The Place In Between


There’s this space between deep napping (and this feeling only happens to me during naps) and the moments before being completely awake where little snippets of the past come to me. These moments hit me like rock and are usually filled with emotion, sad mostly because I know those moments are gone. I came home this evening after work fully intending to hit the ground running with a rollerblade around the neighborhood and chores but really I knew I needed a quick snooze.

In a semi-deep 15 minute snooze I suddenly awoke thinking about poor Momma, the tortoiseshell cat that was part of the cat colony when we moved in. I was incredibly struck that I will never see her again. Ever. One day I saw her chasing a yellow butterfly, catching it in mid-air and chowing down on it shortly after, and then the next week I never saw her. I can’t remember what I’ve written here or on other places, but I did find out from my neighbor that she saw momma dead on the side of the road, victim of a car.

After my sad little nap, I did go down and feed the herd of cats and strap on my rollerblades. I remember counting at the beginning 15-16 of them, and now I only count 11. Somewhere there were around three kittens that have disappeared as well as Momma, and then the nasty, mean ol’ male that has run off since his neutering, not to be seen again.

Since the herd has dwindled I decided to see if I could figure out who is missing. All that I could tell from the photos I took when we moved in was that at least one grey kitten is gone as is Momma. I’m sure I am missing the others in the mass of cats in the photo. I just wonder what happened to them? Did an owl get them? Did they starve? Did they decided to run away to another house? It’s a strange mystery.

My own cats have been sick the last two weeks, Samson being the worst of the two. Last week it had seemed they were on the mend only to have Samson drop weight faster than I could keep up, getting down to an appalling 7 pounds. His normally fluffy self is around 14-15 pounds, though this spring he had dropped a couple of pounds in general. For awhile I was despising the cat herd outside, worried that they had passed something on to my cats, which is still a possibility. Despite washing our hands after being around the outdoor herd, that doesn’t eliminate the possibilities of tracking anything in on our feet. It’s hard to despise those cats though, when they look at you with their sweet faces, hungry, but I know they would appreciate some affection.

So, this place in between sleep and awake, while it mostly makes me sad, I appreciate it, these little moments I get. Sometimes I’m back in Florida, in the swamps with the ghost orchids, other days I am on the Appalachian Trail. Sometimes I’m back at my parents home, as a kid growing up.

That space is an opportunist, pulling out the strange, lost memories in my head.


  • chel

    That’s why I had to stop volunteering at the shelter- Delilah’s old enough that her immune system is pretty easily battered, and even though I’d come home from the shelter and strip in the garage and run into the shower and scrub down, she still was catching regular colds. Tom still volunteers (and does the strip down at the door/crocs only used when working at the shelter) and last week he brought home a pretty nasty virus that she caught and needed treatment for. It’s hard stuff. The key for us was having a devoted pair of shoes for “cat work” that we left in the garage, and stripping/showering right after interaction with the cats. It helped a lot- before I had to worry about Delilah’s immune system, we always were bringing home little colds and things, and then when we set up stricter rules about scrubbing down, they almost disappeared.

  • Brianne

    I totally get this, and wrote a short piece about the “In-Between”, poetry, recently – those moments between waking and sleeping when our memory reminds us that there’s more in there than we realize there is. Thank you for sharing.

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