I keep thinking the new morning will bring me something so I won't have to write this post, but that was three days ago, and the mornings keep coming without desired results.
Mr. Bradshaw is gone, as is Lyndon Baines.
About two months ago, Mr. Bradshaw had slowed down a lot, or just didn't seem himself. When he first strayed onto our farm, we thought he was a girl, so I called him Mrs. Bradshaw [a type of flower I liked]. "Mr.s" Bradshaw was pretty feral, so when I finally trapped "her", She quickly became Mr. Bradshaw. For the first couple years, he was one of the more higher ranking cats in the feral barn. And not very friendly to anyone. Sort of a pain in the butt, really, jumping on low ranking cats. But about a year after neutering, he calmed down a lot, and really became very sweet, and submissive. He relinquished his bully role in the pack, and was quite calm. About two months ago, I could tell he just wasn't himself. Nothing really in particular, he was just way too quiet, and didn't move around much. Last week, he greeted me at supper time like he always did, but I remember saying, "Are you checking out on me?"...He just seemed way to calm. A few days later, he didn't show up for 24 hours, but he returned. And when I look back at that, I really think it was to say goodbye. Sounds corny, but maybe he had picked a nice spot, got his things in order, and came back for one last look. It's been a week, and I really feel he's dead, but by natural causes. I just feel that strongly.
Lyndon Baines had tamed up well even in the couple weeks he was here, and had a distinct routine of rushing to the coop each morning when I fed the hens. I spoke only in a southern drawl to him, and soon he would find me in the barnyard when I was doing chores, looking for a snack. He wasn't overly pushy with Papa Roo or the adult hens. He had started hanging out a bit with the young hens, but Papa Roo has no interest in them. Nor had there been any serious confrontations, just a few rooster-has-his-fancy-pants-on dances. I wondered if maybe he'd had a brief fight, become infected, and wandered off to die. He did go to the old barn at dusk, and was safe in there, but since he wasn't contained like Papa and the ladies, he might have been killed by a raccoon. There s no sign of a struggle anywhere. Or maybe he had never intended to stay. Like Phinias T. Barnum, maybe he is a wandering troubador, never content to settle with one hen clan. While it had only been a short time that he was here, I was fond of him. I wondered today what the lesson is here...as I was once again fixing the fence where the goats had escaped today, grumbling, I thought of how the goats are getting older, they won't be here forever. Some day I'll fix fence and think of them, and miss them. So I went on fixing the fence, happy to know they were up at the barn. Things come and go on many planes, enjoy the plane that's in front of you, as it will change when least expected or wanted.
Each animal that comes or goes onto the farm, shifts the energy balance. The hand feeds them, the eyes admire them, and the heart always feels them. Mr. Bradshaw, Lyndon Baines, I hope you have not suffered greatly, and I cared for you well, I know.