The Ebb and Flow of Life

So many aspects of farm life are all about new beginnings, and creation - yet death and endings are an inseparable part of that.  I've had several conversations with Liam about the yin and yang of life (usually centered around the fact that you can't just read all day, there's work to be done so that we all have food, clean clothes, and a happy family!).  

Being spring, we are rolling in new life - several of the ducks have hatched little batches of ducklings, although the juvenile skunk we've spotted around the yard a few times has really put a dent in them.  Something like 15-20 have hatched, but we've got 5, I believe, surviving so far.  Our turkey hen hatched out 6, 4 surviving, and a chicken hen showed up last week with something around 10 babies swirling around her ankles.  I tried to get a count, but she is vicious!  The babies scattered into the bushes while Mama tried to tear my ankles off.  We have 2 calves so far, out of a possible 9.

On the loss side of things, we suddenly have much fewer cats on the farm.  We had 3 still with us from when we first moved here, Kiwi, Maggie & Away.  Then, last fall we picked up 3 kittens from the cemetery up the road (a popular place to dump stray animals, weirdly) and named them Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail, bringing us to 6.  About a month ago, we realized we hadn't seen Kiwi in a while, and then about 2 weeks ago, Caleb found Maggie curled up under the tractor and the next day we found Away under a structure in the yard.  At the same time, we realized we hadn't seen Flopsy in a few days - and haven't since.  The older 3 cats, while older, were only about 9 or 10, not that old for cats, and it's very odd that Maggie and Away died, right here, a day apart, and Flopsy disappeared at the same time. We're suspicious that maybe someone put out coyote poison and the cats got into it, or something similar.  I'm glad we got the kittens last year, but I sure am going to miss Away in particular - she was our best hunter on the farm - goldfinches, quail, rabbits, snakes, baby cottonmouths - nothing got past her.  And a sweet disposition to boot, she'd come on walks with us whenever we went rambling - all 3 dogs and Away, following us for miles sometimes.  

Closest to our hearts, though, is the anniversary of our daughter's birth and death, 8 years ago today.  As with so many things, it feels both no time and a lifetime since it happened.  As usual, I made a cake - honey spice this time, with a sheep cheese "cream cheese" frosting - to take to our weekly potluck dinner yesterday.  I also made some chai ice cream, my new favorite as of yesterday, that complimented the cake perfectly.  

It's amazing, our capacity to absorb life-changing events and keep on going - yet never once forget that it happened.  And somehow we can continue on with life in spite of horrible things that we now know are lurking throughout life.  Whether it's us losing Eowyn (and 4 additional miscarriages scattered throughout) and still having 3 children, or poor mama ducks that hatch 9 babies and lose them all within days yet do it all again next year or even next month, life is so resilient!  What a miserable place it would be without that...



I was reading Cicero recently and came across this statement: "There is no sorrow beyond the power of time at length to diminish and soften." He does say "at length," which can be a long time, and he says "diminish and soften," not "remove." It is true. That's how we continue on with life.


Nicole and I are here together helping her write up her life story. In the course of her writing, Eowyn came up and we talked about how Nicole would have had a girl cousin just her age. She thought that would have been pretty wonderful. But she also agrees that her cousins LIam, Malachi, and Ewan are pretty wonderful too. Love to you all.

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