Another layer to what they don’t tell you about farming – how you’ll learn, over and over, the hard way, to take nothing and no one for granted, and to always say goodbye.
After his two-week absence, we have determined that Moses, Grand View Farm‘s mascot and one of my best buddies, isn’t coming back.
Perhaps it’s silly or stupid to be sad about this – there are risks involved in being a barn cat, foxes and fisher cats being high on the list. Perhaps, as farmers and thus as people intimately connected to nature’s cycles, we’re heartless. Perhaps we have to be, a bit.
Or perhaps it’s okay to cry oneself to sleep because he was barely two years old, and because his brother Aaron disappeared similarly a year ago, and because we’ll miss his face staring through the porch window at us all winter, and because he lived in our hearts more than the barn, and because even though I said goodbye when I left home this summer I counted on seeing him again at Christmas.
Moses’ brother Aaron disappeared last year. The year before that we lost one of out oldest and most beloved ewes. The year before that we put down our young border collie and first family dog. There have been many more sheep and lambs lost, and our first llama along with both her children, and a second llama, and four more cats. When I was a little girl we buried countless beloved laying hens and small songbirds in the side meadow. I was nine years old when our first cat, Tia, with whom I had grown up, disappeared.
My sister and I walked our long dirt road for hours, knocking on doors and handing index cards with our phone number and Tia’s face drawn on them to the neighbors. I was convinced she’d come back.
I’ve learned better by now – once it’s been three days they’re never coming back, though my fool’s hope still lingers. Mourn, and move on. No amount of love or wishing can bring something back once it’s been lost.
That’s another thing they don’t teach you about farming – wishes can’t turn back time.
But good memories? Close your eyes. They can.