On My Reading List

#36- Nature- ‘On Animals’ by Susan Orlean, 2021.

“We went to the farm one last time to clear it out for the new owners. It was a hard goodbye. I’d always dreamed that someday I would have animals all around me, in the house, in the yard, watching me in the garden, dotting the landscape, crowing in the morning, lowing in the moonlight, barking at the wind, and I had had that there. I had reveled in the animals’ friendship and their strangeness; the way they are so obvious and still mysterious; their colors and textures, their fur and feathers; the sounds and smells of their presence. I liked the way their needs set the rhythm of every day, and how caring for them felt elemental and essential. Living among them, as I had on the farm, was just as satisfying as I imagined it would be.

When the house was emptied, I took one last walk around. As I made my way through the trees and across the fields and down to where the coop had been, I collected a few things that could remind me of the farm forever and perhaps betoken some place in my future that would feel the way it had: a piece of quartz, a pine cone, a knob of moss, and one perfect chicken feather.”

Note- My husband and I have recently sold our own farm and are in the midst of packing up our belongings. Our emotions are raw. The hardest thing for me was knowing my donkeys were not taking the journey with us and the new owners had no interest in them. I called every person I knew and didn’t know until I found some compassionate people to adopt them. The donkeys are still here until the trailer and its driver come. I picture it in my mind how painful that day will be. How frightened they will be in the confinements of the trailer. And how I will cry watching them depart.

(Photos- Martha Browne)