Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Change Is Gonna Come

The first hint of change came in mid-January, when the earth and sky wore the same grey cloak, and a strong north wind drove a light freezing rain across our pasture.  Our horses, Stormy (Stormy Monday) and Callie (Calliope) had grown tired of the rain and mud and hurried to their stalls as I walked across the pasture to meet them.

My horse, Stormy, a black and white paint, was covered with mud from nose to tail.  I went to work with a curry comb and a stiff brush while she munched on the flake of hay I had given her.  Nearly finished, I reached across her back to erase a spot of mud I'd missed and stepped back to admire my work.  I looked down and saw that my black barn coat was covered in white hair.  "She's shedding!" I said.  "That's why she's rolling so much."

Callie, born in Fisher Branch, Manitoba, has a winter coat that stands straight up and makes her look like a fuzzy, plush toy, while Stormy's coat lays flat against her body.  Callie's dark bay coat was just as muddy as Stormy's, but her clock was ticking more slowly; it would be two more weeks before she would begin to shed.

Now, in the first days of April when Spring has finally arrived, there are four or five clots of Stormy's white hair dotting the pasture.  Callie's shedding just as much, but her coat's color matches the pasture's bare spots and is not so noticeable.

I am always surprised by the subtle signs of things to come that our horses give us, and how we seldom notice them or their meaning.

In his poem, "Fog," the poet Carl Sandburg wrote, "The fog comes on little cat feet," and in this year, so did spring.


Copyright, April 10, 2012

Monday, April 2, 2012

My Friend Fox

This is no way to begin a new blog, but I have to.  My cat and friend, Fox, passed away during the early morning hours of Sunday, April the first.  Fox was probably dumped nearby and appeared on our (my wife, Carol, grieves for him in her own quiet way) farmhouse porch and for the next eight years never left our home; he was no more than ten years old.

There are no words to express my sadness, just as there are no words to describe his sweet disposition, the fox-like ruff around his face; his expressive eyes; long-buff tipped coat, or his sensuous, fluffy, question mark tail.  He would be plenty po'd if I didn't tell you what a great hunter he was, or how he delighted in walking in the front door only to ask us to let him out the back door - now!

His was a remarkable and not regrettable life and I hope someone will say the same thing about me when my time comes to pass from this life. He was blessed with both the freedom to be Fox and the security of our home. He was a faithful friend.

I have not lost my friend, he has simply found his way back home.


Copyright April 2, 2012