Saturday, 6 December 2014

A crow, a fox, a sunset.

Things have to be maintained. This winter afternoon, it is almost sunset; the quiet blue skies of today gradually flushing palest rose. Our laundry is still hanging on the line. In a matter of minutes the dew will begin to fill the air. To get it the driest possible, I need to go now to fold it and fetch it in.

The fire in the woodstove is sinking low, just embers now. I must top it up – and that will empty the woodbag that I filled yesterday. I must take it out to the woodpile and refill it.

Everything flows on and nothing stays the same. Everything has to be watched over, maintained. Dust falls even in the emptiest room. The hearth I swept this morning is covered with ashes. The newly-stocked woodpile is already diminishing. The day is fading; time to light the lamps.

Night falling fast. When I go to fetch the laundry, the crows are waiting  in the ash tree for their supper. I fetch them a bowl of fish and set it out on the ground where they like to feed, but by the time I’m back to the laundry line the fox is there already – he must have been watching and waiting for his supper, hungry this cold night.

He eats the fish as I take down the laundry, folding and piling it into the basket. When I’m done I go in for his kibble – which I hadn’t put on the crows’ food, obviously. I take out a bowl of kibble for Foxy, and take a second bowl of fish to put high up on the roof of Komorebi, so the crows actually get some supper. Foxy, waiting timid behind the birch trees, loses his nerve as I come so close, and rushes away, bumping his nose on the corner of Komorebi’s wooden wall.

The crows watch in the ash tree. They aren’t used to their food being put out on the roof, so they come down to their usual patch on the ground and pick hopefully at the kibble. They can’t make much of it. So I take out a third bowl of fish. Frightened, they fly away. They watch for a while in the ash tree. Then the sun goes down.

Even so, I know Foxy will be back for the kibble and extra fish, and I have no doubt the fish on the roof will be gone by tomorrow morning.

Life is full of gift and opportunity, some we take and some passes us by; everything moves on and nothing stays the same.

I notice that as I cease to feed the contacts of human society, people lose interest, the wake closes behind the ship. For a while I am remembered, then forgotten. My face is forgotten quickly, and then my name. Like a disintegrating autumn leaf I crumble into the past, no longer a part of how things are.


It can be hard to keep my nerve and let it go, make no bid for continued inclusion. But I value solitude and peace. Crowds send me into shock. I am becoming a crow, a fox, a sunset.

15 comments:

Gerry Snape said...

the way of all flesh.....but somehow just normal....ebb and flow of all like the sea...times and seasons...I felt it last week when I went south to look after the southern grandgirls and in a southern town...I did not belong in that place of young vibrant business go getters any more...that's fine!

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) xx

SylvanHome said...

This post was particularly poignant to me today. My dear little corgi has been in a slow but undeniable slide towards his end. It began in September and now here in December I am surprised at every additional day that he remains. I have been doing my very best to keep my "contract" of care, adapting the particulars as the need changes. When he first started refusing his usual food he got freshly roasted field grown chicken, mixed back into the drippings and broth, and local sweet potatoes. He didn't turn away from that. As his appetite slid I fed him to the extent of his appetite, small amounts several times a day. My hospice experience seems to be coming strongly to bear for my beautiful little friend. Last week he only ate an occasional a few mouthfuls from my fingertips and then turned his head. Fresh water is always at his head. Now he refuses all food. He lifts himself for thirst and for the need to relieve himself. It's my signal to carry him out to a bed of leaves. He is now only just able to do that. He is very thin under that thick fortunate coat of his. He is lying down quietly all the rest of the time with no complaints or grimacing. I pray for the quietness to continue to the end, but I am not the boss of such things. I have been reflecting much on the things you speak of in your entry today. I am also sad. I can still laugh, but if you pushed me with a feather I would tear up. What I will miss is how even now he is such a Clean/Pure influence in my days, my life. A great goodness. Hold us in the light.
<3 <3

Pen Wilcock said...

Oh, that dear little dog. I will hold him in my heart and my prayer - a faithful Friend as well as a friend. I'm reaching back in my memory for a conversation we had about totem animals - I was saying to you about the white buffalo, and you told me about the wolverine - and you said, bringing up the rear in that procession of protective animals was a little corgi. May it be so. May he walk proudly into the Light. Thinking of you, honey - glad you have Sky with you, and the comfort of firelight and the mystery of the woods. xxx

Rebecca said...

I feel like I've been feeding the "crows" and "foxes" this whole year! It has been my pleasure - not sure I can think of anything I'd rather do, but it HAS separated me a bit from "normal" society. I have little energy left to "bid for continued inclusion". Like SylvanHome, I smile, but if you pushed me with a feather, I would tear up. Yes, I would. Yes, I DO.

Pen Wilcock said...

You - you dear ladies - are always in my prayers. xx

gail said...

I'm still here Pen, reading your words, enjoying them and thinking them through. Just enjoying the Quiet Way. Not saying much but taking it all in.
Just now, reading again The Road of Blessing. Always enjoying the way you get into the real heart of things. Allowing some readers to just skim through though, so they can say " yes I got something out of that book" and move on. But also giving words that one can delve right into as well. Understanding that there is so much more underneath if one chooses to peel back the top layers and feel the words penetrating something that has far more depth that needs to be thought through and pondered. What a gift you have.
I felt the same with the Wilderness Within. Getting to the last page and thinking "Don't stop there, I have more questions." That is a book I will pick up many more times because it just keeps giving. Enjoy your season of Quiet Pen, when all you need are the gentle creatures who enjoy a visit to your little sanctuary.
Blessings Gail.

Pen Wilcock said...

Thank you so much - what a lovely thing to say. Lifts my heart.
I have just completed and submitted to my publisher a new book which I'll blog about soon (once we have a definite cover). It flows very much along the same stream as the wilderness book and the road of blessing book - I think you'll like it. I'm not sure what the publishing schedule is but it'll probably be out late spring next year or something. xxx

Heather said...

I read you with interest - and this is particularly resonant with me. Maybe this is how women become wise - that we walk in a quiet way as we get older - watching and seeing instead of just flitting and glittering.

very nice post :))

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) xx

Marieke said...

you have this beautiful gift of creating a deeply moving atmosphere.
I was there in your garden with you, hearing the unmentioned noises, smelling the late afternoon winter sensation and it all felt so familiar...

Julie B. said...

I love all the comments your lovely readers leave. I was particularly touched by SylvanHome's love and sensitivity for her beloved dog.

You can become a crow, a fox and a sunset, but never stop being my favorite rabbit.

Ok?

Pen Wilcock said...

Hi Marieke :0) Thank you!

Julie - yes, that little dog has been so much in my mind.
Your rabbit for ever; for sure. xx

DaisyAnon said...

A bit late to this party, due to travel, but had to say:

Once again you have completely expressed my thoughts. Here ,

'I notice that as I cease to feed the contacts of human society, people lose interest, the wake closes behind the ship. For a while I am remembered, then forgotten. My face is forgotten quickly, and then my name. Like a disintegrating autumn leaf I crumble into the past, no longer a part of how things are.


It can be hard to keep my nerve and let it go, make no bid for continued inclusion. But I value solitude and peace. Crowds send me into shock.
'

Solitude I find has its own momentum just like society. It is so hard in a society to just do one thing, that one thing always seems to spawn lots of attendant obligations.

Likewise, once solitude is chosen, more and more has to drop away.

Pen Wilcock said...

Daisy, we do seem to be somewhat cast from the same mould! :0) xx