Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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©Katherine Dunn.

Friday, October 29, 2021

Pickles learns about Here, There & Everywhere

{I write a monthly Tails & Tales column for the local paper. This was this month's.}

“Goodbyes are hard, I don’t like them,” said young Hannah, the tiniest goat.

“Goodbyes hurt, so listen for the “hellos” that come your way,” said Auntie Bea, an old goat. “They help.”

We’d just found out that White Dog had bone cancer, with an estimate of a few months to live.

“He talks to the coyotes and tells them to stay away,” said Ollie the goat.

“He saved me from an eagle,” said Marta, one of the bantie hens.

White Dog is a Maremma, a breed that lives amongst the farm animals to protect them from predators.

“Mrs. Dunn, are you going to cry now?” asked Hannah the goat.

“I think so,” I said. “Every day, I see him in the field. And at night I see him as the moon rises. I can’t imagine not seeing him.”

Earnest the pig put his arm around me, and said, “I’ll still be here with you, Mrs. Dunn.”

And then Hannah cried, and Henneth the blind hen cried and that started all the hens crying, and soon all the goats were crying too. All that crying made White Dog come to the fence line to see what was happening.

“Are you okay?” asked White Dog.

“We’re sad because you have to leave us. Don’t go,” said Ollie the goat.

“Please stay,” said Pickles.

“It’s not up to me, or you. My body can’t keep up, so I have to let it go,” said White Dog.

“Where will you go?” asked Pickles.

“I will go everywhere, so I will still be over and around you,” said White Dog.

“Like the worms and dirt under our feet?” asked little Puddles the goat.

“Like the clouds?” asked little Hannah.

“Yes, exactly like that,” answered White Dog, stoically.

“That’s where Opie went!” said Pickles.

Earnest the pig got close to White Dog, and whispered to him,

“I’m sorry my tusks hurt you, White Dog. It was a misunderstanding,” said Earnest, referring to a run in over apples some months ago.

“It’s okay, the doctor stitched me up nicely,” said White Dog.

White Dog started to walk back to his tree as dusk and then the dark took hold.

“White Dog!” Pickles called out. “How will we know when you’re ready to go to the clouds?”

“I’m ready to go anytime,” he said, “But I’m waiting for you to understand I’m going to a place that’s here, there and everywhere.”

Pickles and Earnest walked together. “A place that is here, there and everywhere. It sounds really big,” Pickles said.

“That is why he can’t take his body, he needs to be light, like a feather, so he can ride clouds over the farm, or go anywhere,” the pig said.

Back at the barn, I got everyone settled for the night.

We could hear some coyotes far off in the woods. White Dog barked, and the coyote howls stopped soon after.

“Mrs. Dunn, are you crying again?” Hannah asked.

“Yes, she is,” said Earnest the pig.