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

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©Katherine Dunn.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

I thought she'd be here forever

{For the faint hearted, I assure you nobody has died.}

The Head Troll is one of those creatures that come along in life and you just don't ever think of a life without them. The life you had before you meant them seems to not have existed, and a future without them in it seems unreal and laughable.

But in the past couple of months I've noticed some behaviors in our fearless leader that remind me she is in fact...mortal, er, gortal. She too is aging. I gave her the name Franklinia on her arrival because I knew I had to call her Frankie. She was a girl with a tomboy heart. Perhaps that is why I overlooked her mischievous ways and rather non cuddly attitude towards anyone. It all makes sense now, she knew back then that being sweet was not going to get her job done. She was to be a leader, a planner of major barnyard events, a notary, a list maker and a task keeper. She was to be one of my greatest muses. In a very short amount of time she was casually christened The Head Troll because before there was Marcella or a grumpy pig or crippled goats, you had to get by Frankie at the gate, and it wasn't easy. I've never know a swifter vessel-capable of squirting her troll body through a man's legs like a speeding bullet. This goat could get anywhere, anyhow, anyway.

Frankie has always come into the hay barn with me where the feed is kept. It boggles my mind that of all the goats, she is the one that does not tip bins over. She is the only animal besides Marcella who is allowed in the hay/feed room. Cats of course reside there, but Frankie is allowed there anytime. It is where she keeps her lists and special buckets to pick names out of. But in the last couple of months she has taken to staying there, carving out a simple bed in the hay area, a spot where she can look out a small hole at the light where the rams eat breakfast, and cats come and go. She is always facing away from me or the gate.

She is not sick, she is simply slowing down. Perhaps the chaos of running the barnyard all these eleven years has begun to take its toll on our Troll.

If you follow along here, you know I have a ritual when an old Misfit is clearly beginning to check out. I let them know it's okay to leave. But with Frankie, it is not okay to leave. I've told her this, a huge burden, I know. But such is our relationship, we don't hold back with one another. She's my rock, my empress, my go to in a pickle gal.

I had a similar feeling when my mother was getting up into her late eighties and things were beginning to unwind. I knew her time was coming–some day– but life without her seemed impossible and if she no longer existed neither might I. I mean, who knew? It was an unsettling feeling, and then I'd move on to other tasks.

And so that is how it feels to see my muse resting in her private little spot of light. Unsettling. And somewhere I can see my mother, rolling her eyes for having just been compared to a goat in some way. It all comes back to my mother.

{Do you like all the stories shared here? This shepherdess is going on the 10th year of blogging you art and story from Apifera. Consider buying books this year for gifts, or supporting a Misfit in other ways. Hoof stomps!}