Saturday, 18 April 2015

Prey or pray

Inpiration: Painting Old Growth 48" x 72" Oil on canvas
by my friend Marleen Vermeulen


‘If it’s smaller, it’s prey. If it’s bigger, run!’ The eagle didn’t seem that huge from the distance, but it was definitely gigantic when it almost landed on top of the small cat, it’s talons stretched out for the catch, just missing the cat by an inch because it ran at the last split of a second.

The little cat was totally lost, she knew she shouldn’t wander too far from the house. The Canadian forest is no place for a cat. But on this lovely spring morning the sunlight was inviting. She was challenged by a field mouse, definitely prey, and just wanted to get out. The mouse was mocking her, washing it’s tiny whiskers in full sight of the cat. It had been doing that for some mornings, taunting the cat for being locked in the house. It hadn’t counted on the kitchen door being a little bit ajar this morning. The mouse had to run for its life with the cat chasing it all the way down to the brim of the lawn.

The smell of the forest on that early spring morning was inviting. The cat had wandered off, enjoying the sunbeams falling through the canopy of the trees, not very thick this time of year. She was totally enchanted by the richness of life she found beneath the ferns. Lots of small creepers. She reminded herself, if it’s smaller, it’s prey. If it’s bigger, run! If it’s slithery, be careful. She sniffed some of the creepers, they did not smell very tasteful.

Soon she decided not to waste more time on the crawling little animals. The early morning forest was full of more promising life. It was vibrating with whistling, twittering and other bird sounds. She looked up at the trees, they were like endless pillars reaching to the sky. What a view she would have up there! And then she saw the bird, it was looking down on her, like it was mocking her. It reminded her of the mouse this morning, so confident it was out of her reach. She would teach that bird a lesson, she would go after it, just like she went after the mouse.

The next moment the cat was running as fast as she had never ran before, seeking cover in some bushes. She was glad they were thicker than the fern she had been exploring, making her almost invisible. Almost, the eagle was watching her with its piercing eyes, like it was contemplating what to do with her. She was definitely smaller, she was prey.

All of a sudden the eagle took off, flying up to the high branches again, like something disturbed it. The small cat peeked out of the bushes. There it was, another cat approaching her. For a moment she felt relief, than as the other cat came closer she started praying, it was huge.

The mountain lion glanced in her direction. This time the little cat didn’t run, she just froze in her hiding, hoping not to get noticed. She was absolutely much smaller.  

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