Now I Go Here

Zelda this morning

It was another dew wet morning, the sun sparkling every drop making the wildflowers growing along the edge of the pasture light up like crystals.

I went looking for a picture or video but wasn’t getting anything.   I looked back toward the barn and saw  Fanny and Lulu standing over the pile of dirt next Zelda’s grave.  They were eating the dirt.

Time to get a mineral block, I thought, they’re obviously craving something the late summer grass doesn’t have anymore.

Then I put my iPhone away to visit with the donkeys.  Lulu kept her nose in the dirt, but Fanny came over to me, not nudging me with her nose for a scratch, as usual, but just standing there.

I looked over to where Zelda lay, where she had been, calmly chewing her cud, since I came into the barnyard.  The other sheep stood around in front of her and her white wool seemed to glow in the sunlight as if she too were dripping with dew.

I squatted then and rested my head on Fanny’s warm body.

That’s when I got the feeling that all the animals knew that Zelda was going to die.  And that it was acknowledged and unremarkable.

I heard the words, “Now I go here” as if the passage for Zelda from life to death is as easy as moving from one pasture to the next.

What I felt was more than just acceptance, it was an understanding of the way things are.  That death was the next natural thing to happen and Zelda was prepared for it.

In some ways I feel closer to Lulu, she comes to me more willingly.   But whenever I’ve had images or heard words they have come from Fanny.

I can easily rationalize that what I felt and heard this morning was something inside of me, trying to make myself feel better about euthanizing Zelda tomorrow.  In some ways, it’s easier to dismiss it as just that.  And I do hold a place inside of me which allows that I can never really know.

But Fanny has come to me with unexpected images, words, and feeling before. And the closer I get to the animals and to nature itself, the more ease I feel with their natural rhythms.

This is a felt sense rather than an intellectual one. One that can be elusive and ineffable, but to me is becoming as real as anything I can see or touch.

So I’m going to try and hold on to that feeling.  At least until tomorrow when we help Zelda die.  And maybe I’ll be able to remember it the next time death comes.



11 thoughts on “Now I Go Here

  1. Maria,
    I have been missing certain loved ones today and feeling them with me. Your words gave me comfort and peace. I have no doubt that the animals communicate in the way you describe. I am sure they know an open, loving heart. Thank you for your eloquent thoughts.

    I love your newest quilt. I think the end pieces look like necklaces on a blouse. Upside down… not sure.

    1. I’m so glad it did bring you comfort Laura. And I like the necklace idea. I keep picturing the spider webs I see in the morning beaded with dew drops, like hundreds of necklaces.

  2. Maria, it is the felt sense, the invisible world that brings light and meaning to our visible one. Trust it. You are your own authority for what you consider good and kind and logical.

  3. Hold on to the feeling of knowing and trusting. In a peaceable kingdom the group is in synch and it shows, animals are so sensitive and certainly know – their life depends on knowing – when one of the pack is lagging. It does seem like when we release an animal, their behavior shows it.

    Zelda is paving the way for a new “Z” spirit to enter Bedlam Farm, and she is probably feeling relieved she doesn’t have to attempt to gear up for winter

  4. Maria,
    This is a beautiful photo of Zelda, the composition is wonderful. It will be a nice remembrance of her.
    Your words, too, are beautiful and also meaningful to me at this point in time. I will be thinking of you and Jon and all your animals tomorrow.

  5. In the last few months I have lost two dogs to old age and illness. I felt terribly sad for some time, but, like Jon, I knew I needed something that would give me a new beginning. I got a puppy whom I named Oliver. I named him after Oliver Hardy because the old Laurel and Hardy comedies always brought a smile to my face. That was what I needed.
    I have a Sheltie who is eleven and when we lost our two other dogs, he just seemed to fade and his eating became erratic.
    Once Oliver arrived it is as if Henry (our Sheltie) is a new dog. They play ball together which is something Henry hadn’t done for years. They are actually pals. Sometimes loss is not just an ending, but a new beginning.
    The loss of Zelda will bring something new to you and Jon. She was a good, strong sheep whose antics John recounted for many years. Zelda will live on in the minds of many. She led a good life.

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