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

Apifera Farm is a registered 501 [c][3]. All images ar©Katherine Dunn.





Monday, October 16, 2017

The unthinkable: who would I take if I had to leave?

Benedetto at dusk
Someone shared a story about a Maremma staying behind in the horrible Sonoma fires, with a herd of goats, and they all survived. The couple that fled the fire was able to get one Maremma in the car, but the fires were so fierce they had to flee. They were so relieved to find the other dog was alive, burned, scorched foot pads, but he made it and so did the goats. They will be OK.

The owner said they cried a lot, prayed, and felt horrible that the choice [or was it a choice?] they had to make to leave was a slow and painful death for their beloved animals.

As happy as I was to see the reunion, it just send me into a tailspin. I know in Oregon there was once a fire that had us thinking of evacuation plans. We did not have to do it, but many did, and it all was terrible to process. And with my menagerie of crippled and elder animals, it would be so difficult. At the time we had 30 sheep, we now don't breed anymore and only have five sheep, but back then, I knew I'd probably have to leave the flock and hope for the best. It's unthinkable...the idea of having to feel at midnight without warning...and to have to be forced to make life and death choices.

I'm not sure I could get through what some of these people have to get through. I tend to soak these things in, and perhaps that is why today I'm feeling rather stuck...sad, somewhat unoptimistic, doubting myself. After five minutes on social media today, I'm staying off, and am going to start getting some wood ready for paintings. In my five minutes of checking on some people I know out West, I also noticed there a lot of people thinking it wrong to go on with their business as usual while so many in so many places are suffering. I'm not sure why they think sitting on Facebook and expressing that is any better. But the piling up of so many storms and fires and other tragedies of the past couple weeks, coupled with what for me feels like an implosion of common decency for all people not just a select group...it adds up and that is what I feel, viscerally on social media of late. People are worn out and they are reacting to that tiredness in their own personal style, and some of it is pretty harsh.

I spend quality time with all my animals, some days more so, and today I just did everything extra slowly. I looked into Benedetto's eyes and told him I was so glad he was safe. I held the bunny and thought of all the wildlife, suffering. Took an extra look at our 1760 house and thought of what it be like to watch it burn.

You can be living a good life and still go to the dark. It's called empathy. I will hope for no wind and rain for California...and resolutions for so many all over in distress.

View from Rag Tree looking towards the barns

We will be pushing The Wood back from the barns in time



2 comments:

Deborah Climie said...

This made me think of you. Love it. https://www.treehugger.com/natural-sciences/sheepdog-bodyguard-protect-endangered-penguins-foxes-autralia.html

Katherine Dunn said...

I've seen tat one, Deborah and I love it-these dogs are amazing, I know I have two as you know. I have never thankfully had to put them to the real test [ie like the dog who stayed behind to protect the goats in the fire and they all lived] but...if I were lost in the woods, I'd want them there.

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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 ~