Monday, August 01, 2005
Wallpaper and Death
I've been working at steaming off the old wall paper in the house, getting it ready to paint. It's very absorbing. Other thoughts do not intrude on a mind glutted with the hissing of steam, the smell of wallpaper glue, and the feel of damp strips of paper yielding to the scraper. Hours pass in contented oblivion and at the end of the day something tangible has been accomplished.
Another tragedy in the chicken house--some predator got inside and killed one of the chickens night before last. I found poor Adah when I went to let them out yesterday, dead and somewhat mangled. I realized that I had to deal with the body myself this time, accepting that the last catastrophe was not an isolated incident. I put Adah in a plastic bag and placed her unceremoniously in the trash can. Today I put another bag of trash in on top of her, feeling squeamish and disrespectful. The truth is, though, I have never been able to associate a corpse with the living being it once was. If I did, the indignity of death would cause me untold suffering. I would experience such embarrassment for the living creature that it would supercede more conventional reactions that I want to nurture.
I imagined that whatever murderer entered the chicken house did so because I thwarted its attempts to get at the feed bag in the outer shed. I had rigged a bungee cord to hold the doors closed, since so much feed was being eaten during the nights. I plugged up every possible entrance point that I could find and last night I left the doors open and the fence down, hoping to entice whatever animal that killed Adah. I would much rather have it eating the feed than the chickens. Apparently my ploy worked, since this morning the feed bag was observably ransacked and the chickens were all alive. As for Adah---well, I feel awful that I was unable to protect her and she had to experience such a terrible death.