Birth and Death

In the cycles of life are birth and death; points between, milestones, emerge as well, but we often look to these two big points for our deeper meaning even as it is found day to day.

I began my morning in the barn.  Sometime last night our goat, Hannah, gave birth to three babies.  Initially we thought there were two for it was the two does that were dry and romping about the stall learning to steady their legs, heads butting everything in sight as they sought to connect that action to ultimately the one that would find them nursing their mothers full udder.

Kids will butt their mother’s udder to get the milk flowing, but then they need to learn to suckle.  There is something so comical about them attempting to nurse on everything in sight.  But then in the joys of those awkward first moments I noticed what I thought was a placenta in the corner.  My mother said it couldn’t be so I looked closer and found a dead kid.  In disbelief she came over and looked: we discovered the little pile of fur was a still wet, and now cold, buck.  Two are more common than three so we weren’t looking for that body even though eventually I found it.  When it had died or why was uncertain.

When we had gone to the barn it was to  find two dry and bumbling kids so it was clear the death had been past for a bit of time and it is possible the baby didn’t live at all. It is the why it died that has me writing now.  You see I did the final barn check last night.  Looking to see if Hannah’s plug had been released and checking for restlessness and motion that belies labor at 10PM that night.  I was certain when I looked that she was not yet ready and we’d see the babies in the morning.  A true thought, but not in the way I imagined.

In the overcast dewy morning, my sneakers soaking as I walked to the barn; my mothers prolonged absence from the house beckoning: I was needed.

When I found the buck I knew he was dead.  The situation was past the point of help.  As my mother picked the dead baby up I felt the urge to do something. I wanted to.  What if I should have tried?  Then I wondered if I should have noticed something the previous evening. There had been nothing to notice.  After playing with the new babies, one of whom I’ve named Violet and the other Poison Ivy, I felt guilt for not attending the little bundle of darkness that I saw in the corner.

As I’ve gone on to continue the day I’m pondering death and why we hold on even when new life is clearly continuing and bursting forth.  Instead worry about my actions, blame, and sadness had come up.

This weekend at Hospitality Sweet Retreat, I was speaking with Lori Darley, author of Dance Naked (which I’ll be picking up to read because a book on conscious leadership written by a dynamic and engaging woman is irresistible,) and I had some inspiring discussion about the Karpman Drama Triangle and here, just a day later, I’m trying to place myself in all three roles simultaneously.  But to move forward it isn’t about being a persecutor, rescuer, or victim; there are other ways of managing what comes in life.

I’m seeking that transcending space where that little lost life has meaning and where I can find calm in the storm of emotions that are brought up by its death.  I imagine that escaping the circle has to do with harnessing the energy released upon death or a challenging experience and transforming it into food for growth and am hoping that talking with Lori will further illuminate what she has found on the topic.



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