|One of the lovely prayer gardens on the Sacred Path (Photo Credit: deAnn Roe)|
I had walked the well-groomed, half-mile trail that runs along the perimeter of our church’s property line, when it was newly opened last fall. I was looking forward to a quiet time of reflection, seeing what surprises the spring season would have to offer.
I heard an unfamiliar sound, as I approached the “Sacred Path”. Imagine my surprise, when I rounded the corner and learned that the source of the noise was a fire truck stationed in the church’s front parking lot. It had its’ levelers stretched out and the truck was suspended with none of the tires touching the ground. The boom was fully extended with two firefighters in the bucket. There wasn’t any smoke, but a small group had gathered and all eyes were on the wooded hedgerow that separated the path from the property lines of the adjoining farm land.
Selfishly, I was annoyed that my peaceful stroll was spoiled. I had already visited two of the reflective gardens, and nearing the third was putting me ever closer to the unexpected scene. Since many of the onlookers were young people in their mid teens, I thought that perhaps they were a group of junior firefighters on learning maneuvers. My curiosity drove me on.
As I was passing through the midst of the spectators, I finally saw what all the commotion was about and it rekindled a memory from long ago. Now I could see the young man in his firefighter garb perched precariously on the top rung. Even at full extension of the towering ladder, the terrorized cat was several feet out of his reach and wanted nothing to do with the rescuer’s desire to help him.
I decided to join the audience when I finished my walk. We watched as the frightened cat climbed as high as the fragile limbs would allow. He didn’t stay high and dry for long, before the boom was employed once again. This time the firefighters were equipped with a medium sized tank of water and proceeded to “encourage” the cat to head down the tree. This spraying technique worked well until the water ran out and back up he went, to an even more dangerous height. I’m sure if we could have interpreted his protest, we would have heard many colorful words aimed at his rescuers. I felt sorry for the cat as I headed home, but I had to smile as I recalled my own “up a tree” cat story.
|Bigfoot look-alike Photo Credit: mainecooncatpictures.com|
Bigfoot was a gorgeous Maine Coon Cat and looked exactly like the photograph I posted here. One day, a neighbor’s dog came onto our property and Bigfoot wasted no time as she scrambled up one of the gigantic poplar trees to evade the intruder. In her panic she traveled to great heights to feel safe. Unfortunately for her, the lowest limbs were located at a dizzying elevation.
Bigfoot had two extra toes on each foot, and they turned out to be a great disadvantage whenever she attempted to escape her hazardous surroundings. Each time she would try to descend, she would start to slip and would scurry to an increasingly more dangerous altitude. It was very difficult to be a witness and have to watch helplessly as my beloved kitty was stuck in such a terrible situation.
The fire department couldn’t help because the sizable creek in my front yard didn’t allow their vehicle to get close enough. A courageous friend attempted to help by using pole climbers but wasn’t successful. So all I could do was pray and wait... and wait...and wait! The days went by and Bigfoot encountered many extremes of weather, since it was early winter. In addition to no food or water, she faced wind and rain storms and a snow shower. And I prayed and waited some more...eight days in all! I was outside when she was finally weakened enough that she fell out of the tree. I heard the thump. I have to confess that my faith was small, and I worried that she wouldn't survive such a fall. I ran to the base of the tree and she was nowhere in sight. I searched frantically and finally found her hiding under a woodpile nearby. She was stunned and shaky, but she was so happy to be in my arms. I thanked God for His mercy, in spite of my flimsy faith.
This story had an even happier ending than I expected, because prior to her experience, my beautiful Bigfoot had a very indifferent, “just feed me and leave me alone” kind of personality. However, her eight days of isolation and exposure had quite the transforming effect on my furry miss. Let’s just say that she had a life-altering, attitude adjustment, and her change of heart created the sweetest and warmest disposition I could ever have hoped for. She was forever changed by her memorable eight days away from home and was more than happy to be my best buddy after that.
A few days later, I asked about the cat at the church property, and I learned that the fire department gave up after five and a half hours of rescue efforts. After two days, a local tree service company was called on the scene and the cat was returned safely to the ground, but not before biting his hero, who is most likely facing a painful series of rabies shots as a reward for his courage and kindness. How I hate ending this story on such an unpleasant note!