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

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©Katherine Dunn.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Old donkey sends love through a chicken

I always knew he was magical and had many stories to tell me. But what we discovered on Saturday in the old barn, three days after our old donkey's death, was clearly love letter from our dearly departed Giacomo.What a roller coaster of love this week has been.

I didn't think I'd hear from Giacomo so soon after his death, I knew he had things to do in his new realm, things that didn't concern me or the earthly loves he left behind. But before I can explain the magical occurrence of Saturday, I have to tell you about one of our chickens, Alice Waters. Alice is a very independent Aracauna who often goes off to roost on her eggs in top secret spots. Of all the hens, she is the cleverest hider of eggs. Now right around when dear old Giacomo was failing, and I was spending all my energy helping him, I remember noticing I hadn't seen Alice lately. Even when she hides her eggs, she usually comes out for breakfast. But I quickly forgot about it, I had Giacomo to care for.

Saturday morning Martyn and I were working in the old barn near where Giacomo had spent his first, and last moments at Apifera. I looked out at his grave, and held Martyn and said, "Sad."...But we quickly went on with our work. I noticed the tall ladder leaning on the upper hayloft, and it reminded me that Alice once hid eggs up there. Since I couldn't remember seeing Alice for a few days, I decided I better make a real effort to find her, either dead or alive. I crawled up to the loft, and peeked under the floor boards where she last hid her eggs, and sure enough, there was Alice. She didn't make a peep, but somebody else did.

"Chicks!" I gasped. Martyn ran and got one of my rescue crates and we carefully pulled Alice out, and there was a young chick, and five others!

As I helped mother and chicks to the safety of the "Chicken Training Area" of the hen house, I realized these chicks were no more than 2 or 3 days old. And of the six chicks, 3 were a beautiful black, just like our old donkey.

"Giacomo..." I thought. If you don't believe in gifts in the form of magical coincidences, read no further.

I am quite convinced that at the exact moment Giacomo died, and his ear tips reached his destination, that the combined magical powers of both universe and of that old donkey himself, collaborated into a beautiful gift of life, as a love note to us. If words had been involved in his message, I'm sure it would have said something like,

Dear Apifera, Thank you for your love, and I felt all your tears over my body. But remember to focus on the living, that need you, like these little chicks. Those rooster feathers you put in my top knot were magical indeed, just like you said they'd be. Love, Giacomo.

The surprise of the new chicks lifted my spirits, and although I'm still amazed Giacomo is gone, he lives on in those darn little chickens. While adding roosters into an existing flock can create problems, I am convinced one of the black ones is a rooster and has a bit of Giacomo in it. I have no scientific or biological evidence to back up my theory. Nor have I consulted with a buddha, minister or clairvoyant. I don't need too.

But as those chicks grow, I know I'll be naming one "Little Giacomo".


Traci Suzanne Marvel said...

Dear Miss Katherine,
Thank-you for being courageous enough to tell this story. I believe everything you say to be true. And I appreciate you sharing.
oxoxoxo Traci

Jody said...

i think that we are all looking for signs in the universe and you have found one of yours. Pure grace!

Amy Schimler-Safford said...

Wow, I am speechless. Your words beautifully painted a portrait of this mysterious magical life.

melissa said...

wow.. congrats on the new babies.. I believe in those miracle gifts, and signs from somewhere else too..

Cathy said...

Oh, what a lovely gift from dear old Giacomo! Congrats to you and Alice on the new babies.

Sharon Stanley said...

dear cracker jack...thinking of you and all you did for him....truly magical and sweet!

Anonymous said...

I believe ... sweet to share and must be something I needed as it made me burst into tears.

I'm holding on to a lot of emotion right now around life and death and beginnings and endings.

I was sorry to hear that Giacomo died so soon after arriving, but after working in hospice, I thought as I read about his death, that you and Apifera were a hospice of sorts making a sweet place for him to take his last breaths.

sherri said...

Bless you for being you--your hearts open wide to take in all the love and life--along with the pain that goes along with it. We couldn't live any other way.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to baby Giacomo and all his siblings (wrong word, I'm sure). I believe, too, and it was a lovely gift from him.

li said...

I grew up on a dairy goat farm and your story about the black chicks has me in tears! Dear me! Tears and Grins.

We had one black pygmie named PopTart or Tart is she was flirting and Poppy if she was in a cuddly mood, a being that cuddles with hoves and horns, tho charming, is to be feared! She was allowed in the studio and kitchen, but nowhere else in the house because Poppy Pellets are slippery. But she and my sister bonded and finally she became the first and only house goat!

We had Nubians and Toggenburgs for milk.

I am the author of Art Doll Adventures and would love to trade books with you. Yours looks wonderful! My email is: lihertzi@lihertzidesign.com

Heather Murray said...

I love your approach with your animals and this post truly resonates for me -especially this week having lost our dear little manx girl- The concept of one life opening after losing another truly is a wonderous thought..i have witnessed it before too..and will wait and listen for signs from "the Twerp" Thank you for your words and endearing photo essay! heather

Katherine Dunn/Apifera Farm said...

I want to thank all of you for writing such personal notes and stories. Animals bring us together in many ways, I guess. I read each of your notes and digest them and appreciate them very much!

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Thank you for reading! The farm and my art/writing keep me hopping, so might not respond immediately. Thank you for understanding. ~Katherine & Apifera ~