Writing steadies me, as does the farm

Handsome Red

Late night at the farm; window open upstairs and a squeaking distant sound of coyotes through the cricket-song. Tig hears them too. They seek the feral cats that live around here (dinner). The new kitten, Piwaket, was one of same; a runt or cast-off, living on her own and scrappy as hell; my mother finally caved and took her in (she always does in these cases).

Said tiny has been cordoned off from Wolf and Tig, as she is so very small and fearless, and they play rough. (She does, too, but so small!) Wolf was taken from his mum too young, so lacks some of what wisdom she’d have imparted (for example a sense of scale), and T is very just-so, though he holds his own with Wolf. In fact, T has avoided this new kitten of his own accord (he can leap the half Dutch door), but since I’ve arrived he’s gone in and spent some time disciplining the little monster. She needs it; separated from / abandoned by her mum too early as well— she pushes too far, has no inkling of danger. I’m happy to see T going in to swat at her, teach her limitations. For her sake, and ‘cause I’ve missed him. He’s been absent. He often is, but more so with her around. When I’m here he generally spends time upstairs, where I stay, and he didn’t at all yesterday.

But he’s up here tonight, preceded me up here, and we’re chilling by the window. We always re-bond when I’m home, even if only two or three times a year. Wolf, too, but dogs bond differently, even cat-like huskies. With T, it hasto be on his terms, or he’s out; skittish and a little high mantenance. Not all cats are this way; our three generations of cats born here when I was growing up were sweet as pie, always friendly, affectionate, even with strangers. T is one of those loners. He’s sweet, too, but only in very limited company. It’s how he grew up. It’s a lot less chaotic than it once was around here, and he’s only been here a few years.

The coyotes have quieted.

Yesterday afternoon I went out to the pasture to say hey to The Dudes. This is the collective noun we use for the horses. My guy Red is old; a 32 year old Anglo-Arab who’s held the charge of the small ‘herd’ for perhaps 13 or 14 years now. The job has made him hard, a bit bitter, but always I can have a few minutes where he remembers when we were kids together; reckless, punks, danger-prone. He head-butts me, gives me shit, accepts some scratching around his ears and muzzle. We were speed-demons in the field, cross-country jumpers with little regard for physics. He used to be such a silly thing, so fun, jolly and bold. Now I think of it, he was a cast-off as well. Came to live here when less than a year old, his mother’s owner having just birthed a human child and unable to afford time to care for a new colt. He and I are still friends, though always he is irritated I left for the city. I hope this will not be the last week I know him, but I cannot be surprised if it is. God I’ll miss him. As I still miss Chief and Buck, our other original dudes, who taught us how to be horse folk.

Seems the Farm is the island of misfit beasties; home for strays and castaways of the animal world. Pets are forever here, this stable, land-locked Ark.

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