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

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©Katherine Dunn.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Pumpkinhead found dead

I opened the door to the pump house, and gasped. At first I thought he was alive - his body all curled up in a typical cat sleeping
pose, his tail twined tight around his body like a scarf. He was in clear sight, tucked into the corner of the 10 x 10 shed, snuggled down in some fallen insulation mixed with hay. I guess I knew he was dead, but as I got closer, he looked so peaceful...maybe...no. He was dead.

There were no signs of stress or trauma really. His little orange head was tucked in between his paws. I examined his body, and the only sign of distress was right around one side of his nose, which looked liked the skin had rubbed off. His eyes were still there, no other creatures or maggots had started their work on him. I examined his body for wounds or bullets, nothing, except a few drops of red blood exiting his rear end. I thought maybe he had fallen and died of trauma, but, it didn't add up.

Pumpkinhead disappeared on January 4th - there is no way his body would have looked as it did when I found it if he had died that long ago. In fact, I've dealt with enough dead animals now in various stages out here, and we think he might have been dead only a day at most. He just wasn't that stiff, and animals stiffen up very fast. Why didn't he come back to the porch? To add to the mystery, Martyn had entered the pump shed two times last week, and there was no Pumpkinhead in the corner. If he had been alive, and able, he would have fled from Martyn, as he is more acclimated to me. This means he crawled into the pump house shortly before I found his body.

I'm only happy I found him, and then he did actually die in a safe spot. I carried him to the front porch, where Mama and Little Orange were. Orange is the only one of that litter left. He sat with the body like a dutiful brother for a minute or two, then went off to the garden. It was I who was pushing my human emotions onto the scene. The animals had already moved on. I buried him at the side garden, under lilacs and quince, a favorite cat hang out, especially in rain or hot weather. I will paint or engrave his tombstone in spring.