Tuesday, December 1, 2020

A Painful Loss

On Sunday evening as Jax and I were hiking back to the lodge from Hurrah Pass guests checking in to the female hogan came by and I gave them directions to the lodge and Michelle took them over. When Jax and I got up to the lodge it was just about dark and the male hogan showed up. Jax and I got in the truck and took them to the male hogan. I turned around to drive back and at the crest of the hill just past the No Trespassing gate I saw something lying in the road. I stopped and got out. It was a dead small ringtail and it's body was very warm. I picked it up and put it in the truck with Jax and I. One of us ran over her as she was crossing the road. She would have been impossible to see as she was just as your tires go over the hill and start down. It could have been me.

In the kitchen I held her in my arms and felt her warmth against my chest as if she was still alive. My knees buckled as I just slid down the drawers behind me onto the floor. I took a deep breath and couldn't exhale. When I finally did tears came with it. Jax licked me in the face, then the ringtail, then me, trying to take the tears away. There were too many. He understood.

A lot of things die out here and have short life spans so I appreciate them for as long as I can. For the porch critters who I get to know quite well throwing them hot dogs and even hand feeding many when no one is here, these are my friends. Elsewhere people have friends over for football games or dinner or well maybe they don't do that stuff anymore with face masks and all. To me these are those people. Little people but friends for sure. It's a compliment that the mothers have their babies close to here being more protected and have a food source until they can fend for themselves so I see them a few days after they are born and follow their lives growing up on the porch. Occasionally I'll see them while hiking. These are my friends who come over each night for the hot dog show and entertain guests. If you've stayed here recently I think this is the one that is always trying to figure out where to hide her hot dogs. Already practicing her future motherly instincts to feed babies later. That won't happen now and there won't be her kids to entertain us in the years to come. One of the two smaller ones. Her brother has showed up the last two nights. She has not.

In the morning I buried her with Jax looking on next to the little fox, my frienemy, Hole 8 and back porch hawks, baby skunk the raccoons killed, a white tailed antelope squirrel that drown in the cistern, and the duck a hawk snatched out of the pond and left on the tee to hole #2 on the original course. In the wildlife versus wildlife and now versus people cemetery. I will miss her.

1 comment:

Sylvia said...

Sorry for your loss Tom! I remember you helping me to catch a little lizard and you let me bring it into the house and he hung out in my hair before we put him back where we found him. you were so patient I wanted to give up, but you kept talking to him and we got him for a little visit. I couldn't believe a wild animal would go for it.