We Are All Animals

Last night, a little lamb died in my arms.

I had been feeding milk to Ram-butan,

our 3 month old ram,

with a syringe,

because he was too weak to drink from the bottle

and his mother had moved on,

so he wasn’t getting anything from her.

He looked healthy, but a few mornings ago

when I went to the pasture to feed the goats

and the sheep

he couldn’t keep up with the herd

or flock

or whatever you call a mixture of goats

and sheep.

He had probably gotten a parasite

and wasn’t quite strong enough to fight it

and the herbal de-wormer/immunity builder

wasn’t quite enough for the little guy.

A few minutes after feeding him,

he stopped breathing

as I was holding him near my chest,

close to my heart.

I held him for 5 minutes after he died,

then went and got a shovel

and dug a hole

and we buried him

and planted a Kukui tree on top of him

and it was dark at this point

and it was a crystal-clear night

so every star in the sky was out,

the Milky Way was flowing over the farm

towards the Pacific Ocean.

So, after watering the tree,

I looked up at the stars for a while.

I was sad that Ram-butan died,

but happy he died in my arms,

that he felt warmth as he was dying,

and if sheep can feel loved,

he certainly felt loved

as he was taking his last few labored breaths.

As I looked up at the stars,

I started to think

about all the people

who died tonight,

the ones who died cold, and alone

with no one around to share any warmth

or any love.

I am no more important,

my life is no more meaningful

than Ram-butan’s

and Ram-butan was no more important,

his life was no more meaningful

than any of the people who died tonight

or any of the animals who died tonight.

We are all animals,

we are all important,

and meaningful,

but so many of us die

cold and alone.

 

Two months ago, one of our ducks died.

Her name was Little, and she was a beautiful duck.

We think she had a hereditary heart condition.

Her mother, Rumi, died very young.

Rumi died in her sleep and we found her the next day.

Little died in my arms.

We found her struggling to get out of the duck pool,

and she was shaking

so I held her to keep her warm

and she died as I held her

near my chest,

close to my heart.

Little was buried next to her mother, Rumi

next to a Plumeria tree.

 

The goats and sheep have moved on.

I have moved on.

Life on a farm demands this of us.

Ram-butan has work ahead of him yet,

and I will think of him

as I watch the Kukui tree grow,

just like I think of Rumi

and Little

every time I walk past the plumeria tree,

just like I think of humanity

every time I look up at the stars.

 

About soitgoes1984

I was born and raised on land stolen from the Pocumtuc. I now live on a small island in the middle of the Pacific ocean, on land that was stolen more recently, from the Hawaiians. I am addict, struggling to kick the habit of fossil fuel. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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