“Life goes on.” “Death is inevitable.”
Our relationship with the Texas Master Naturalist organization, as well as our continuing process of re-wilding our little corner of the world, has made Regina and me more aware of this constantly recurring cycle in nature.
2020 was a year filled with stories of death, both natural and unnatural. More than half a million people died in the United States, and I don’t know how many died worldwide from this nasty virus. People were needlessly killed by other people who had no business owning a gun. Natural disasters took their toll as well.
Here, at Song & Dance, we had our share of sadness, also. BJ, one of our two remaining horses, died from what first appeared as Colic, but later was diagnosed as growths in her intestines that were blocking the natural process of digestion and elimination. She had lived with us for 25 years. That was a huge loss.
Then there was Rosie, the younger of the two miniature donkeys. The cause of her death is still unknown. She just stopped eating and pooping. She spent a week in the vet clinic, but the vet could never determine what was wrong. We brought her home to see her mother, and several hours later, she just laid down and died.
Gabby, the Basset Hound, had been on her “last leg” for some time, and finally had to be put down. That is always a tough decision to make, but one we believe is necessary, if you really love an animal and realize when they are ready to stop hurting.
But, as inevitable death is, it can’t exist without life, and right now we have life happening all around us.Spring is here, and despite the damage done by our record setting freeze in February, plants are slowly beginning to return to life.
But wait! There’s more!
For the first time (as far as we know) we have a pair of Great Horned Owls who have taken up residence in the top of our arena. She has been sitting on the “nest” for quite awhile. We have no idea how many owlets there might be, but figure there must be some by now. Neither of us is brave enough (or stupid enough) to climb a ladder to see.
The Bluebird house under our big Pecan tree is sporting six blue eggs, and a pair of Canada geese have a nest of three eggs out by the lake in the back pasture. We are sure there must be baby bunnies, squirrels, skunks, raccoons, etc. that we may never see.
Regina spotted these frog eggs awhile ago, and last week spotted some frogs in the same area. Were the frogs the parents or the babies? Who knows.
In Regina’s closet, there were 126 eggs in an incubator that have begun to hatch. This is part of the Quail Project for LLELA (Lake Lewisville Environmental Learning Area) in which we participated last year. We have no idea how many have successfully hatched so far – the little guys won’t stay still long enough for us to get a good count. When the hatching is done, we will count the eggs that haven’t hatched, and do the math. The sad part of this is the fact that new life and death happen at the same time – some of the chicks just don’t make it. The struggle to get out of the egg is just too much for a few.
So, life does, in fact go on, and death is, in fact inevitable. However, as I write this, I am reminded of and comforted by these lyrics of a Zac Brown Band song. “They say that it’s gone before you know it. Quiet your mind. Soak it all in. It’s a game you can’t win. Enjoy the ride.” We are definitely enjoying our ride.