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

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Thursday, March 28, 2019

We lose Cornelia, but my hands are on living bodies

I just could not believe it. Arriving at the front barn on Wednesday, I found my beautiful, sweet pig, Cornelia dead. There was no sign of struggle, her bedding was tidy, nor were there any physical signs to give us a clue as to what happened. Her eyes were closed, so she died in her sleep, otherwise her eyes would have been open in the death stare I've seen a million times. The only thing that came to mind was that she ingested a shard of glass out in the ancient midden piles she likes to sun in, but I had a sheep do this and it was a process of suffering and clear signs something was wrong, and in that former case the vet found something blocking/ripping her lower intestine. We would have seen other signs in Cornelia. The night before I sat with her, the goose and Marcella as I often do before going back to the house. I'm so glad I did, and I'm so sad she is gone. She was truly the cutest pig. She was the one who stayed by Daisy's side when she was dying of old age.

So, it is a double whammy. I've been dong this for 15+ years and it does seem like things come in waves in life-good and bad. Perhaps the energy gets released and attracts like energy. Perhaps the gods know there is a reason this is for the best. I do think Nature has so many mysteries, but is all knowing too, and non judgmental about what has happened.

What I shared with my social media followers is that I have witnessed a lot of death on the farm, and Cornelia had a good death. I like to hope Birdie did too in the final moments, but I don't know. I know Cornelia died in her sleep, and she had a beautiful day to nap in the sun before she died. As far as a pig's life goes, hers was a good one. I have seen so many pigs-probably more in the pet category-live not so great lives. I guess people like to assume that pet pigs have it better that pigs at farms, but I would argue against that. How many people go out and bring home a 'micro' pig [there is no such thing] only to tire of it when it grows into a ...well, a pig, or they don't like that the pig is ruining the house [no, I would never have a pig in the house]. These pigs often end up in bad health and sent off to some rescue where another person buys them who doesn't know pigs well and the revolving door starts again.

So Cornelia got to live like a pig, and I was blessed to have her.

Little Lonely and Eleanor, and Marcella, were all standing around waiting for breakfast when I came in. They knew Cornelia was gone, and they were showing all of us once again how to deal with death-acknowledge it, and then step back into life. One can and should grieve, but always while balancing it with the understanding that life will end, so best to live in it now.

Still, I was mad. I said some choice words to the heavens, or lack of them. But that was a release.

I almost felt like keeping it to myself. Followers often get worn out by this I think. Like one woman who quit reading me wrote, it's not that she didn't like me or the farm anymore, she just couldn't see one more of her animal friends die. I guess I just have never gotten to that point. I mean, I just see death much more as a morning to night experience-both are beautiful times of the 24 hour period. You can't have one without the other. An animal dies, and there is a shift in the barnyard, interesting things happen-an animal might gravitate to another animal creating wonderful stories or an animal dies allowing another to blossom as the hierarchy changes. I don't relish death of the animals, I just try to look at it from Nature's perspective. You can't beat death. And how sad it must be to be so crushed by a death of animal or human that you shut down to more love from other humans or animals. It is a process, this grief, I am not downplaying that, but any farmer will tell you that death is often Nature's best remedy for times when facts can not be revealed to us trying to help.

Having said all that, I am looking forward to spring, and the surprises it might bring-will the goose finally lay an egg or is she a he? There are some new Misfits slated to come soon. Will a new llama appear for me? Will the blind chicken lay eggs again? I try not to think, "Oh no, who will die now?" but it did cross my mind the next day. But it is a beautiful day, I have been doting on the donkeys and grooming them and The Teapot. My hands on living bodies, eyes averted when needed to look towards the graves of fallen friends...but only for moments.