I was just sitting on my bed, the French doors flung open, looking out at the river. I was putting sunscreen on my legs and feet, preparing to walk into town for morning yoga. As I watched the river float by, I heard a splash. Moments later, a white blur shot out of the river. It shot straight up and lost itself amongst the tangle of vines that hung down over the stone wall, which fronted the slow-moving river. Was that a cat? I thought to myself, picturing the blur I had just seen, and remembering what had looked suspiciously like feline hind legs.
Just then, the white blur fell out of the vines again, crashing once more into the river. I was leaning forward now, watching intently. Sure enough, a small white and orange cat bobbed to the surface moments later. His ears were perked straight up when he surfaced, and he took a moment to gather himself before he trotted out onto the sandbank, shaking his hind legs indignantly as he went. He and I both eyed the situation. To his right and left, he was stuck. The sandbank ran out and turned into river. And behind him, two feet at best, the water flowed by impersonally, never stopping to take notice of a white and orange cat stuck on its bank. His only option was to go up, to scale the fifteen foot wall he had just fallen off of. The wall was covered in vines, and at the top, it opened up onto the backyard of a large, wooden Thai-style house.
I watched the cat measuring his options. I imagined that he had probably fallen off the first time while hunting lizards in the vines, or attempting to ease his way down before he lost his balance. And the second time, when he fell back into the river, it wasn’t for lack of trying- he just hadn’t stuck to the wall. Now he was surveying it carefully, crouching down on his haunches, ready to spring. I leaned further forward on the bed and watched. Despite the hilarity of the first two falls, I didn’t really want to see him fall back into the river again. Then the situation would have just become desperate.
Moments later, he leapt. This time his claws must have dug into the vines just enough to save him, and he heaved himself up and over the side of the wall valiantly, shaking and twitching once he reached dry land. He began to walk off in the direction of the house, his head held high, and his tail straight in the air. He stopped once to drop to his haunches and furiously lick himself clean, and then he was up again and sashaying away, only the occasional leg twitch or paw shake betraying the fact that he had ever fallen ingloriously into the river, not once, but twice.