There is a very persistent rain today and so a perfect day to tell a story.
I am a small red chipmunk. They tell me the hunters love chipmunk meat and there are five such hunters living in the yellow house on a nearby hill. And though they are fed the best cat food money can buy, they still prefer freshly caught and killed chipmunk. This is what I was told and told again by the one and only elder chipmunk in my family (the rest were eaten in their prime). But most don’t believe The Bad Thing will happen to them, until it does, and thus it was for me. I would never become a meal. The day I almost became one, I was dancing.
I am a lover of the arts; literature, drawing, music, light, and expression. And I was dancing that day, when suddenly I was seized. My audience (mostly ants, flies, bugs, and butterflies), gasped. I was suspended in air, except for a tightness of teeth in my back, and away I went.
Inside the open window the hunter flew, and landed with a jolt on a terrible floor. Instead of earth, and grass, and good smells, it was barren and perfectly flat with no place to hide.
The hunter, a skinny striped cat named Bones, put me down briefly to absentmindedly lick a tiny sliver out of his paw and off I went, as fast as I as could run, looking for a small tunnel or hole to hide in. Tunnels and holes are all over the place outside, but not in this terrible place, the only hole I saw led to nowhere.
It was a boot. I felt the hot breath of Bones as I pressed as hard as I could into the very end of it, the toe, and I turned my face away, curled into a hard oval, and clamped my tail around myself like a vise. I stiffened and held onto the boot with every fiber of my being.
Still the cat tried. An epic battle began between Bones and Boot. If it had been any other boot but Keens, I wouldn’t be writing this story right now. Keen boots are performance quality, built to last with the most durable of materials. They are strong and keep the foot safe and warm and dry, stable and secure, and I might add, they kept me safe as well. No cat was going to get me out of this life-saving boot.
I felt a different touch, a touch of inquisitive gentleness, of soft slender fingers, and then I heard a scream, many screams….. or perhaps one long scream. My heart stopped and then calmed. My Savior had appeared and what I thought was a scream was really the trumpet sound, announcing her arrival. I felt my safe boot lift up in the air, and I was being carried, yes danced, outside. The best place to be.
She, along with two of her children, left the cat in the house, and then kindly tapped the boot on the driveway so I could understand it was time to go. It took several attempts, but then I was free. I ran across the driveway into the shrubbery.
It took several days for my paws to stop shaking and hold this pen with which I write.
I avoid the yellow house and all of its property now. I learned my lesson. As usual, the words of the elders are ignored in preference for personal experience. How I wish it weren’t so.
But I never stop thanking God for that boot, and for that woman, both of which saved my little life that day. They will be the subject and inspiration for my beloved art until I die, preferably of natural causes.
I am going to make everything around me beautiful – that will be my life.
Elsie de Wolfe