This morning, amid the calls of various birds and neighborhood gardening noises, I heard what sounded like the meowing of a small cat in distress. So I went outside to where it sounded like it was coming from, and a black cat was crouching by the bush in this picture.
As I approached, the cat ran off, and it looked healthy and unhurt, so I just figured it was being weird, and I went back inside. A few minutes later, the meowing began again. I went back outside, and the cat was crouching by the same bush again. Again, it ran as I got nearer, but this time I followed it into the backyard and called to it as it watched me and disappeared into the berry brambles. I went back into the house again.
Not a few minutes later, I heard the same meowing from the bush. I looked out my bedroom window, but there was no black cat. Thinking perhaps there was a kitten in the bush (and yes, secretly crossing my fingers for one), I went back outside and looked through the bush, as well as the surrounding area. Nothing.
I thought that perhaps if I lay in wait around the corner of the house, when the meowing started again I could spring out and surprise whatever cat was there, or at least peek around and see what was going on. So in my pajamas, I waited silently, crouching at the corner of the house. I stood for a while staring at the grass. A door slammed across the street, and a man walking away from his truck stared at me with raised eyebrows. I then realized I was tapping a beat out on the side of the house out of boredom. So much for that plan. I went back inside, and went about my morning business.
When I returned from taking a final at school (yes, I passed, thank goodness), I heard the meowing still emanating from the bush on the side of the house. Suddenly I remembered the story of a woman who'd heard desperate meowing coming from her walls one morning and, thinking a kitten was stuck in the space in her walls (à la Tom Kitten), called the fire department. After hours of searching and causing general destruction to her property, it was discovered that there was in fact a meowing frog known as a Cuban Tree Frog sitting pleasantly in her walls. No cat.
Thinking of how foolish I was to have been duped by the tricksy frog, I went back outside and checked the bushes again, this time for a tiny frog. Of course, there was nothing. I called to my roommate through her open window and began to tell her my frustrated tale as she peered down at me from her window. "I'm coming outside," she said, and we searched the bushes together for cats, kittens, or frogs. We found nothing. For all we know there could have been a convocation of kittens and frogs hiding in some secret bush, laughing at our ridiculous attempts to search. I thought perhaps the black cat earlier had also been checking the bushes for the source of the meowing.
As of right now, I have no idea what's going on out there. It turns out Cuban Tree Frogs live in (you guessed it) Cuba, though that one in the lady's house did make it to Florida. The chances that there's one in a bush outside my house in the mountain desert of Utah is very slim, however.
UPDATE! I went out one last time just now and searched once more through the bushes. Then, kneeling on the ground and looking in the thorny depths of the rose bush adjacent to the bush in the picture, I saw two tiny blue eyes staring up at me. It was a kitten after all! It appeared to be lodged under a branch, so I reached toward it with the intention of freeing it. All of a sudden, it took off like a shot, and by the time I looked around, it was running into someone's yard across the street and half a block away. So much for being desperate. It was probably hanging out under the bush in our yard all day just to torment me. And I'm not at all worried it's lost its mother or something, there are plenty of cats in this neighborhood, and I'm sure they'll meet up again. Plus, it wasn't that little of a kitten after all.