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.

 

 

Quick Snail

The snails seem very happy in their “new” tank.

Sometimes, since they can move slow, I like to try to get a good time-lapse video of the snails.  This time my new Socrates Mystery Snail put on a good show.

(You can see his air tube or siphon just under his shell. When he needs air he’ll go to the top of the tank and breath through this tube.)

Tidying Up The Fish Tank

 

The hot rocks drying on the dish drain.

Steam rose from the hot rocks and clouded my iPhone lens.

Jon and I picked them out of the pasture. Cambridge has good rocks.  His arms full, mine bundled in my skirt as we walked back to the house.  Then we boiled them in the black enamel pot, preparing them for the fish tank.

It was Jon’s idea to clean the fish tank and redo it.  He was looking for a different aesthetic, something simpler.  And I, as usual, balked at the idea of changing it.

It had become a wild place, the vegetation thick with green moss growing between and up the plants.   I lost track of how many snails we had because I wouldn’t see them for days.  It was an underwater forest,  a lush place for the fish and snails to live.

But there was the problem of the gravel.  Even though we cleaned it with a suction pump, it still had a years worth of gunk in it.

It was the thought of building little rock sculptures that got me excited about Jon’s new idea for the tank.

As soon as the rocks came out of the pot I started playing with the, piling them up on the dish drain.  Then moved them into the fish tank, arranging and rearranging them.

The snails took to the rocks immediately. Exploring the new surfaces in their home, finding the places to hide.  I wondered what the fish think of the tall plants and open spaces.

The new gravel makes it easier to take pictures of the snails and fish because there’s less reflection.  And in the new habitat, everyone is much more visible.

Jon’s so good at and about taking care of the fish tank.

I always go along with him a little reluctantly, afraid that if we change things in the tank the fish or snails might die.  But as much as I liked the wild forest our tank was, I’m really enjoying this “new” tank even more.

It’s like tidying up, rearranging the furniture and clearing off the table for the fresh vase of flowers from the garden.

Sweet Emptiness

 

When I looked up, I saw Jon and Bud between Lulu and Fanny’s heads.

I sat on the feeder in the barn yard, lowered my head and waited.  Within moments Lulu came and stood by my side, then Fanny came, nudging me with her nose to scratch her.

But that’s not what I wanted.  I wanted to just sit, like the donkeys do when they stand so still, with their heads low.  They communicate so much with their heads, often using them like hands and I wanted to do the same.

So I ignored Fanny’s nudging, held my hands in my lap and closed my eyes.

Quietly, the three of us sat that way.

And I thought about the red dahlia’s in the garden that are so heavy they nod on the stem instead of bringing their faces to the sun like so many other flowers do.

I thought about the girl from Myanmar in Sue Silverstein’s class, who grew up in a  refugee camp, and learned to keep her glance to the ground because it was dangerous for girls to make eye contact with men.

And then my mind cleared and I was just sitting with Fanny and Lulu in the barnyard.  And feeling the sweet emptiness what comes with stillness.

 

Thirty Second Meditation, Spiderweb/Wind

While I was writing about my studio spider and her web, I found that I actually know little about spiders.  I looked up some general information when I was writing the piece,  but writing, like drawing, brings a new awareness to the subject.

The more I think about and pay attention to the spider and her web, the more I want to know about her.  And now I can find out not only by reading what other people already know, but by my own observations too.

I’ll be sure to share them.

My Studio Spider

 

A rare appearance of the spider on her web

There’s a spider’s web in my studio window that stretches out, just above the heads of the small stone animals on the sash, like a thick mist.

A part of me wants to wipe it away, I could do it so easily, in just seconds.

But I’m also fascinated by it.  It’s an impressive web.

The spider spends most of her time somewhere in the window jam, waiting, I suppose.   The web has a tunnel that leads to her hiding place and all the dead insects she’s eaten are just inside the opening.

I keep imagining the spider with a little broom sweeping the entryway to her home clean.

But all those dried up carcasses don’t seem to bother her.  And they don’t seem to deter insects from landing in her web either. Although I haven’t seen her do it, I’d guess that after liquifying them with her bite, she wraps them up and brings them to her tunnel to feast on.

I would not let a spider build a web like this one inside the house.

One of the reasons I let her stay in my studio is because I’ve been able to watch her.  Like Fate and Bud, she seems to know to keep to her own space.  And she does do me a service, catching the annoying insects that wander into my studio.

I rarely see the spider, but a few days ago there was a big beetle-like insect stuck in the web.  It wasn’t moving so I thought it was dead,  but it’s iridescent body was shimmering in the sunlight and kept catching my eye.

Like a crow attracted to shiny things, I plucked the insect out of the web making it bounce. No doubt the spider felt the vibration because she came to the mouth of the tunnel, to see what was going on.

I held the insect up so the sun caught it’s jewel-like back.   I kept thinking of a Flapper’s beaded dress or one of those tiny chainlink purses I sometimes see in antique shops.

As I looked at the beetle,  I saw one leg move then stretch out from under its body seeming to shake off a bit of web.   One by one each leg emerged and soon the golden beetle was slowly walking off the leaf I had placed it on and into the grass.

Then I felt bad for the spider.

I had stolen a hearty meal from her. She had earned it.  Her web is long and strong, dense and tight like a sticky carpet.

But, if we’re going to share my studio, we have to compromise. She can have all the flies, mosquitos, and tiny insects she can catch, but  If a moth, dragonfly or beetle lands in her web, and I see it, I’m going to set it free.

And, if that doesn’t work for her, she can find another studio to share.

The Golden Beetle I freed from the Spiders Web.
Full Moon Fiber Art