Sunday, July 28, 2013

Five-Star Flora

At times, Mother Nature doesn't cooperate. Having hiked in downpours, severe thunderstorms, and ice, I know this pretty well. But there is no such thing as a hike without views.

On Saturday, Brad and I laced up our hiking boots for a much-needed trip to Shenandoah National Park with our favorite four-legged hiking buddy, The Poops. 

We saw a bear cub run across the road soon after we made the turn for Skyline Drive. We kept our eyes peeled for momma or another cub during our 30-mile trip up Shenandoah National Park to the Buck Hollow/Buck Ridge parking area. 

It was raining when we started, and it rained until we finished, but the smell of real meadow showers greatly surpasses the Yankee Candle scent by far. The Shenandoah National Park flora on the trail we chose? Stunning. And it was made all the more beautiful with the rain droplets that sat delicately on the surface of the flowers, plants, and leaves. 

So many people (especially tourists) hike for the view at the summit or the view of the waterfall deep down in the holler, but they miss the beauty of the journey. Don't miss the beauty of the journey. Yes, the destination is sweet but getting there is sweet, too.

We were going to go hiking again today; however, we decided to give our body's a break. The hike was great but strenuous, and the 300-some log steps we had to climb from holler to ridge kicked our butts. 

Until next time!

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Adventures of Scout Brasseur-Roberts

I got out of my car to find my neighbors, Bill and Theresa, outside working on their urban garden. "Want a kitten?" Bill says, as he gestures across the parking lot. I turn around to find a tiny little ball of white fur meowing loudly from beneath a vehicle. Naturally, I chase after it, and it runs away.

All of a sudden I hear that meow again. Louder. And louder. It's almost like it wants me to catch it, but I can tell by the devious look in his or her eye that he/she isn't going to make it easy on me.  


Kitten, A Timeline


At this point, I decide to call "it" a "her." Sexist? Maybe. The kitten makes her way towards Theresa and me, her tiny white paws gliding across the hot blacktop. She has a big black spot on the back of her head, brown-orange ears, a calico tail, and muted green eyes. 


Theresa and I decide that the kitten's hungry, so she gives it some lunch meat, and I run upstairs to get a lime green cereal bowl, which I then fill with water and present to the kitten. I sit still on the opposite side of the stoop in hopes kitten will be comfortable enough to drink the water. Eventually, she is. 


The kitten drinks water and ravenously eats the pieces of ham only after deciding she can trust said ham. 


My mother and sister come over for lunch, and after we finish, we go out onto the deck, I point to the kitten and my lime green bowl. Neither were spotted when my mom and sister arrived. Kitten's now playing with rocks. It's sad but adorable. 


I decide that I'm going to catch this kitten and proceed to inform all of my neighbors that there is a kitten hiding in engines and beneath cars, and they should take a good look around before starting their vehicle. 


I try to locate a home for this kitten for the night.


I continue trying to locate a home for this kitten for the night.


Nobody will take this damn kitten for the night, so I worry, and my mom and sister decide to accompany me on my adventure.


I go out for ice cream with my family but before that, head to my parent's house to pick up a cat carrier and some cat food. 


We arrive back at the apartment, and I inform Brad, who recently got home from work, that A) I found a kitten and B) It's staying in our apartment for the night. He says, "Okay," and goes off to take a shower.


I breathe a heavy sigh of relief. 


I start panicking because I can't find Kitten.


My heart starts to race because I can't find Kitten.


I hear meows and am grateful Kitten is still alive. 


We (my mom and me) put the cat carrier on the stoop near Kitten's food and water. 


We lure Kitten into cat carrier with milk. I'm too slow to shut the door, and the kitten runs away.


Kitten comes back and proves she's a real tease. Coming close to carrier, running away, coming close to carrier, jumping in Brad's truck engine, coming close to carrier, jumping on neighbor's truck tire...etc. Repeat. 


Kitten is caught, subsequently named "Scout," and we celebrate with alcohol as she growls from inside the carrier that is now sitting in my living room. Yes, growls.  


My mom and sister go home. I put Scout in the office. She meets Rex from inside the carrier and fails at an attempt to kick his ass from inside her cage. Scout continues to growl, which scares Rex. 


That night, 7/4/2013, is one I will never forget. As I go to the store to find wet cat food and toys, Brad patiently lays on his belly and tries to coax this fearful kitten out of her cage. Don't worry, Scout's in the office away from Rex. I get home 30 minutes later, and Brad informs me that he left Scout alone so she could sleep. I, the impatient one, don't want to leave her alone and walk into the office, immediately trying to get her to play. She says, "eff that," and stays hidden in a tight spot behind our desk. Brad and I are able to lure her out with the wet cat food that I just bought, but Scout darts to another hiding place. We block the old hiding places with stacks of books and binders. Brad patiently lays on his belly again trying to coax Kitten out of her next hiding spot. 

After a while, we decide it may be best to leave her alone, so I do so for a bit, but then I decide to fall asleep to The Golden Girls on the futon in Scout's new room, a previously clean but now very messy office. I hope that Scout will learn to trust me overnight, and magically she does. When I wake up in the morning and feed her her breakfast, she climbs onto me, her paws tiny and soft. Scout starts to pur sounding like a little motor. We spend the morning together. She loves me, she trusts me, and I shove her back in that scary cage and drive off down the road with her in the passenger seat. 

The SPCA opened at 10AM, and they will definitely accept Scout because she was found in Harrisonburg or Rockingham County. All I need to bring is my driver's license. 

Scout and I arrive at the SPCA shortly after 10:30AM, and I forget to say goodbye because I'm so distraught. A woman takes Scout back into what I imagine is a sterile room, and I try my damndest to fight back tears. My voice doesn't tremble when I give them my address or when I state the conditions I found Scout in. I remember that I named Scout and give the nice woman behind the desk Scout's name, but then the nice woman behind the desk hands me a piece of paper and says, "By signing this document you are relinquishing rights to this animal and agreeing that she may be euthanized." She says these words as compassionately as she can, and I thank her, repeatedly, through sobs. 

I know they'd only euthanize Scout if she was sick, but I still completely lose the cool I tried so hard to keep in the initial encounter. The other woman, the one who took Scout back to the sterile room, brings out an empty cat carrier with Scout's tiny little lion and cow stuffed animals still inside. 

"Can you (pause) please (pause ) give (pause)," I finally choke out the words. 

She smiles with her eyes and says, "Of course."

Whether my kitten's life lasted 10 more hours or lasts 10 more years, I set her up for a meaningful life. A name is so much more than a name. It has to carry meaning, which is why I named Kitten "Scout." 

Scout is "the narrator and protagonist of To Kill a Mockingbird. In the book, Scout lives with her father, Atticus, her brother, Jem, and their black cook, Calpurnia, in Maycomb, GA. Scout is intelligent and, by the standards of her time and place, a tomboy. Scout has a combative streak and a basic faith in the goodness of the people in her community."

Intelligent, combative streak, basic faith in the goodness of people. I definitely know I picked the right name. 

If Scout is healthy enough to be adopted, you can find her at the Harrisonburg-Rockingham SPCA. I'm not sure how long it will take them to get her up on the website. 

Here are some pictures! As you can see, she's precious and loves to talk...and is just as adorable as I go adopt her.