My next door neighbor, a woman in her 80s, recently was forced to move out of her long-time home and into assisted living. In doing so, she had to leave behind a semi-feral kitty who had adopted her as her person. Before the house was sold, her sister-in-law asked me if I would look after “Georgia.” As I am a rescue person, of course I was more than willing. Georgia had been a rescue relocation as part of a trapping project my roommate and I had done 15 or so years ago, anyway.
It wasn’t an easy transition. Georgia did not want to relocate from the backyard next door, despite the lack of food and empty house. Before the flippers started remodeling the place, I would slip into the backyard every night, looking for her. I left food by the fence between our yards, taking advantage of a loose board to try and lure her to my side. The food got eaten, but I couldn’t be sure if it was she or the handful of cats in our neighborhood who was eating it. A few weeks ago, I was at my wit’s end, thinking (in the best-case scenario) that she’d moved on to another yard, when I spotted her snatching food from the bowl between the yards. Whew. Still, she was elusive, and I wasn’t sure she was ever going to make the transition.
Ten days ago, I went to put seed out for the wild birds. My backyard is long and deep, completely surrounded by a six foot high block wall fence. There is a shed in the back, along the property line of the empty house. To my surprise, and delight, I heard a persistent meowing from the back of the yard. There was Georgia, sitting on top of the block wall fence at the back of my property, meowing at me. Finally! I quickly got her some food, and she came into my yard for the first time since my neighbor had left (at least, for the first time that I knew about). Now she is a regular member of my backyard fur and feather crew, and she comes farther and farther in each time. She lets me pet her, but she will not let me pick her up. It is safe where she is, and if it becomes unsafe, or she gets sick, I will find a way to get her inside.
To me, Georgia is symptomatic of a lesson I need to learn, again and again. Life, success, and many things, are about persistence, and realizing that we are in this for a marathon, and not a sprint. Current society does not make such thinking easy. We text. We microwave. I have fallen into the trap of thinking I am owed something instantly, simply because I want it and have taken the first steps to make it happen.
When I won the contest for the early incarnation of “Sense of Adventure” back in 2007, I thought that I instantly would become a famous author. When it didn’t happen, I felt gypped. Where was mine? Wasn’t I owed this?
In the end, the book I had written back then was not ready to be published. The version that’s available now as an ebook on Amazon is much closer to what I actually wanted to say. Or, rather, to what my characters wanted to say. Now I know that time and perseverance are keys to realizing my vision. Each day is a 24-hour challenge, and I try to face those hours knowing that I can’t accomplish it all, but I can accomplish something. Slowly, but not as slowly as it seems, I accumulate words, which become chapters, which become books.
I am very shortly going to be putting up my 4th ebook, a contemporary romance story that I started writing when I was in college and that has morphed through the years until it is what it is today. It seemed, through these last months, that I was NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEVER going to finish, and now that I am near the end, I realize what a short amount of time has elapsed. Four months, perhaps, from a shaky first draft to a near ready fourth and final draft (if you begin counting from the reboot I did all those years after college).
Not bad. Just like Georgia, it was with perseverance that I got the job done, having a certain amount of faith in the process. Now, as I finish the final touches, I can turn around and look out the windows into my backyard and see Georgia there, safe, content, and cared for. Both accomplishments give me great satisfaction.