Tonight my visit to the feral cats was made via canoe, not by bicycle as is my wont. The water was a little higher due to the rains we have had recently, but still placid (I'm not one of your thrill-seeking whitewater types when it comes to my aquatic excursions.) I paddled past a couple on a 'fishing date', he was fishing, she was talking; another couple was exploring the river's edge when I surprised them (SORRY!). There is a small landing spot near the cats' colony where I put in. All along this section of the Rum River is a stone wall, probably laid by the inmates of the state mental hospital sometime in the thirties. It may have been meant as a breakwater; I suspect it was instigated as a therapy project. There was a breach in this wall, and beyond it a path led to a clearing where the city sometimes dumps unwanted tree stumps, trunks and trimmings. Beyond that is the 'hollow' where the cats hang out.
Because I came from the river, and not my usual entry from the trail, the 'sentries' were unaware of my presence- I sat by myself for a few minutes. Soon I was surrounded by cats (the Animal Ark people had posted signs telling people not to feed the cats- and they were hungry!) All I had was one can of sardines, (I would usually mix it with their food), I was like Jesus trying to feed the multitude. A few of the old timers showed up, old crimp-tail Tom, Buster and, representing the younger set, Buster Jr.- who may not really be Buster's progeny, but has almost the same markings as his "pop". I dished out the sardines and most of the cats got at least a taste- Buster, my old buddy, got a little head scratching thrown in to boot.
Then, something new happened. Buster Jr., hitherto unapproachable, wanted a head scratch too. I obliged, but I'm thinking that he didn't know quite what to do with my ministrations. He liked it, I guess, but he also was fighting with his 'run away' instinct. We made out alright, for a first "date", he followed me about half-way back to the canoe. Old Tom sat and watched.
So, the old state hospital wall had been breached. And so had Buster Jr.'s natural defenses. I paddled home, the full moon rising. I made a difference in some creature's life. Hooray for me. Hooray for Buster Jr., Hooray for all of God's creatures, great and small, sleeping under the full moon tonight.