Friday, June 24, 2011

Nature Tells

She had crept into the shed and wedged herself into its darkest recess. I‘d lifted her before, despite her weak protests, and lain her on my bed. I desired to comfort her. I wished to hear her purr one last night. I longed to be with her at the end. But she had once again made her way here, to this dark place. I called to her softly; she answered weakly…plaintively.

Nature tells what to do. My father told me of the time he had a hernia, his body commanded him in the most imperative of ways, due not to pain, nor the discomfort, to lie down. I stepped from the shed, uncertain how to act. Turning, I looked back through the entrance and in toward her dark resting place.

There is a drawing by the Japanese artist Ando Hiroshige which portrays a view from within a home through a window to a landscape beyond. On the sill, is perched a cat, peering outward. The cat, perched between two worlds, the domestic and the wild, seems to invite the viewer to join it in its contemplation of nature beyond.

She wanted to lie, unmolested, in the darkness. She wished to be in a place that smelled of mice, of dust, of nature. I gently closed the door and wandered, aimlessly, mindlessly, about my yard. I awoke in the flower garden. I knelt down…and after a brief rest, I rose…with a pick in my hand.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Suffering Thing

I found her suffering a short distance from my home, and a quarter mile from the main road. Her injuries were obvious. She’d dragged her useless hind legs behind, as far as she could from her terminal encounter with the speeding metal and glass beasts that prey on her and her brood.

She panted with fear, exhaustion and pain. Propped up by front legs, extended in an unnatural angle, she held her head high, jaws agape. I dared not look into her eyes, for fear of causing her further distress or myself, panic at the sight of her suffering. Standing at a distance I considered…what to do? 

I returned home, where all was well and all in place. I filled a bucket with water...put it in the truck and drove down the road to the new-found dead-end. Placing it as close to her as possible without causing her alarm, I made myself small and returned home.

For coyote, man is a deadly enemy. We have vaguely sentimental ideas of being in sympathy with their plight. But all such sentimentality pales in consideration to their reality. They are shot. They are poisoned. They are struck dead by our vehicles. They are starved and choked by the vagaries of nature; their lives the penultimate expressions of the existential.

The following day, I found her, cold and stiff beside the bucket from which I hope she had drawn one last bit of comfort. She was given respectful covering. Then and I withdrew.