In Cedar City, Utah I spent a couple of hours enjoying the BFA exhibit at the Art Museum. Then another hour attending a performance of Red, a play about Rothko. Then a stop at Safeway to restock the larder. Thus, it was way past dark when we pulled into a large turnout at the beginning of highway 14, a two-lane road that leads to some of Utah's most spectacular scenery.
Smith, inside all day, had had enough, but I was reluctant to let her out. The highway was barely 200 feet away and there were other folks using the rest area. Finally, at 2:00 a.m. after pleading with her all evening, I strapped her into her walking jacket tightening it as much as I could, clipped it to the roof rack and lay down, finally, to sleep.
In the morning it lay at the end of the 15-foot lead, empty. She hadn't eaten since her after-dinner snack at 8:00 p.m. so I figured she'd be hungry by noon.
The spot was next to Coal Creek, a good-sized river, and had all the things she loved: steep, rock-laden banks to clamber upon and lots of boulders with hidey-holes to explore. Half a mile downstream were nice-looking homes, each with goodly amounts of land around them.
On the other side of the highway was a spectacular canyon, no doubt FULL of mice, voles, reboks and all other manner of prey.
She'd reached that age where children are fed up with their parents. She enjoyed being outside so much she wanted it full time....like me. Sitting in a car, waiting, was no longer acceptable.
It's been a relief. I still worry about what became of her, but know she's resourceful. She'd survived in the Redwoods for god knows how long before I found her. I'm confident she found a place where she can get her meals and be outside all the time too.
But I still get a hollow feeling in my stomach when I think about her. But next time a kitten shows up it'll be straight to the shelter; I learned my lesson. And yet, I miss her.