“No Stopping”, “No Standing”,
“No Left Turn”, “No Right Turn”,
My dad drove to Ipswich, where my brother’s boarding school was located. In one side and out the other. It was as if they didn’t want us.
That was nearly 60 years ago. Imagine what it must be like now?
They punctuate our life’s progress, but how many do we actually see?
Even the most obvious, very often go unnoticed.
Many we choose not to see.
What of the signs that are not so obvious?
The subtle tint of early autumn, the slightest chill in the morning air.
Birds flying south.
The turn of a calendar page.
High corn altering our view from a country road.
Adolescent turkeys disappearing into the woods.
There is something different about a rainy day in Fall.
It presages the ending of another year.
But in the Southern Hemisphere, this is the season of awakening.
Our end is their beginning.
All of life is a cycle, isn’t it?
In the country, it is plain to observe the cycle.
In just one season you can view the entire cycle of a butterfly’s existence. We don’t call it birth and death.
We call it metamorphosis.
Yet all too often, the cycle is interrupted by a wrong circumstance or a predator.
Then we hope that others of the species will carry on to perpetuate the existence of these frail creatures.
On this planet, all of us are predators, in one way or another. No matter how we may deny it.
Besotted as I was with animals, it is hard to believe that it was not until I turned 43 that I became vegetarian.
One could say that if our species was not largely carnivorous, all those billions of animals would never live in the first place.
When I consider the existence most of them are born to, I shake my head.
But as we cannot treat our own species with kindness, what hope is there that we could do better by animals?
This isn’t where I sought to go with this.
Sometimes I start to write and my thoughts take over, which quite often I’d rather they did not.
Usually, I do not suffer from end of year nostalgia and Fall is a season to be celebrated, in my view.
It may be that I am a little sad about the Monarchs we lost this summer.
Certainly, it’s partly that.
A week ago I mentioned that we came upon something dead, out in the field. It was actually just a part of that something.
Then just a few days ago we saw crows down in the lower field, feeding off….the carcass.
It was the remains of a fawn. Have I turned the fawn into Disney’s Bambi, that caused me such anguish when I was small?
Even I can distinguish cartoon animals from real life.
When we saw the first evidence of it’s death, I had in mind the image of that beautiful young creature bounding through the pasture, so full of life and romping as if it felt sheer joy to be alive.
And now it is a rib cage in my field.
Until today, I had mostly put it from my mind but the sadness has been lurking, waiting to trip me up.
Living in the country, you have to be willing to witness such things and to accept that they are part of the cycle.
The dead fawn will have fed numerous other animals.
We believe it may have been the fox which brought the first bones out of the woods, though it is a mystery how the larger remains got down to the bottom field.
When I find bird feathers I often pick them up and keep them in my room. It makes no difference to the bird that was taken to feed another, but I try to capture the essence of that bird. I believe that birds are spiritual beings. Why? I’ve no idea. It’s what I feel.
So I considered taking a small bone from the fawn but I decided it should all stay out there in the wild. It will all return soon to the earth.
The seasons move on.
Each year some are left behind.
Because that’s just the way it is.
It’s what we must accept.