Thursday, April 19, 2012


I'm reminded once again how things roll on, time and tides wait for no man, and all of that. Everything is greening up, the days grow longer, and there's a sense of promise present in the morning.

This week, i've been reflecting on those i've loved and lost in April. Not in a maudlin way, just sad that this will be my first spring of the 21st century without Grace, how the air was this soft when we laid my maternal grandmother to rest, and when my next door neighbours broke the news that Sparky, the barn cat who followed us home, had been hit by a car. I pondered this as i refilled the suet feeder this morning, and noticed a few down feathers by the feeder. No body, so either the bird got away or became a meal for somebody.

In our new location, changes are afoot. Nearly every morning this week, the sound of sawing and hammering has greeted me from next door. At the end of one day, old kitchen cupboards were out at the kerb, and i wondered how
Mr P, the elderly man who used to live there, was doing. I had thought of him last week as well, when i heard a rooster crow. Mr P kept some ducks, a few hens, and a rooster, who crowed most of the day. If i walked out in the side yard, the ducks would quack to one another and move en masse away from the creek/shallow pond that runs between our properties when there's been enough rainfall. The rooster would eye me warily and walk towards me, letting me know he would stand up for any of his feathered charges.

I knew something happened when one day, the birds were no more, and in the weeks that followed, i found out that Mr P had a stroke and went to live with one of his children.

He kept to himself and seemed to prefer it that way, although in the few conversations we had, he told me that his house had been his mother's house. How she'd look out any time she heard a carriage, and later, a car approach. How a wolf most likely had come along earlier and taken all of his hens, but he hoped to get a few more to keep the rooster company (which he did). How his black and white cat was named Tuxedo; when i mentioned seeing Tux in my yard, he hoped i wasn't bothered by it. Not at all. I understand very well how a cat's territory can have different demarcations from what humans understand their boundaries to be. I had some extra catnip plants and gave Mr P one as Tux seemed to like the ones at my house.

After a short sailing season last year, i put the boat in the side yard, and i saw a number of middle aged people walking his property, glancing over at the boat. I realised with a start they must be his children and their respective spouses, and they were most likely looking at the property in terms of selling. One of them stayed on for a few days, and took down all the fencing he had up for the ducks, hens, and rooster.

I thought on this as i saw the cupboards at the kerb. I wondered the stories they could tell. They were nondescript white cupboards; rather unremarkable, and yet i couldn't help thinking that a sense of history was being cleaned away. I've never been inside the house, so perhaps that adds to my curiosity.

I had to run an errand today, and on my way to the store, a pair of mallard ducks were in the roadway in the other lane. I slowed down, in case they wanted to cross, even though i wasn't up close to them. There were two cars in the other lane rather close to one another, and the first one didn't slow down at all as it approached the pair. The drake flew up and out of harm's way, but the female was a second slower, and i watched with horror as the car's grille pushed her down and towards the right tyre, which rolled over part of her. The second car straddled her. I blinked in disbelief, and as i drove past, it looked like a magazine flopping open pages in the wind, only it was the duck, still writhing, body quivering, and flapping her one good wing trying to escape. My eyes filled with tears, my stomach lurched, and i prayed that she could die instantly, that the next car that was just now coming along, would run right over her, to take away her anguish. I looked in my rearview mirror to see the driver do what i would have done. Drove around. He was just enough later that he may not have realised she had just been struck, and that it wasn't just the wind moving her feathers. The pair were very near a small lake and had doubtless been looking for nesting spots. I thought of how their lives were forever changed, and yet the sun shone just as brillantly, the wind was as full as spring as it had been a moment before. I wondered why the first driver didn't slow down. Maybe she thought the car behind her was too close. Maybe she thought the ducks would fly away in time. Maybe she wasn't paying attention. Maybe her eyes were filled with tears immediately afterwards and her stomach was lurching, just like mine. I'm sure the second driver thought the first driver had killed the duck and that he didn't need to finish the job.

I went home a different way as i normally do when running this errand, and thought of the times i had a few cardinals fly into my car's closed windows only to crash to the roadway, or the rabbit that ran immediately before my car very early on Easter morning, leaving me no time to stop. I came back to my house with JoJo to greet me by the gate as she had been lounging in the sun, and saw that the truck next door looked ready for a dump run, as it was piled high with the old fencing.

Daily dramas playing out, giving no regard if the audience likes the performance or indeed cares if there be any spectators, and more bits being cleared away, making way for the next scene.


  1. It seems so often that I'm seeing dead cats by the side of the road. It always makes me shiver, as I think it could be my Freddie. It's also strange that one picks-up a dead animal with a shovel, whereas the same animal alive we would pick-up in our arms.

  2. True, Cro.

    At the next intersection i came to after seeing the duck get hit, i saw a black cat running across the road, without looking. I was glad to see no cars besides mine were about, and although he was crossing the empty road, and i wasn't turning onto it, i still waited until he got safely to the other side before proceeding.