One night in the late fall David and I decided to go out in the woods and choose some trees that we would later transplant. Actually it was early spring or late winter, too soon for the leaves to be on the trees, which meant it was too early to identify the species of tree. But we set out with boots and jackets on into the woods.
On this one day that we came out to pick trees, our cats followed us out into the woods. I don’t think they’d ever ventured out this far, but being the faithful pups that they are, they must’ve felt obligated to come with us. So we’re out in the woods with our cats looking at little beginnings of trees and guessing what species they are, when we realize we are not alone. Our neighbor’s big German Shepherd was out there too; he probably came out there all the time, but we never did, so he was a little concerned by the intrusion. The cats reacted to the stranger quite differently. One of them (the tree climbing one) went straight up the closest, tallest tree she could find in two seconds flat. The other one, the princess Bella, stood her ground and attempted to back off the dog with fierce growling. The dog was merely curious and kept trying to get closer, which only made Bella more adamant and vocal.
I was concerned whether it was safe to be out there with the dog, so called Becky, the dog’s owner. She immediately came out and called him home. Eventually Billie got herself down, and we finished our tree-picking project and returned home.
Fast forward a year or so. David and I had been making trips back and forth into the woods to work on the cabin. Both cats see us coming and going and become very concerned. They would (or at least she, meaning Bella,) cry loudly, as we walked the path from the studio to the cabin. It was like a desperate plea for us to not endanger our lives. There is, after all, a huge German Shepherd on the loose out there! Of course, we are not going to let the concerns of our cats dictate our lives, so we continued coming out to the cabin.
By the fourth day of the cabin project, David and I were finishing details of our transformed rustic guest room in the woods. Toward evening we decided to build a fire in the fire pit and initiate our official opening of the cabin with a bottle of wine. It was then I heard the familiar and desperate wail, but now it was getting closer. Until that moment the cats would only sit on the edge of the path, safely far from the woods, where unknown beasts abide. But somehow in their little feline hearts something clicked that made it okay to venture out where their beloved people had gone. So, even though they were crying all the way, they came out.
When I heard the meows, I shined my light toward the sounds and, sure enough, saw the glowing reflective cat eyes coming our way! Neither Bella or Billie or I could contain our excitement at their arrival through the dark of night into this dangerous land. Or course, they were happy to join us around the camp fire, something more familiar to them, and be petted and praised for their bravery and courage.