Monday, November 15, 2010

The Day in Front of Us

“Our strength is often composed of the weakness we're damned if we're going to show”
– Mignon McLaughlin


I feel her small body weighing down the cat carrier and a single tear wets my eyelashes. My gut instinct is to open the door and set her free. Instead I reach fingers through the mesh lattice, greeted by whiskers across skin and the sandpaper wetness of tongue licking finger tips. My heart sits in my throat suffocating.

Three months, why couldn’t she understand such a small feat? All she needed to do was settle down and allow herself to fit in, belong for a time. Incomprehensible hatred boils to the surface. How dare she make me an insignificant and unworthy part of her life? The tears come unbidden and I’m ashamed at this emotional outburst. This was never about me.

Then again, I made this about me refusing to see the warning signs: A mind unhinged – from one extreme to another, tinged with sharp hostility, swayed to an impassionate demand for attention in the next heartbeat. Nutmeg’s cruel, greedy possessiveness pushed all away, so none may enter her world – the imbalance to her wanton attention seeking; the merry-go-round encapsulating my summer and providing this moment of introspective abuse.

Standing on the porch a chill permeates the morning: The kind of cold that seeps deep and hardens sore muscles and awakens evening’s longing for warmth in the dusty hues of sundown and sets the night’s hoarfrost glinting in indigo darkness. It’s the last kiss of autumn and promise of snow in the wintry wind across the horizon. The kind of cold warning – time had gotten away from me and I failed this small creature encased in the cat carrier.

She can’t be an inside cat, nor outside for that matter, acting like a dog on attack guard whenever another warm body should approach. I hate again, not her, rather the ignorant excuses of humanity responsible for abandoning her. For there is where it must have began, this unhinging of a mind, this need to possess an enclosed porch where she guarded food and refuge alike from all but her.

With winter approaching, there will be others seeking nourishment and warmth. What cost one soul, for many? Damn the decision, damn the heart that beats in me, and damn the mind which acknowledges I’m making the right decision.

Three days ago I turned Nutmeg over to a shelter we work with. I don’t know anything from the moment she left my home. Somewhere inside of me, I want…I need to be disillusioned and believe someone will notice her wild, mischievous spirit and take her home to a quiet existence of solitary, undivided love. Either way, I don’t want to know. I don’t think my heart can take knowing.

Yesterday, the porch was filled with three warm bodies, happy for the attention, seeking sustenance and shelter against the bitter wind and hard ground. Today, I caught sight of dirty white fur peeking through the trees. More will come, but I’ll forever question this simmering hatred brewed beneath the exterior of my heart and wonder how long before I harden.

Life is a mixture of hope and disbelief, compassion and anger, compromise and willful stubbornness. Without guarantees we blunder our way forward and question our very existence. Every once in a while we get a glimpse, a sampling of a sure thing and hold on for dear life. My writing is that for me, without which I wouldn’t be able to immortalize a cat named Nutmeg. At least as a writer I can write my emotions into words.

I don’t have all the answers, nobody does. I can keep learning and trying till I’m almost there, close to perfect – nothing is ever perfect. So take the day, the task in front of you and find the heart of it. Therein lays the beauty of a life…yours and mine.

[For Nutmeg’s original introduction into my life, go here --> Hysteria .]

Picture from here


  1. Sometimes ... just sometimes ... the one has to give way - make way - for the many. It's hard. It never seems right. Until, that is, you see and understand the benefit to 'the many'.

  2. this is so sad. torn between the desire to nurture and protect the rest. and sometimes we can't have it both ways. sadly...

  3. Sigh. We have a very similar situation at our home.

  4. You did what had to be done, but you heart doesn't respond to language like that. Be well, friend.

  5. We live in such harsh realities and sometimes the damages are so great nothing can turn one around either human or 4legged. we do our best and can only love them far away. keep her in your heart. she will feel it no matter where you are...hugz to you!!!

  6. I felt so sad reading this ~ but of course you did the right thing ~ it must have been very hard for you ~ Ally x

  7. I like to believe there is a place for every heart, even Nutmeg. Often there are many stops on the backroads home. But we pick up something at each that sticks in our paw...a gain, sometimes a loss, but necessary as a compass to give direction. Every heart - a home.

  8. Indi
    I have a house full of nutmegs
    all damaged from abuse and abandonment.
    I just let them be who they are figuring they've earned the right.
    Love the way you tell stories

  9. It shows great wisdom to recognise when you have reached the limitations of your abilities, Indigo. Giving up a companion, whether animal or human, is very, very hard. But sometimes it is needed. For what it's worth, I would not waste emotion on those people who abandon, abuse or do worse to the creatures you give succour to. Go on the way you have, and gain strength from their recovery.

  10. Thank you for your testimony that life isn't a neat package with cooke-cutter feelings. Living is a messy business. So is sobriety, my sponsor says. You acted with courage and you acted. It isn't always nice. It doesn't end with a laugh every time. Love,

  11. Sorry you had to make this decision but it seems to come to all of us at some time in life.

  12. I am so sorry that she couldn't fit in because of her wild and mysterious spirit-- she sounds like a wonderful cat, but maybe not "the one" for you, yet? perhaps she will come back to you in another form, my friend.

    big hugs to you today, and always.

  13. Aww,Indy! I'm so sorry! I sure hoped Nutmeg would warm over time. I know you made the right decision even though it was so hard. Hugs to you my friend!

  14. 'So take the day, the task in front of you and find the heart of it. Therein lays the beauty of a life…yours and mine.' I appreciate your conclusion and the wisdom there. I also can identify with your feelings about a beautiful stray cat or two, the mixed feelings which arise. I have added you to my sidebar.

  15. So hard when one spoils it for others. While hard, you made the best choice for many others.

  16. As a cat lover I am very touched by this sad story. But I agree with the comments who say you did the right thing. If Nutmeg is such a bully she needs a different life.


  17. You are a kind and good person, Indigo. I think you did the only thing you could do in the situation. Your logic was very sound, though you have my sympathy at the difficult decision. God bless you for taking care of the strays. You have a good heart.



  18. I too will honor Nutmeg with a moment of silence for her. We do the best we can friend. Don't let your heart be too heavy, there are other souls who need you.

  19. Indigo,
    You did what had to be done and now you have to go on faith. As the sign on my wall says: Faith is a belief that things are POSSIBLE, not easy!

    Keep putting one foot in front of the other and know that you did what was right. Not what you wanted to do, but you had to do the right thing. Not only for the others, but ultimately for Nutmeg and YOU...


  20. Sometimes, there's just no easy way. ((hugs))

  21. I'm sorry about this, but sometimes it's for the best. I haven't picked up a stray in a long time--these days it's just kittens--but when I did I sometimes had ones that didn't fit in.

  22. I think if anyone could have tamed that wild spirit it would have been you. The fierce wildness in some animals that have had to fight for their existence sometimes can never be tamed, hugs to you.

  23. Hi, I just wanted to let you know that a while back I was having "follower button" problems, while it is not totally fixed, I think it is better. You are not showing up as one of my followers so i wanted to give you a chance to come back before my contest was over.

  24. Awe, Hugs!

    Yes, like the kittens born on my car engine being towed away from their mother and then lost again and I was not there to help in any way.

    Now my car was towed away from another spot once again, now gone forever. Just hope no other mother thinks of my car as a haven for their family!

  25. There are theories about everything, and then there is living it. I'm sure every one of your conditioned reflexes wanted to MAKE this turn out differently, but really, you did all you could do to exact the least damaging outcome.

    Americans are so impatient for a happy or funny ending to every story. Life isn't that oversimplified. ~Mary

  26. I had to walk away from my computer just to stop the tears.
    I once "adopted" a cat too and we ended up in the same situation, she just could not allow anyone to love her, she would attack me when I was sleeping and in the end she also had to go to a shelter. I feel your pain, but, at least you tried. Most other people wouldn't have even attempted to make a difference.

  27. This is a hard situation. And it sucks.

    I have a cat that can't get along with any other cats, and doesn't even like humans all that much, that I rescued from my mom's home after she was dumped into the garage and kept there for five or six years with very little human interaction, because she attacked the other cats at my mom's house.

    Do I sort of resent this little cat for not being social, for keeping me from adopting any other cats that might actually want to snuggle up to me, for throwing up every SINGLE time we have company?

    Yes. But it's not her fault. And so I love her.

    You don't have to feel guilty, Indigo. We try to exist on the best terms we can. I think you tried everything and knew that if this little guard cat kept other cats from getting shelter and warmth, thus ending their lives... I don't think you could have lived with that.

    It'll be okay. She'll find a home.

  28. It is sad that she couldn't stay with you but I think your love and kindness during the last three months have gone a long way to healing the heart of that little neglected spirit and she'll take that with her to her next home. So although you may not see the result I believe kindness is always remembered, be it human or animal. x

  29. i don't have a comment full of words that will make you feel better. sometimes being an adult and having to make the hard decisions sucks, yes?

  30. That is so sad. Sounds like Nutmeg wasn't born for the domesticated way of life. I'm sure that was so tough for you to let go, but you did the right thing.

  31. As always, your writing is beautiful and thought-provoking. I grew up on a farm where we had strays constantly and they had litters of unwanted babies to perpetuate the cycle of fragile longing, tentative relationships and ultimate heartbreak.



Thank you for giving my silence a voice, my muse your words, and taking the time to discover my prose.