One night a windstorm whirled through our area, breaking large tree limbs in its wake. A Golden Rain Tree in my backyard, which I planted when it was 2 feet tall, was snapped off at the top by my neighbor’s dead tree that fell directly on top of it.
The next day, when Forest trotted out into the backyard to explore, he rushed to the scene to inspect the foliage. Forest liked to climb up into the Golden Rain Tree and sit in a small crotch to watch the neighbor’s yard. This day he couldn’t figure out a way to scale the bark to his post. Instead, he put his front paws up on the trunk and seemingly tried to shake the tree. I had my camera and took his picture, a picture that to this day makes me laugh.
I title the picture, Forest the Tree Shaker. His little stubby form is dwarfed by the tree’s size and the image appears that Forest shook the tree so hard – like a grizzly bear – that he knocked limbs, leaves and a birdhouse from it.
That’s my little Forest – the Transformer.
From grizzly bear to an insect as he plays “bug-in-the-rug” hiding under area rugs, Forest has superpowers to become a number of creatures. Or, at least he believes he can.
Since I adopted Forest, who was found as a kitten on the streets of Chicago, people have ooo’d and aaah’d over his beauty asking, “What is he?”
I ask them in return, “What do you see when you look at him?”
I joke that he resembles the soft, fuzzy navel lint of a polar bear, and that he’s part raccoon because of his bushy tail.
The serious consensus is that he’s Norwegian Forest Cat for his beautiful markings and long- to medium-length fur. Then again, he looks somewhat like a Maine Coon coupled with the intelligent, active personality of a Turkish Van and a talkative Siamese. He has the traits of all of these breeds: affectionate, confident, calm, water-loving, inquisitive, friendly, lively, extroverted and social.
I also like to say that Forest was a circus performer who fell from a truck with a travelling circus that passed through Chicago. He’s an entertainer – a little clown.
Among creatures Forest morphs into are:
In the early morning light I often see his form sitting on a railing near my bed or a nightstand, staring at me while I sleep. He watches for signs of my eyelids to twitch, ready to pounce and nibble on my ears, my nose or my eyebrows; ready to lick my face; or ready to stick his nose into my hair to pull out my hair tie with this teeth until I rise from bed to feed him.