Well, little by little you realise that the simple formula of nature is that the more animals you have around, the likelier you are to experience death much more frequently. The last thing I wanted to be doing on a Friday after work was lifting the dead weight of our two lovely ducks (gifted to us by the previous owners and with us for nearly 2 years now) into sacks, but that’s what I did. I am quite girly about dead animals. I can handle a dead mouse, dead possum, dead chicken … but ducks have a different weight that tells you that you are handling a ‘being’ – that’s probably not the right word, but it describes the exact feeling.
The chickens at the moment are not able to free range because of the wily fox last seen a few weeks ago now. Although the chicken run is large, it’s not right to keep ducks within it, and with a few days of warmer weather I had decided to take a risk and let them out for the day so that they could get onto the ponds.
I’m not going to write too much about the circumstances in which they died, because it’s speculative – I didn’t see what happened or when but I chased off a domesticated dog that isn’t ours. I’m not going to write about it here as I’m just writing to purge my fragile thoughts so that I can get on with my weekend. Of course part of my fragility is down to my own decision to let them out for a swim. There’s guilt there that will ache for a while.
Anyway, I thought I was cool about disposing of the bodies, talked to the chickens while I was doing it to distract myself, busied myself doing weird stuff I didn’t feel like doing (I baked some cookies! – why??????) … but then – the inevitable. In a tsunami of sadness whilst cooking falafels (pretty inconvenient) I realised that distraction is sometimes not the best approach.
It was strange, to have such a delayed dose of freaking out later on, but I felt much better for it, even though the falafels and the cookies came off worse, in an inedible sense. 😉
At least I can now get back to my normal self and be analytical and philosophical about duck death. There are no more ducks now.
Plus, it’s just another learning curve, and next time I have to ‘feel’ the weight of something dead, I’m sure it will probably be a bigger animal again, and I’ll wonder why I felt so haunted about the ducks – and haunted I am. I can’t get the image of how I found them out of my head. It just seemed tragic to see such beautiful animals, that I associate with wildness and freedom and flight, instead inanimate and cold-eyed.