I was recently in the town of Darwin, Minnesota, which is world famous for having the largest ball of twine. The twine museum was closed that day and I discovered that I was not the only one disappointed by the lack of access to the twine. I heard a steady meowing sound, followed my ears and soon found a tiny black-and-white kitten. The kitten was clearly hungry and didn’t seem to a home, so I decided to take it upon myself to rescue it. I was in a hurry to pick up a friend from the airport so I did what I should not have done; I reached down and tried to pick up the cat. While the cat had been willing to stand a foot away from me while I chatted with him, he was not willing to be picked up by me and bit my hand.
It didn’t hurt much but it did break the skin. I spent the next hour trying to catch the kitten and after asking my waiting friend to bide her time by taking the light rail to the Mall of America.
I then decided upon new tactic. I tried to throw a blanket over the kitten but he was too quick. As it was Sunday afternoon in a small rural town, I couldn’t locate a box. Finally, I left and went to pick up my friend.
I felt bad about leaving the kitten. With regard to the bite, I wanted to forget about it. I thought I would be all right because it was so tiny. But the possibility of rabies or infection still nagged at me. Rabies is almost, if not always, always fatal.
To be on the safe side I went to the local urgent care. The doctor was very concerned and immediately called the CDC and verified that antibiotics and rabies shots were absolutely necessary. (I can now attest to the fact that the rabies shot series is not as bad as the stories I have heard. It’s four brief shots in the arm spaced out over a period of two weeks.)
Once I started on my medical care, I kept thinking about the little kitten. I kept feeling that I could have done more to help him. He didn’t have the resources to walk into an urgent care center, and the harsh mid-western winter was coming.
I kept questioning myself. What could I have done differently? I should have done this…I should have done that… I definitely could have done something different. Did I fail as a yoga practitioner because I wasn’t ‘mindful’ enough in the process?
A few days later, I decided to return to Darwin, which is about a 75 minute drive from Minneapolis. My mom came with me and we enjoyed driving past the brown drying cornfields under a beautiful blue sky. The air was fresh and crisp. We had a nice time chatting together in the car.
This time I brought proper supplies; food, gloves, two cat carriers. Unfortunately, we could not find the kitten.
Now is the part of the blog where I feel I am supposed to share some profound and amazing revelation or analysis. I admit to being influenced by the plethora of social media postings that testify to how to overcome adversity; amazing stories about how breathing or yoga or meditation can change one’s life. However, that wasn’t my experience. With all the tools I have, I still don’t know what I should have done. I just wanted to share the story.
Returning to Darwin did alleviate some of my guilt. However, I will always wonder what happened to the kitten. I hope that someone else found him and will provide a good home. I also feel more appreciative of life-saving vaccines and happy that I can tell my friends that rabies shots are not that bad. From now on, I will keep a pair of thick gloves along with a blanket in my car.
On the way back to Minneapolis, my mom and I stopped at Dairy Queen for ice cream. My mom surprised me by ordering a large cone along with french fries. Perhaps there is a profound way to interpret that!
I welcome your thoughts.