The Return of Freedom

My daughter’s favorite barn cat has been missing for months. We don’t actually keep daily tabs on these guys, they are barn cats after all and they get as much autonomy as they like.

They can wander into the woods or over to a neighboring farm, sometimes for days or even weeks at a time. In turn, we get our fair share of visiting cats. One aptly named Blackman (an all black male) now affectionately called, “that damn cat” because he never ceases to beg for affection. You, dear reader, may find that endearing, but when you are laboring over an injury, trying to calm a new mother or tending a newborn lamb, the affectionate desires of a cat are a pain in the tail. You can toss this guy 10 feet or more and he just comes running back, climbing up your leg or onto your shoulder – even on your head as you bend over the wounded. “That damn cat!” As they say, “if the boot fits”…

Then there’s Silverado, a grey tabby who is fairly well mannered, keeps a respectful distance and maintains adequate grooming and hygiene detail. And Irish, the roaming orange cat, obviously not starving but picking up a free meal where he can get it. Neither Silverado nor Irish let us pet them but they are not feral or unkempt so we just enjoy their rare colors as the pass through.

Freedom however was born on our farm. His sister Faux Pas has a misshapen front foot and stays very close to home. Their color would indicate that they are related to the Norwegian Forest cats who enjoy tree climbing. Freedom was my daughter’s favorite. In fact, one day 2 years ago, I found her quietly crying and dabbing blood off her chest in the dark corner of the bathroom, fearful that if I saw her cat-caused wounds I would send Freedom to the devil.

He has been missing since the tail end of spring, the somewhat vague end of May. And now 5 months later he just shows up - looking fantastic. I suspect he has not been romping in the woods but has been shacked up with the widow down the road. I hope so for both their sakes. But we greeted him with quiet and reverent joys. All images of savage coyotes or shifty raccoons eradicated from our minds.

It was a lovely, peaceful feeling. No more wonders, worries or imaginings. Just the splendor of a beloved, strong and healthy free spirit who chose to come back to us of his own free will.

Viva la liberte!


littleandwee said...

i think maybe little gg sent him to say hello. i'm so glad he's come back for a visit. he's a bit like aslan the wandering lion from narnia who comes in and out of the story as he wishes and each time brings a bit of magic.

as c.s. lewis writes, "after all, he's not a tame lion."


Tonyia said...

What gorgeous photos! Your cats are very handsome.

We've got barn cats, too. They come and go - we feed 'em, love 'em when they let us, and marvel at the diversity. It's always a treat to see them when they return from wherever...