death and life

Death and life


 At a little past four in the morning
the door to the wood storage area under the oven
slammed hard against the stone wall
as a leopard silently dragged Claire
away from her puppies

 Everyone on the farm awoke
and wondered what had happened

 At sunrise the puppies were found alone
and leopard tracks were seen
here and there

 She must have been sleeping

And none of the other dogs
barked a warning

They must all have been sleeping

 The leopard is rather stealthy

 The other dogs don’t seem very upset

 They must understand
that everything comes and goes
And rather than be sad
because of a loss
they delight in what they have

 They’re like the characters in Aki Kaurismäki’s films
They accept life as it comes
and live free of drama

It is what it is
No point in complaining

 Crows don’t take death so well
I once found a dead crow near my hut
and I picked it up and took it to the rubbish pit
All along the way
about forty other crows crowed loudly in protest
I think they thought I had killed their friend

 One of the puppies also died last night
and we’re going to bury her near the yoga hut
and plant a tree on top of her grave

 I’d like to have a tree on top of my grave too

 So would I

 Cemeteries are kind of cold and depressing

 And they take up a lot of space

With all the people on the planet,
all the cemeteries are going to fill up pretty soon

 Cremating is not much better
Too many trees are cut down
for funeral pyres

 It would be much nicer to plant forests

It would be nice to visit our friends
who have departed
in a beautiful place
full of life

 We can give the puppies buffalo milk

 Like when Susi was a baby boar
and had been abandoned by her mother

 I’ll prepare a new bed for the puppies in the kitchen

 I’ll warm up some milk

 Claire was a good dog

 And a good mother

 And a good meal for the leopard

The leopard keeps the dog population
at a sustainable level

 And it keeps the boars under control too

 The planet could use something
to keep the human population at a sustainable level

It’s kind out of control at the moment

 It would be nice if people stopped breeding mindlessly

 One can always adopt

There are plenty of children without parents
No need to make more


 I haven’t seen any boars around lately
except for Susi

 I think they’re waiting for Peter
to plant more peanuts

And the monkeys are waiting
for the bananas to ripen

 Me too

Naturally-ripened bananas are the best


 The monkeys are pretty cool

When they’re not taking the bananas

 Or the mangos

 Or the papayas

 They’re a lot like us

Not much difference
I saw one picking flowers the other day
and then eating them

 The butterfly pea flowers taste pretty good

 I like them too

 I saw one of the crocodiles yesterday
It was lying on a boulder near the river

 We’re lucky the crocodiles around here
don’t eat people

Both the leopards and the crocodiles
leave us alone

 The cobras leave us alone too

 As long as we are mindful of what we do
and where we step,
and if we give them some space

 If we leave them alone,
they leave us alone

I haven’t seen any of the bears around lately

 Me either

 But I found a dead scorpion in my room the other night
And it was missing an arm

 I wonder what killed it?

 Maybe a bigger scorpion

 I saw an orange one in the stack of wood
near the fire pit

 I saw some bright red dragonflies
above the swimming pool
Really little ones

 There’s a frog hanging out in the shower

 It’s probably resting
The frogs were singing all night last night
with the crickets and the toads

they’re back
I think they were on tour for a while

 The bats over near my hut
screeched all night
They’ve been eating those little berries
in the big tree by the haystack

 One of the water buffalo
was singing for a while last night too

She’s in heat

 Water buffalo are cool

They’re super mellow and friendly

 The ducks are cool too

They quack really quietly

 And they’re friendly


 The geese are really loud

 And unfriendly

 And super stubborn

The other day when they were making their rounds
they wanted to pass between two huts
and I happened to be standing in their way
Rather than go around me,
they squawked until I moved out of the way
There was plenty of room
for them to pass by,
but they wanted to have
the space to themselves

 Maybe they were afraid

People who are loud
are often afraid
of not being noticed

And people who are quiet
don’t feel the need to attract attention

 Some people are like geese

 And some are like ducks

 I prefer ducks

 Me too

 Do you think those black and yellow centipedes bite?

 I’m not sure
They haven’t bitten me yet

 The orange and blue colored ones
look a bit more aggressive

You don’t want to mess with them

 Did you see the owls yesterday morning?
They were both on the branch behind Hanuman House

but I saw one of them about an hour ago
It was perched on the roof
of Shiva House

 Have you seen the new cluster of bees,
the one behind the kitchen?

They just moved there a few days ago

 The bees in the eucalyptus tree over by the bicycle shed
have been making a lot of honey
I can smell it every time I walk by

 Me too,
especially in the early morning
and the late afternoon

 Have you seen the jumping ants?

They jump down from trees and land on you
if you stand still long enough

 Some of them swing on spider-like threads
like Tarzan

I call those ones tarzants

 A python has been using the road that goes to the village
Yesterday I saw a deep wavy line etched in the dirt
It went from just inside the gate
to about a third of the way to the crossroad

 I wonder if it was coming or going

 I hope it was going

 Me too

 I wouldn’t mind the darshan of a cobra,
but I don’t think I’d feel very comfortable around a python

 Me either,
but if we meet,
I think we’ll manage somehow

if it’s meant to be,
it’ll happen,
and whatever happens will be okay


 Cobras are pretty mellow

It’s possible to share a space with them

 Just don’t knock down an abandoned termite mound
or lie on a haystack

They like to hang out in places like that

 Just then
the donkey began to bray

 Maybe he wants some flowers

 Let’s get some for him


 And so the two friends went to pick some flowers
for the donkey to eat

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 A few orange-breasted woodpeckers
flew overhead
and landed in a mango tree
while a flock of parrots
headed towards the cashew grove

 Three brown sheep,
a ram, a ewe and their lamb,
made their way to the meadow next to the citrus grove,
accompanied by the old man
who shepherded them,
and some black and red butterflies
fluttered around
the lavender hibiscuses

 Susi was let of the pen
that she shared with Youssef the camel
and went on her morning walk in the woods

 All of the other animals were let out as well,
and they began their walk
down to the river
where they could run and play
for a few hours
before returning for lunch

 Youssef led the way,
followed by the Ganesh the bull,
his harem of cows and his children,
and then all of the water buffalos
and finally the donkey

 Camels are noble creatures

 And elegant

 Ganesh looks pretty strong

 I think he could knock down a stone wall
if he wanted to


 I think it’s time
to bury the puppy
and plant a tree

let’s go

 And so the two friends
made their way
over to the freshly-dug grave
with flowering plants and a tree
to mark the resting place

 ♫ ♫ ♫