled.
Lucy, shy and lovely.
George, spirited and wearing stripes. (adopted)

Max

Alexander

Olivia

Lucy


In several days, we will pass the 6-month mark.
And, of the original five, four kittens remain.

Large, magnificent animals now, with long ruffs and fur-covered toes,
heavy coats and loving spirits,
like none I have ever known.

They live upstairs now, in the house, with us, and Lily, who arrived a year earlier. Together, they race, feather-duster tails held high, the length of our long hallways.
And tumble in a ball of fur, somersaulting across the floor.

Each morning, I’m woken by loving licks of 4 warm, raspy tongues.
Each night, tucked in securely beneath 4 heavy bodies, purring.

Max

Alexander

Olivia

Lucy


Outside the back door, is a small square of concrete, inscribed with several small footprints that catch and hold the morning light.
Footprints that look as though the one who left them was just passing through.
Though those that know the story,
know better.


Safe, at home, they are.
Here.

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44 comments:

Dana and Daisy said...

Oh my gosh those kitties were and still are adorable. It reminds me of the day I brought Daisy home and she fit inside my zipped up vest right next to my heart!

Who could not love kitties when they are little like their baby pics? They are so precious! The only thing better is a warm and soft puppy!

Leslie: said...

Ah, what a lovely story and they are all SO cute! I love Lucy's green eyes! :D

Kallen305 said...

Bless you for saving those kittens. They are precious! I rescued 5 kittens myself who are now a year so I know how crazy they can be.

I had a rough day at work today and this has put the first smile on my face today. Thanks!

SLW said...

This is marvelous, Nina. What a beautiful story for those 4 wondrous faces... Your Lucy looks like my Gracie, and I've had cats reminiscent of Olivia, but never any quite like Max and Alexander. I too sleep under "heavy bodies purring..."

Bless you for taking them in and for caring.

possumlady said...

Oh I've been secretly waiting for a kitty update! They are all gorgeous! I'm sure you are like me in that life at home is never dull with that many paws racing through the house!

I also get to turn the heat down very low at night due to all my "furry hot water bottles" in bed with me.

dAwN said...

what a perfectly wonderful story...your kitties are very lucky that their momma left them with you.

Wren said...

They are beautiful, every one.

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

Oh! I've got tears in my eyes and throat! Thank you for rescuing those orphan kittens, and for making a warm home for four beautiful cats! {{Hugs}}

bobbie said...

They are so beautiful. Each one seems to have his/her own personality. I'm glad they found such a happy home.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Those lucky kitties. Thanks for the update. They are such beautiful animals and you take such marvelous portraits Nina. I thought Chet Baker never looked so good too.

Cicero Sings said...

Vibrations are good for us ... humming helps keep the nasal passages clear. It is said, cats rarely suffer from hip dysplasia, arthritis, joint disease, bone cancer, or breathing problems because they purrr .... I wonder if they rumble away on you that there is secondary effects?

Deborah Godin said...

Oh, what a wonderful story and maybe the hint of a lump in my throat to go with it! I have 2 rescue cats and two from a friend, so I know about the joys of cat cuddles, and ducking for dear life when they all get "the rips" at sweet little souls! Love the then and now photos along with those dear tiny prints!

KGMom said...

Nina--oh hurray hurray hurray--I have wondered how these kitties are. And the adopted one went where?

Love them all--I would love such a foursome in my house.

TSannie said...

Just lovely!

nina said...

Donna--the adopted one was taken by my older daughter and her husband. (I can visit him from time to time!)

NCmountainwoman said...

Thank you so much for the update. They have grown into adorable cats. How lucky they are!

Mel said...

They are so cute!!
They seem to have each a particular personality.

KGMom said...

Nina--oh good. At least he is still in "the family."

We had a cat for 15 + years that came from a co-worker of mine. The mother cat came to my friend's window one rainy night, promptly crawled under her bed and birthed kittens. So, my friend said--oh just come over and look at them. Yeah, right. I did, with my daughter. We picked out one that we ended up naming Cleo. She was such a sweetie. When she died a couple of years ago, I went right off to the Humane Society to get another cat. We always have at least two cats in the house.

Toni said...

Adorable! I went back and read your previous posts on the kittens. My heart sings knowing you kept them.

Old Lady Lincoln said...

What a wonderful story. It's good they found your place.

We now have one cat living with us, he came with out Daughter and Granddaughter when they moved back home for a while. I'm afraid when they do find a place of their own again, they won't be allowed to have a pet, so I have a feeling Grandma and Grandpa will be the new owners of Baby Kitty. That's a name the granddaughter gave him, he's a big black cat, weighs about 15 pounds, Baby Kitty sounds funny, but he knows that name so he's stuck with it. LOL

Have a terrific week-end.

Daisy Cat said...

All the cats are adorable, but Lucy is just stunning - her eyes are amazing. They must keep you on your toes!

Heather said...

What wonderful-looking cats you have there Nina. I so miss our cats. We've lost several over the years, and had to give our last cat to another home several months ago because my allergies and asthma just couldn't handle it anymore. I terribly miss having feline energy around the house. Thanks for sharing your beauties with us!

Nikki-ann said...

Awww... they're soo cute! Lucy reminds me a bit of my Leo. :)

Beverly said...

Criminy, Nina…you have flooded my face in tears (and I’m not a crier, but I did rescue a litter of kittens from a dumpster once (in an electrical storm) only to watch them all flee…tails straight up and eyes still blue…as I released the last little body, clawing and hissing in their fear.) I was only able to fine a single kitten later, who became my companion for several years. Apparently I still miss her.

I’m quite sure you know how much people enjoy your stories and your grace…it was lovely to get a peek of you at Julie’s blog with that wonderful little doggie.

I remember your interest in adopting out the babies, after the mama left so suddenly. It is quite a commitment to save the five little lives, but to invite them into your home and your life is nothing short of spectacular. I’m tickled you got some help from your daughter. What a lucky girl she must be.

Dana and Daisy said...

Nina, I am having fun seeing the blogs of your commentators. So much in common.

I never know quite what to do with awards. I don't like to pass on obligations, yet I don't want to deprive anyone of a much deserved appreciation.

So, without any obligation to continue or post the award, I have given you a place of honor in my post today. I hope you are encouraged by it.

Dana

babooshka said...

Adorable Kittens. You even had be blubbing and I'm no blubber. I see mr linky is not coperating again

Rambling Woods said...

You are such a great story teller Nina...the cats are beautiful..

New Rambling Woods Site

scienceguy288 said...

What wonderful kittens. Unfortunatley, mine is not doing too well. Looks like he may not pull through this illness he has, but I shall try to keep my head up.

RuthieJ said...

What cute kitties! I'm glad you have given them such a good home Nina.

dowhatyoulove said...

What a great way to express their story. Its like a scrapbook blog entry.

letspaintnature.com said...

How adorable!!! I think Lucy is my favorite :)

Bernie Krausse said...

Nice series of cat and kitten photos. I enjoyed your posts and your assortment of Nature Narratives.

Jedediah said...

That is a beautiful post and lovely pictures.

The Tile Lady said...

Such beautiful cats! And how fortunate for them that you took them all in...having a number of cats can be difficult. But I also know how much they can enrich your life! They look like priceless friendships with round saucer eyes!

T.R. said...

What a beautiful story. I am certain your compassion and generosity in adopting these little furry gifts from the barn will reward you immensely time and again.

Mary said...

Nina,

It is my pleasure to meet your feline friends. They are just LOVELY.

Cat antics are the best entertainment.

Mary

nina said...

Scienceguy--sorry to hear about your kitty.
Cats make such nice companions--I know you must feel very concerned for him.
Kittens can be surprisingly resilient--maybe yours will improve soon.
Hope so!

Indrani said...

Lovely story! Nice portraits of your kitties, how they have grown and each seems to have a character.

She sure is strange! said...

So glad you've let us know where they are! I had a hunch some would stay with you! They are absolutely beautiful and remind me of cats we've shared our lives with.

Our house wouldn't be a home without at least 4 cats(now we have 6). When our Chester died in August of 2007 we didn't add a new baby but when our Soshie died last December we got two(siblings) within a month. Several weeks ago we added a rescued bobtailed kitten, Tallulah, who was dumped in the country with her mom. The mom was chased away by a dog but the kitty was too young to run. We got her at about 5-6 weeks and she's the delight of our lives!

Thanks again for the update!

Molly

The Zen Birdfeeder said...

All those kitties are way too cute! Max looks like a morph between my old cat Jess (may she rest in peace) and my current cat Spud.
Great pix!

Ladynred said...

These are all beautiful cats.

Julie Zickefoose said...

Just stunning photos. I'm sorry I didn't get to meet the kittehs when Baker and I visited. I don't think it would have gone very well, knowing him. Your photos capture something of each one's soul, and how lovely to have their baby footprints captured forever.

Greyscale Territory said...

What a wonderful story! And wow are those kittens stunningly beautiful (and very individual beauty at that!) I so love Olivia's rustic markings!

Lakshmi said...

adorable ..though I must say that it took me a while to like cats