“There are songs that come free from the blue-eyed grass, from the dust of a thousand country roads. This is one of them.” ~Robert James Waller from The Bridges of Madison County.
SnapDragon came free from the little girl who dwells across the grass and believe me when I tell you that he is a song. His melody is motion so swift, my mother refers to him simply as “The Golden Blur.”
The unexpected cancellation of Codeup’s evening Full-Stack Bootcamp has left me dumbfounded. As I struggle to regain my balance and chart a new course, it helps to remember that unexpected events quite often evolve into welcome departures from the ordinary. They may even transform into blessings.
Case in point: SnapDragon’s sudden arrival into my life.
It has a hot day in July of last year. The heat was searing and seemed to emanate from all directions. My brown skin glistened with droplets of sticky sweat. Like a hot dog in a solar oven, I baked in misery.
My air conditioning chose the middle of a heat wave to quit working. On the day I met SnapDragon for the first time, I was roasting in my bedroom desperately awaiting the electrician whom I had called to take a look at the AC.
Finally the doorbell rang. Oppressed by heat, I slid off the damp sheets and made my way to the door and salvation.
I was expecting a man. So imagine my shock when I found the little girl from next door who is no more than six years old.
I recall thinking that the little girl was somehow extraordinary. The heat didn’t seem to touch her. No sweat beaded her tiny brow. Her long brown hair blew angelic in the stifling breeze. Her small brown eyes didn’t even squint to keep out the harsh light as mine did. Resolute, she looked me directly in the eye with none of the bashful squirming of most children her age and spoke clearly.
“You have cats.”
It was a statement. Her elfin voice, though slight, left no room for discussion.
“Yes, I have two. Their names are Puss and MaryGold.”
“Do you want a cat?”
Five simple words and yet to a cat person like me, those are the most beautiful words in the English language.
Without waiting for me to respond. She turned and began to walk away. Somehow she knew that I would follow.
When we arrived at her house, the little girl walked in announcing
“I got the lady with the cats!”
When her mother saw me sweating at the door, it was clear to me that she hadn’t sent the little girl. The mother was just as surprised to see me as I was to find myself in that slightly awkward situation. I can only assume that the little girl heard her parents discussing what to do with a kitten that they had in their possession. Having seen my cats in my window, she must have decided on her own volition to go and get the only cat person she knew—me.
The mother explained that they got a kitten for the little girl, but the family dog was going crazy and kept trying to attack the kitten. They had tried and failed to safely integrate the two animals. With no luck they were looking for a new home for the kitten. Then came those beautiful words again, this time from the mother,
“Do you want a cat?”
“I really shouldn’t take another cat.” (But my heart was already made up.)
“Can I see the kitten?” (Once you see a kitten there is no turning back.)
The mother disappeared for a moment, and returned with a tiny gold and white miracle.
I knew the moment I saw him.
“What is his name?” (I gazed, already in love, into his frightened eyes.)
“Freckles,” the little girl responded.
“Is it alright if I change the name?”
Freckles is now SnapDragon and he will be a year old next week. I now have a trifecta of feline perfection dwelling with me in my home. He has been a handful, (I sometimes call him The Terror) but somehow he has been integrated with Puss and MaryGold and we are all finding our way through the world together.
SnapDragon bears a notched ear, which is the universal sign of a stray cat that has been captured, neutered and released. I do not know his story before his time with me, but I know that he has come to me from “the dust of a thousand country roads.” And he has become my love story.
SnapDragon is my living, breathing reminder that change is not always bad. The unexpected can change your life in ways that are additive. A change in plans is not always a harbinger of doom.
With SnapDragon in mind, I choose to embrace the Curve Ball that has been thrown my way. I will commit myself to this new camp and timeline and perhaps when more tales are written, the story of Soun-Ja and her programming Bootcamp will be one of them.