For whatever reason, my father, who died in 2009, was very close this weekend, from a favorite piece on the radio, to a friend bringing him up in conversation, to the books and films I chose to spend my days with. It was comfortable, familiar and, for lack of a better word, whole.
I have no idea where the dead go--of course, none of us does. But I also have no belief as to where they go--I'm suspending both belief and disbelief until I get there myself. But that doesn't mean I'm not open to suggestion, to hints, and to divine gifts of comfort and presence reminding me that I'm not trapped in this body, in this day.
There is so much we don't know. And it is so often that we forget how sweetly innocent we are in this world.
Here is something I've never told another soul, ever, ever. And I'm not sure why it's been on my mind lately; perhaps it's the changeover of seasons, both in the year and in my own life (pivotal birthdays and such)?
At any rate, several years ago, I lived and studied in Sedona, Arizona. I was there for a couple of months, and one Sunday, very early, I decided to drive to Flagstaff. I'd never been, and I wanted to see both the mountains and the town. My mum had been there as a young woman and it seemed like completing a circle, somehow.
Those of you who have traveled between Sedona and Flagstaff know that it is an incredibly steep, incredibly beautiful drive; hairpin turns climb Oak Creek Canyon, and for this sea-level girl, it was staggering, breathtaking.
Which is why, to this day, I wonder how I fell asleep. I have no idea if it was the elevation, exhaustion, stupidity, or karma. I have absolutely no memory of those few minutes of my drive, but I do remember suddenly hearin...
So, perhaps that title is a bit deceiving. I don't have a farming life, not as such, not yet. But slowly, slowly, I'm collecting skills. The past two weeks, I've been on blog sabbatical, taking care of a friend's farm.
Five goats, a plethora of chickens, a field of winter greens, and one border collie named Pepper. (I don't know if the other animals had names but, of course, I named them). So let me tell you a little story about a dog and two chickens. We'll call the first one Flo.
Flo had looked pretty droopy for a few days, and I knew about SCD (Sudden Chicken Death--they just sort of decide on it one day...not a bad way to go, honestly), so I'd had an eye on her. Anyway, that morning, she was in her nesting box, having very obviously passed on in the night. Now, dead and dying beings don't bother me much, as a rule. I mean, they do, of course, but I can handle it. But still. I gave her a little moment of silence; I wished her great grubbing in her next life.
I lost a pet today. I don't need to tell you guys how wrenching that is, because you know. And I've been sitting here, thinking and thinking about how I wasn't going to include that in this space and wondering how on earth I'd go about that. How vague and universal could I spin this?
And then I thought, god, why not just lay it out there? Then I answered my own question: because then I'd have to think about Mouse (that was her name) and my loss. And that's hard. Goodbyes are hard--no matter to which animal kingdom you subscribe. Love is love; an end is an end. And Mouse was my bridge, in a way--she was this little ferryman who saw me from one side of my life to the other, and I thought, finally, (with welcome amusement) that she figured maybe I really could do this thing on my own.
Man. I hope she was right. I hope I can live up to that kind of faith.
No. Loss is never easy, always carrying grief, whether the one you've lost is gone for good or just across the...