OUR MIDWEEK MEDITATION. INFINITY
When we think of those companions who travelled by our side down life’s road, let us not say with sadness that they left us behind, but rather say with gentle gratitude that they once were with us.
One Thursday morning, a few weeks ago, I walked some rubbish up to my garbage bins, which sit just at the edge of my property next to a fence, with a large old fence-post in the corner.
A normal enough occurrence, it’s usually – as it should be – bereft of incident.
Imagine my surprise, then, when as I lifted the lid of the garbage bin, I heard this strange cacophony.
At first I thought it was the bin itself, and then I realised it was actually the post! It seemed to be making a kind of hissing, squawking noise. I wondered if perhaps it was a family of frogs, hiding from our unusually dry weather in the bottom of a hollow post, and didn’t think much more about it.
Every time I went to the bin, I heard this noise. Perhaps, if I hadn’t been distracted by a family tragedy in the shape of our lovely Shetland pony, Sally-the-Boy, whom we’d discovered a few weeks earlier had a brain tumour, and who was put to sleep about the same time I first heard this strange noise, I might have paid it more attention.
Losing a beloved pet is hard, isn’t it?
After ten years Sall had become truly part of our family; my daughter had grown in – and out – of him in that time, and he had continued giving pony rides to numerous neighbourhood children. He was only 20, young for a Shetland, and we had expected many more years of fun with him.
But a harsh reality is that pets die, and if you live in the country and have animals you have to learn to cope with their demise, and to accept the cycle of life and death in a way that is perhaps more present on a daily basis than in the city: a beautiful wompoo pigeon flies into the barn windows and dies; a neighbour’s chicken has gone missing – in the past few years we’ve lost a dog to a tick, a horse to pneumonia, Sall to a brain tumour, and one of our dogs has been chased by wild dogs, and twice savagely mauled by the neighbour’s dog which has since been put down.
Last weekend, at peace with Sall’s departure from our lives, and enjoying the beautiful weather, I took a horse for a walk up the lane to enjoy some spring grass and dandelions, and as we got near the bins, the strange noise happened again – this time, though with a bit of time on my hands, I was determined to find the source of this disturbance. So I perched on the fence beside the post, and peered down into the gloom – and there, right at the bottom, in a tiny huddle at the bottom of the hollow post, were two baby Rosellas, shrieking noisily at me for food.
I could see their red heads, and their juvenile feathers quite clearly – the red and green and yellows sitting jauntily in the bottom of the pale woody interior of the post.
It was the hollowness of the log that was causing the strange noise – their echoes enhanced almost as if they were inside a didgeridoo.
Image: Baby rosellas by Shaun Taylor. Winner 2011 Tatiara Tourism photo competition.
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