by Sara Yurt
Itís a boon to have grown up surrounded by nature. Over the course of my life, Iíve come to understand the order of things: there is life and there is death, and we all dance the dance until we canít anymore.
But sometimes itís hard to accept death. There are the little deaths we experience every day, and the big ones that lend us the scars weíll carry the rest of our lives. We humans donít do terribly well with endings. Thereís a darkness that comes at an end, and that gives us a little shiver, a little swallow of fear. And so we resist.
Some of us just donít want to let go of our children as they grow and demand space like sweet saplings. Some of us simply canít let go of an old love, even after the relationship has come to an end. And some of us hold on desperately to the memory of the lost, the departed, in fear that we may lose some part of ourselves should we relax just a fraction.
Do you know who Iím writing this for? Iíll bet youíre thinking itís for a lost love, or a parent. But Iím writing this for a turkey named Steve. Sometimes nature just suckerpunches you and sends a fox to kill the bird you raised from babyhood. I found her body on the edge of the property and sat down on the ground and cried long and hard. Then I got up, collected her sleeping form, and buried her. You have to be practical on a farm.
While I was digging, I began to think. Slowly but surely, a little gem of truth emerged. I realized that part of life is learning to let the wind push you this way and that, but to still keep on your feet. This might have been a gift, albeit a veiled one. Because Steve was killed, the other turkeys are safer. I know how to better protect them. And isnít that the way of life? Thereís always a dark side to the light; you canít have one without the other.
Death is all around us, if we look. Itís there in the mouldering leaves at our feet. Itís there in the single bird wing framed by a smear of blood on the porchóremnants of what was surely the catís first breakfast. Itís there even in the almond tree. It weeps sap from wounds bored into its tender flesh, holes created by the cutting mouths of larvae. I see it there in the scarred earth that has opened up to embrace one more sleeping body.
And yet, there is life. The leaves become the black soil from which springs ineffable green. The birds watch the cat warily, all whilst planning their nests and eggs to come. Even as the almond cries, it produces a spray of sugar flowers. The grateful ground sighs a ďthank youĒ as she transforms flesh to roots and stalk, bones to flowers.
We may weep for those whom we cannot reclaim, even though they may have passed peacefully and without pain. Thereís no shame in feeling sadness because something good came to an end. Itís okay to bite our lips and feel fear of the unknown. Itís okay. Weíre human. Feeling keenly is how we know weíre alive. Or how I know, at any rate.
So when life catches you out in the rain, know that itís not always so bad. Accept it. Say ďYes!Ē and have a little dance. Youíll dry.
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