The joy of a holiday gathering for our family was clouded by the rapidly fading health of a long-time pet. Alfalfa, a loveable old housecat that resided at the Franklin residence for a dozen years, succumbed to an illness that required one last visit to the veterinarian– on December 24th.
Alf’s burial out on Sand Hill (on Franklin property) was a sad affair for all who said farewell beneath the snowy evergreens and poplar trees. But the Sand Hill ground, where the pets have been interred through the many years that we’ve inhabited this place, was originally the home of woodchucks and, more recently, of red foxes. The canine pups have been a pleasure to observe, especially in spring when they romp around their dens beneath the poplar trees.
Anyhow, the old cat got buried with our human rites applied, and snowfall added an appropriate touch to the holiday atmosphere. Next day, when I walked up to the site, I saw the usual fox tracks in the mud and snow, plus something new. I’ve had bobcat on the mind ever since Leighanne observed a wild cat in our backyard last September.
I had no idea that a bob might also include our sandy site for a home while making its rounds through hill and hollow. I discovered paw prints of a wild cat that had obviously been using a couple of dens appropriated by the red fox family. And the primary bob location was only 10 to 15 feet away from the undisturbed burial site of our domestic friend, Alfalfa.
I could write the whole thing off as frivolous Winter Solstice/New Year sentiment, but there might be more to this than meets the eye initially. We’ve got a Sand Hill burial site where the dog and felines go in their last hours, a place where rabbits, ‘chucks and deer have laid their heads, and where the foxes and a bobcat currently reside. There we laid an old cat to his rest, and soon a vigorous bob came out for a night of hunting. Pretty cool, me thought…
Gone feral. Cat to cat, and dog to fox/coyote/wolf. The transformations never stop, of course. I feel them when I take my social self to the woods and waters of the trout. The world of nature steps inside my solitude, and the spirit of a bobcat stalks the winter hills.