By Donna Davies
Sometimes the most profound teachers waddle
around on four short legs.
On a night when my young son was staying with relatives, I was alone in our condo. Although I have lived with cats before, at the time we didn’t
have any pets. Our home was up a long, winding lane
deep in the Connecticut woods. It was both private and
quiet. But in the middle of that night, I was jolted from
a deep sleep by noises coming from inside my house. I
quickly sat up in bed and held my breath, and all of my
senses went on red alert.
The light switch was all the way across the bedroom,
near the open hallway door, and to get there, I would
have to cross the floor in my bare feet. It was far too scary
to consider, as I could clearly hear an animal walking
down the hall toward that same door. I sat rigid. I could
guess from the sound of its heavy, waddling footfalls and
belabored breathing that the animal was the size of a large
raccoon or a small dog, but the sound of its movement
was completely different.
My thoughts raced wildly. How in the world did an
animal that big get inside? All my doors and windows
were shut and locked. Is it vicious? I wondered. Will
it attack me? How is this even possible? Finally, the
animal reached the end of the hall and entered my
bedroom. In complete darkness, I heard it pass the
foot of my bed, plod along the carpet, and enter the
master bath. I distinctly heard its steps on the tile and
its breathing. And then, it stopped. No sound. I sat for
another minute and eventually mustered the courage
to scramble out of bed and flip on the light. Slowly, I
moved toward the bath to investigate. Nothing was
there! There wasn’t an animal anywhere to be found
inside the house.
What a mystery! That experience remained unsolved
for so long I thought I would have to wait until I
reached the Pearly Gates before I would learn the
answer; hoping I could coax it from St. Peter himself.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait that long.