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“Bittersweet Moments”

Tonight I lay in bed, bundled into a burrito of blankets to ward off the chill that heralds another dusting of snow tonight.  I have not livened the wood stove yet and the air in my tiny home is growing crisp.

I’ve been sad tonight.  Pointedly, I’ve been mourning the loss of so many animal friends over the last few years.  Part of my radical transition and move this fall was due to revelations about the mysterious, continual occurrence of animal poisonings in recent years.  These cruel attacks have tortured and damaged and killed my animals.  I combatted everything I could, but I couldn’t save them all.

Tonight, Mario’s death weighs heavily upon me.  My dear Mario disappeared back in July 2019, a week after the fourth known poisoning attempt on my mountain paradise farm.  Though I thwarted that initial attempt, I know now why he disappeared soon after.  I held out hope for 2 years that maybe he’d come home again someday, not yet understanding his demise.
But I know now.  And so now I mourn, and I let myself accept and embrace that bitter closure.  Mario the Cat died the same way Peaches the Pig died 5 months before him, the same way his sister Nova, Aster the Goat, and Mili the Dog nearly died over the years.  Mario was poisoned like so many other animals on my farm.

As I mourn and I process these realities and changes tonight, his sister Nochi wormed her way into my cozy blanket-burrito.  Her softly undulating purring adds another layer of comfort to her warm aura beside me.  Little kitty space heaters, I call them.  I can’t see her in the folds of bedding, but she’s here with me.  And as another wave of sadness sweeps over me, a silky black paw reaches out from the velvety-backed sherpa throw.

Nochi held her paw out for a moment, waiting expectantly, the rest of her body hidden from sight.  I rearranged myself and took her outstretched paw in my palm.  We held hands silently for a few minutes- something me and my cats have always done.   I squeezed her paw, she squeezed back.  Mario was the most instant on holding hands with me; he would often sleep near me, one paw stuffed into my limply closed palm all night long.

I am reminded tonight of how precious these moments and relationships are.  It makes the sting of the evil done to my animals even more bitter.  I left Montana for their safety, but I left behind many who did not survive.

The only poisonings I chose to write about here were  those that I initially did not suspect to be intentional, and also those that I was able to treat successfully.  I’ve mused about revisiting those anecdotes and amending them with the grim truth, but for now it’s interesting to read my writing from that perspective of obliviousness.

Over time I may write more about what happened.  For now it’s still raw and shocking.

I’m reading a book a new friend lent me:  “Goat Song”, by Brad Kessler.  It takes me to thoughts of what could have been, and what might still be in my life.  Most of my animal friends are still with me.  If we survive these stormy seas of transition together, perhaps we will all get a second chance at the haven I sought to create back in Montana.  For now we are still sailing under that haunting shadow of evil, but our sights are fixed on the horizon where the promise of new friends, new adventures, and new lands await us as the storm passes.


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