Spark of Consciousness

This was our pretty gray kitten,
hence her name; who was born
in our garage and stayed nearby
her whole life. There were allergies;
so she was, as they say,
an outside cat.
But she loved us. For years,
she was at our window.
Sometimes, a paw on the screen
as if to want in, as if
to be with us
the best she could.
She would be on the deck,
at the sliding door.
She would be on the small
sill of the window in the bathroom.
She would be at the kitchen
window above the sink.
We’d go to the living room;
anticipating that she’d be there, too,
hop up, look in.
She’d be on the roof,
she’d be in a nearby tree.
She’d be listening
through the wall to our family life.
She knew where we were,
and she knew where we were going
and would meet us there.
Little spark of consciousness,
calm kitty eyes staring
through the window.

After the family broke,
and when the house was about to sell,
I walked around it for a last look.
Under the eaves, on the ground,
there was a path worn in the dirt,
tight against the foundation —
small padded feet, year after year,
window to window.

When we moved, we left her
to be fed by the people next door.
Months after we were gone,
they found her in the bushes
and buried her by the fence.
So many years after,
I can’t get her out of my mind.

~Philip F. Deaver, “Gray” from How Men Pray

Our pets witness the routine of our lives. They know when the food bowl remains empty too long, or when no one offers their lap to stroke their fur.

They sit silently waiting and wondering, a little spark of consciousness, aware of our family life. They know when things aren’t right at home. They hear the raised voices and they hear the strained silences.

Sometimes a farm cat moves on, looking for a place with more consistency and better feeding grounds. Most often they stick close to what they know, even if it isn’t entirely a happy or welcoming place. After all, it’s home; that’s where they stay, through thick and thin.

When my family broke as my parents split, after the furniture was removed and the dust of over thirty five years of marriage swept up, I wondered if our cat and dog had seen it coming before we did. They had been peering through the window at our lives, gauging what amount of spilled-out love might be left over for them.

I still can’t get them out of my mind – they, like me, became children of divorce. We all knew when we left behind the only home we had ever known, we could never truly feel at home again.


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5 thoughts on “Spark of Consciousness

  1. Oh, this brought tears to my eyes! Our pets are, or should be, so very important. They may not be our whole lives, but they do make our lives whole. I’m often amazed at how very very much they seem to know, and the amount of love and joy they bring.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So true. And today this great grandma called Children Protective Services as my dear 3.5 year old great granddaughter told me, unsolicited,, what her mommiy’s live in man friend did the night before. The innocent child had told her grandpa earlier on the day and we knew she shouldn’t go back.
    The Lord told me, You heard her. She trusts you. You need to keep her safe.” Yes Lord. I heard and will respond.
    And my granddaughter takes her away from us angry, saying we won’t be seeing her again.
    God has her in His hands and I have no doubt His baby girl will be safe. Thank you Lord God.


  3. Dear Laura, you did the absolute right thing and I’ll pray too that she will be safe. Families are so broken – you listened to your great-granddaughter and that is the beginning of healing for her. blessings, Emily


  4. Thank you, Emily. I know God knows the end of all our stories. And I know this will turn out good in the end. Thank you for your prayers as all of the family members are so sad with this.
    We are also praying for her mommy, that God wraps around her, and the Holy Spirit reaches into her heart and mind, casting out the negative, evil lies that are filling her spirit. That my granddaughter remembers that she is a precious child of God, and her baby doesn’t need to be in a bad environment. blessings to you also.

    Liked by 1 person

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