Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Farm Experiment; or, Robert Frost was Right

I grew up during the seventies on a farm. It was an experiment in organic living, run by my mother. When she proposed the idea, my sister and I agreed enthusiastically. We came from a place of Charlotte's Web, where animals spoke to each other and cool stuff happened, like word webs.

And it was really amazing on the farm, although there was a lot more Poo than I expected. Baby goats (we had four - two white females like angels and two brown males called Lucifer and Beelzebub) are adorable and loads of fun. They also pee like garden hoses.
So cute! But, serious turd factories.

The farm experiment taught me several things and changed me, I think, for the rest of my life. Tennyson says, "Nature red in tooth and claw." Boy, is that the truth. Rats lay in wait for ducklings and chicks, and I won't describe the results. Roosters attacked other roosters; it's just what they do. 

Then there was Dad with the hatchet, ready to take down some fifty hens at a time to clear out space and sell Sunday dinners. We quickly learned that death was a part of life and we just had to accept it.

That lesson has stayed with me. I don't know if that is a good thing. From that point forward, death was nothing to be feared. After the farm, a pet's demise was, while very sad, also perfectly natural.

"Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things
And yield with a grace to reason
And bow and accept the end
Of a love, or a season."

Robert Frost was right.


Unknown said...

You should see the enclave of mockingbirds outside in the basin outside my window. They hunt and kill with great zeal. I always wondered why people thought Nature was so restful.

Life In A Pink Fibro said...

Lovely post. Poo and poetry all in one. :-)

Alison DeLuca said...

Thanks! I remember Audubon got grilled for painting pictures of what birds REALLY do, not just what we humans want them to do.

Red in tooth and claw!