Friday, November 9, 2007

A Ewe's Dying

Last night I came home in the dark now with daylight savings and buried the dead sheep. She'd been sitting in the barn doorway for a couple of days slowly dying of something, shitting her guts out. I wheeled her down towards the woods and dug out a hole with the spade, cutting into the semi-frozen turf and stomping on the blade to get it down below the roots. There was surprising thick topsoil, about twenty inches, never can tell with the glaciers where the yellow sandy silt loam will begin. The hole took me about twenty minutes to get squared and down about three feet. I'm getting better at this now and bowed my head and said some words to myself that sounded like a final blessing at the time, perhaps it was the cold. Anyway then i covered her over and replaced the two blocks of turf and stomped them down, wheeled the wheelbarrow up the hill and my son was coming around the corner of the house to tell me about some school project or something neat he'd discovered on the computer and wanting my permission to go back and check it out. That's the way life goes and at some point we all lie down and i remember the sheep giving me a look of some kind of recognition when i talked to it the day before when it was still alive and it was the first sign she had ever given of being some kind of more than sentient creature. It made me realize, her batting of eyelids -- the pain she conveyed was the same pain we all will share at the end of indignity and aloneness -- that the Spirit flows in all creatures and if we are supposed to be stewards we need to take our communion with all life forms.
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