Is it hope springs eternal, or spring’s eternal hope? In our case, I’d say it’s the latter. I awoke a little late this morning—just before 5:00 AM. I went through my typical morning routine, minus feeding Calli, and went out on the front porch to survey the weather and check the temperature. Nothing was unusual. I went back into the house, letting the screen door slap shut. That must have been just enough noise to rouse Calli, who had been missing for the past eleven days.
I had no sooner started the computer to review our messages, the weather forecast, and the local news when I heard a familiar clawing sound at the screen in the dining room window. I have awakened many nights since Calli disappeared thinking that I heard her crying or felt her jump up on our bed, only to realize that she wasn’t there. My first thought when I heard the clawing noise was that I was hearing things again. However, when I looked at the corner of the window, there was Calli’s face looking in at me.
I rushed to the door and before I could get open the screen door, she was standing there waiting to rush inside. She instantly wrapped her now slender body around me, purring as if there would be no tomorrow. After eleven days lost in the wild, our Calli had come home to us! I could scarcely believe my eyes.
Although she had lost 3-4 pounds, she looked no worse for all the wear. I found no scratches or bite marks on her. Her fur was so disheveled and she wanted so much attention that she couldn’t have been staying in anyone else’s home. We have no idea what happened to her, but the only explanation that I can have is that she chased after something or something chased her until she became lost in the deep woods on the flanks of Cave Mountain and couldn’t find her way home. She had obviously hunted for her food—a skill she has perfected.
I wonder what first made her realize that she was close to her home. Did she catch a whiff of her scent on some path she had worn from the house? Did she hear the familiar bark of one of our neighbor’s coon dogs? Did she see a familiar rock outcrop or building in the distance? We’ll never know for sure. The only thing that matters is our Calli came home to us, safe and sound. All I could read in the depths of her eyes when she looked up at me is, “there’s no place like home; there’s no place like home.” Welcome back, Calli. Please don’t do that to us again.