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

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©Katherine Dunn.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Goodbye, again...

In which the reader is reminded that creatures and nature have their own paths, and it doesn't always include us humans...

I have resisted writing this entry, as I thought that by not writing it, perhaps the truth can be avoided. But after 7 days, I have to face facts that the tiniest member of Apifera is not going to return. Sweet Pea was of the first litter, born to Mama and one of five. She was a runt, and the most feral of the bunch. She was also the most aggressive hunter.

She must have weighed no more that 5# her whole life, which only numbered four years. She remained independent, but in the past year, began to relax, and tender up to me. Every morning when I would walk to the barn for feedings, she would be the first at the gate, and would roll on her back. I'd pick her up in one hand, and say the same thing, every morning...."Good Morning, Sweet Pea....who's the smallest one on the farm?"...Squeek, she'd jump down and run to the hay barn. Sometimes at night feedings I'd say, "Sweet Pea, did you get any smaller?"

I always assumed she would not last that long, as she was so small. Four years is a good life for a semi feral. And she had a barn and a tribe. She never suffered through having her own litter, and heaven knows those kittens would have killed her. So she did okay.

But I was saddened when I realized she hadn't been at breakfast for two days. I'd been busy doctoring Phinias, and Ward, and sort of didn't notice. But the energy had shifted, and I knew it was a bad sign on day three. Still one hopes. You torment - or my imagination does - about what happened. Did she suffer? I suspect it might have been raccoons that she tangled with - we heard a big fight the other night and she might have run into mother at the wrong time.

This morning I thought, well, if I write a blog entry on her, won't I feel silly when she shows up tomorrow? But my written words don't have that magic in them. For the past week, I have asked neighbors to be on the lookout. And I asked Pino, "Have you seen her, Pino? Surely you know where she is." But this isn't "Wind in the Willows". Moles and otters and rats don't rush into the woods at night to find lost animals, and succeed. It's just a real place, a real farm, and things die.

Death just keeps coming in waves, just like birth and life. You have to catch the high wave, keep your balance, don't look down too much. Eat as well as you are able. And don't worry to much about the cracks in the ceiling.

So we all say, "Hail, Sweet Pea! The tiniest member of our farm!"