Junah Tales by M.R. Neer
A Sticky Situation
Junah Cat got an idea. If the inside of things is what’s important, then maybe he needed to learn about the garden from the inside. He told his friend Mo Mouse, “Mo, I think I need to go inside the garden. I am going over to the Vine Corner where the beans and tomatoes are climbing up stakes and walk around inside the rows.”
“Okay, Junah,” said Mo, “I’ll wait here. Let me know what you find out.”
Junah stepped past the marigold flowers that were planted along the edge and started down a long row of tomatoes. Tall bean vines were growing there too, and in between the tomatoes and the beans, round melons and long gourds of squash were hiding under their big leaves.
Pretty soon, Junah got deep into the rows. The melon and squash leaves were above him, and over them grew the tomatoes and beans. He couldn’t see the blue sky. It was all green when he looked up. He couldn’t tell which way to go, but figured if he just kept going, he would come out the end of the raised bed. He went right, and then left, then straight. He was more confused. He was starting to worry.
He felt the stickiness of the squash vines on his fur. He kept pushing them off. They itched a bit, and he started scratching. Then he moved around a big melon leaf and suddenly felt a different kind of stickiness. He was stuck in a spider web. He pawed at it furiously to try to get the sticky strands off, but only got more wrapped up in it.
He was scared now, afraid a spider might come to bite him. And he was really lost. He started meowing, almost crying. He hoped Mo would hear him, but the big leaves muffled the sound. Suddenly he heard a humming sound just over his head above the leaves. He looked up and caught a glimpse of wings. He kept looking as the wings moved, and he saw a beautiful white-throated green-backed hummingbird. The hum was coming from her fast-moving wings.
“Settle down,” said the bird. “Come on now, just purr. Listen to my wings, and then match it with your purr.”
Junah felt calmer knowing there was someone there trying to help. He stopped meowing so sadly. He closed his eyes and felt inside for the place where the purr comes. He started purring. Immediately he felt less worry. He opened his eyes, and he could see the web threads on his paws and head. Gently he pulled them away with his claws.
“That’s it,” said the bird. “Now you got it.” Quickly, Junah got free of the sticky web and looked up to the humming sound again. “Follow my hum,” said the bird, “and I’ll lead you in the right direction.”
Junah followed the hum of the wings, and shortly his head popped out of the greenery. He jumped down on the stones between the garden plots.
“Thank you so much,” said Junah to the bird. “I was really lost and afraid. Thank you again. But who are you?”
“My name is Hannah,” said the hummingbird. “I thought you could use a little help.”
“Sure enough,” said Junah. “Where did you come from?”
“Oh, I have a nest by the House,” said Hannah. “The sisters put out all these flowers for me. They like having me around. I go everywhere looking for nectar in flowers. I see a lot of things in my travels.”
“Come on over to the bench,” said Junah, “I want you to meet my friend Mo.”
Junah introduced them. Mo said, “I thought I saw you several times in my tours around the garden, but you move so fast, I wasn’t sure. It’s nice to meet you!”
“See you around,” said Hannah, and she whizzed off back to her nest.
“Well, that was some adventure, Mo,” sighed Junah, still picking pieces of sticky web off his fur.
“You’re lucky a spider didn’t come for you,” said Mo.
“I wonder where the spider was who made that web?” asked Junah.
Just then, a beautiful butterfly drifted by, heading towards the same garden patch that Junah had come out of. Mo and Junah decided to watch to see where she went.
“Don’t get too close to that spider web,” squeaked Mo to warn the butterfly.
Junah’s purr: Life gets better when you stay calm.
Stay tuned! Episode 13 will come your way in two weeks.