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

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Leaves know more than I do

Post Note: About an hour after I wrote this, the little chicken died.

I had plans today. Plans to work on some writing, plans to help Martyn work on some remodeling. Plans for a long walk with Muddy and Huck.

Arriving at the hen house for morning chores, I found a listless chick, one of the Giacomo Gift Hens . The lite bulb for the young chick's roost area had burned out, and the colder weather must have caused the chick to go into hypothermia. At least I surmised this. But one never really knows what's going on with a chicken.

I rushed her to the house, put her in warm blankets and got her near the fire in a crate. I assumed she might be dead when I got back from the barn chores, but she had actually revived somewhat, and still had good strength in her feet and grip. Her eyes were open. But she was gasping. Researching, I decided it might be gape worms and I did some treatments as best I could. As I write this she is still hanging on, eyes closed, wrapped in a blanket. I placed her randomly near me on the counter, and for some reason her pose next to the brussel sprouts seemed very poetic. Perhaps it was wrong to document what might be her last day, but it felt beautiful.

I feel more and more like a leaf. I always looked to leaves as good examples of a good life. You start from a seed, and you grow. You do your best to be a leaf, even though you never asked to be a leaf. You see some sun, some rain, warm and cold weather, and as winter threatens, you feel yourself changing, crumbling, and you fall, and die. Death is just another day. I feel this more than ever.

This past two weeks has seen the old One Eyed Pug failing more, and it is unclear how long he will be with us in body. And Old Guinnias is failing to age. I've had 6 years of life and death on the farm, and while death is not welcomed, it must not be viewed as necessarily bad. It must viewed as a leaf. That is how I feel today.

But leaves have always been more graceful than I have. They don't worry about the fall. They just let go.


Barbara S. said...

Lovely post. Nature is often the ultimate teacher. Good luck to your little chicken.

Cathy said...

Beautiful, wise and comforting.

Kate on Clinton said...

So sorry to hear about your little chicken. You are right, the leaves know best, but that doesn't make it any easier. Skritches to the one-eyed pug.

Yarni Gras! said...

The fact that you found the baby chick and were near and kept it warm is a gift you gave it ...who could ask for more than to have someone that loves them near when they leave this world.

Amber said...

Oh poor little chick. I've found when they close their eyes, there's not much hope. Farm life is a fragile balance of life and death. You have to take the good with the bad.

Sharon Stanley said...

a beautiful post katherine and a real gift for me...especially today which is always a very bittersweet day...i feel like this was somehow written just for me...thanks.......and sorry about the tiny chick....farm life can be harsh.

Anonymous said...

Not quite sure what to say; I just want to leave in silence and return to read it again, and again. Thank you. It is, how it is, we are all leaves... Goodbye, little one.

Zap said...

Giacomo will be frolicking with a new friend now...I like the image of the two of them together....be well, Katherine.

Ruth Armitage said...

You write gracefully, even if letting go feels clumsy. You describe the sturggle so beautifully. I saw your new book in person today and felt a lust I haven't in a long time. To you, Katharine, I raise a toast.

Anonymous said...

So sorry...again.

Susan Moorhead said...

The season of melancholy and the sadness of the little chick, the aging of the dog, the way we have to come to accept the best we can that our efforts do not stop life and death from just going on...you capture it all so poignantly.

Carol Gabbert said...

Last sentence ....perfect and beautiful. As always, thank you.

Sandra L. said...

I am sorry about your little chicken. That's so sad. But at least it had its last hours in a warm, safe place with you nearby. Sometimes that is all we can do.

Elaine Coombs said...


I am coming across your work and blog for the first time today. After reading this post i had to comment I thought your writing and your relating to a leaf was just beautiful. thank you for sharing your story about the little chick- I'm sure she'd be delighted to know she had her picture taken, and is feeling all of this love, even now.


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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 ~