Thursday, October 6, 2011

Quail Death

Today while sitting in my favorite chair, reading a suspenseful novel, just at the crescendo of excitement, with my nose buried in the book (Mule - at the heart of harvest season, a book on moving pot!) a loud thud levitated me off my seat by a few inches. Just behind my head, I realized a bird had hit the window. After just having taken down my summer shades, white panels that hang with suction cups, I wasn't ready for such an immediate kamikaze. Normally it's a finch. This was obviously much bigger. I grabbed my Arnica spray from the bathroom and rush out barefoot. There just off the back step, a quail moved a bit, then lay still. I picked her up, her eyes still open. Before I could spray her, her eyes closed, and she died.
Everything I need - and the fateful glass door behind me.
I wasn't ready for this. This was my first casualty. The finches always sat on my open hand for a few moments after a spray, and after fluffing their feathers, and would flit off. She was the size of a softball, round and soft and now dead. Her neck was broken. I didn't need this after yesterday. It was too much. I gently set her down in the only place I saw; a planter at my feet, white and clean and safe. I went back inside, and just sat there, my sadness growing. Normally death and dying doesn't bother me, but I had held this life while it passed, and somehow it made it different. Maybe it was the underlying sadness of losing a friend.

After standing over the planter for awhile, I realized I needed to do something. Normally if I find a dead animal, whether on the road or off, I put it somewhere that is conducive to being returned to the earth. Once my son, at maybe 5 or 6, went to the airport with me. On the lonely road to the airport, there was a dead jackrabbit in the road. We got out and looked at him. There was no blood or apparent injury, so I talked to my son about death, something he didn't understand when his grandmother passed recently. I explained the rabbit's body stayed behind, and it's spirit had gone. I set him carefully off the road, so no other animal would get run over. I thought I did a rather good job of it. One the way back, as we approached the spot we'd found him in, he got agitated, 'Maybe he's alright now!' I realized, he just wasn't ready. Maybe it was because there was no blood. Not on the rabbit, not on my bird.

As I left to walk with my neighbors (a first mushroom forage) a short time later, still contemplating how to care for this dead thing, I wandered out front to look around. There, not 4' from the front door, was a large hole. Not a gopher, probably the ground squirrel that ate all my grapes and grapevines, the calendula and hollyhock flowers. I decided here was a perfect burial spot. I tucked her gently into the hole, and apologized for not marking my windows.  RIP, my soft chubby quail, may your next life be better.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Don't Hide

When did I get so reactionary? I don't know, maybe it was my latest birthday. Taking stock of what I have and what I don't. I am immensely grateful for all my friends. But there is one issue with a friend I feel strongly about, and if you know me, I don't sit still until I've said my piece.

So these aren't people, but you get the general idea.
We all need people. It doesn't matter how long it takes, we all have that 'discharge' when we connect with another - like a capacitor that suddenly lets it all hang out. Skinner did those horrible tests on real kids 50 years ago (including his own daughter, poor thing) and we came to realize that when humans aren't touched or stroked (physically or mentally), they become stunted or blocked. Their higher purpose is thwarted.

You can't just decide not to connect. It's like denying your humanity. If we look at people that are really happy, what is it that makes them this way; is there a common theme with these people? I think there is, it's strong ties to one or more people. Maybe it's not love, maybe it's desire, or hate, or community. It's a connection.

Suppression is the worst way to be unhealthy. Everyone has needs. We don't live isolated in our own little boxes for a reason. To think you can do so is courting trouble; it's denying and punishing yourself.  This is especially true if you have passion. When you have a fire in your soul, it should be allowed to burn, not to be hidden or snuffed out. Opening one's heart is hard, I know. It can cause immense suffering, but also immense joy. Don't hide, come out into the world.