Junah Tales by M.R. Neer
The Tortoise and Time
Mo Mouse was waiting for Junah Cat when he came down from the Big Tree where he had seen the whole garden at once. Mo was sitting in the shade of the tree, nibbling on a piece of fruit she had found on the ground by the fence.
“Well?” she asked with a question in her voice.
“Yes, Mo, it was a great idea,” said Junah gratefully. “I got to see the whole garden and more. I’m sure it will help me figure out the garden’s secret.”
“As I was sitting here,” said Mo excitedly, “I got another idea.”
“That first one was good,” said Junah. “What now?”
“I think you should meet another friend. Thomas the Tortoise has been here much longer than me, and I was thinking, maybe he could give you some ideas about the history of the garden. That might help you in your search.”
“Wonderful,” said Junah, “Take me to him.”
“You see that rock over there near the Big Tree? Right where the fence comes to a corner?” asked Mo.
“Yeah, it’s about my size or a little bigger,” said Junah, looking to where Mo pointed.
“That’s not a rock,” laughed Mo. “That’s Thomas.”
“Oh my,” said Junah in surprise, “I never would have noticed. Let’s go visit him.”
When they got to the rock, Mo knocked on the shell, and slowly Thomas poked his head and feet out. “Waaal, how are you, Miss Mo?” drawled Thomas. He seemed to move slowly and speak slowly, but his eyes were bright.
“Hi Thomas,” said Mo, “I want you to meet Junah. He’s new here. The sisters just brought him in. They told him his quest was to figure out the secret of the garden. You have been here so long that I thought maybe you could help him.”
“Yessss, I have been heeerrree so long,” said Thomas, feeling the stretch of time on each word. “Many moons and suns have come and gone; many plants have come and gone; many cats have come and gone.”
“What do you mean many cats?” asked Junah wide-eyed. “Have there been other cats here before me?”
“Suuuree enough, Junah,” answered Thomas. “Ah sure like your name and your black and white colors.”
“Wait a minute,” repeated Junah, “I want to know about the other cats.”
“Oh, there were many,” explained Thomas slowly. “The sisters, ya seeee, have this important secret, and they keep asking special cats to find it. I think, yesss, I know, they like the curiosity cats have, and also that you all can purr. But the other cats, they just didn’t make it.”
“What? Why not?” questioned Junah.
“Ya see,” droned Thomas, “all those other cats just didn’t keep going. They got tired and slept too much. Or they got too curious and got hurt. Or some of those cats lost their curiosity and just played around in the garden. Others just wanted to eat all the time. And some, they even tried to control the other animals. They just lost their attention.”
“Well, I’m different,” said Junah. “I like the sisters, and I like the garden, and I like puzzles. I’m going to figure out this secret if it’s the last thing I do.”
“It maaay beee the last thing,” stammered Thomas depressingly.
“Don’t talk that way, Thomas,” interrupted Mo. “You have to give Junah a chance. Is there anything you can tell him about the garden that will help him?”
“Waaal, the sisters, they all kept saying to pay attention to the garden, to really look at the garden,” recalled Thomas. “They also kept telling those other cats to purr as much as they could. But those cats just forgot about it. Soooo, ah think that might be important.”
“I know how to pay attention,” said Junah. “In fact, whatever I pay attention to starts growing in my life. Just like climbing that tree or looking for this secret. I keep getting better at things by paying attention.”
“That sounds right, Junah,” responded Thomas. “Ah like your spirit. Ah hope you can see everything about this garden. Ah know ah like it here, and it would sure be good to have the sisters finish this big secret thing they’ve been working on.”
“Thank you, Thomas,” said Junah, putting his paw on Thomas’ shell. “You also reminded me about purring. I’ve been so absorbed in learning about the garden that I forgot about that. Tomorrow I’m going to do both.”
Junah said goodbye to Mo and Thomas and went back to the House for the night. He told the sisters about his adventures of the day. They were pleased to hear how he had gained a big picture view and even found out some history of the garden. They said he did well and looked forward to more reports.
Junah’s Purr: What you put your attention on grows stronger.
Stay tuned! Episode 10 will come your way in two weeks.