Tuesday, January 13, 2015


We've had days and days of fog. It's called an "inversion"; warmer air sits atop the cold air on the ground like a bully, keeping all of us trapped in cold damp Oregon winter. A friend of mine declared that after many days of white sky, of white clouds laying on the fields, the air smells particularly of grey-green cooked broccoli. 

At the same time as this white-on-grey, emotion-scrubbing weather, my dear cat Patrick was fading. He was only nine and in robust health until a month ago when he began wasting away. Yesterday, a Monday, we had to put him down. After school, we held a ceremony for him with our little girls and buried him in our pet graveyard by the chickens, at the edge of the the woods. The sky was white and the fog obscured the edge of our driveway, and, even though we knew the sun was setting because of the time, we couldn't tell because the light refused to change until it was suddenly dark.

This morning, Tuesday, I helped the girls get ready for school, made their breakfasts, buckled shoes, combed hair, found coats and backpacks. After they left with their dad and I had finished by breakfast, I went out to do chores. I was trying to remember what my husband had told me about the dosing for the medication we were using to combat the Coccidia that was making some of our alpacas ill. I was making sure to pat the dog who turns inside out with joy whenever anyone looks her direction. I was trying to do anything but think about Patrick in the cold ground.

That was impossible to do when I went to the chicken coop to let the out since I had to walk right next to the pet cemetery. I wrestled with the door to the pen, picked my way to the coop through the sloppy mud, and released the hens who flew out in a flurry of feathers and squawks. I checked their water, and stepped out of the coop to see this:

Evergreen Terrace Farms' Back Acres

Now, just before lunch, the sun is blazing in a January blue sky, puffy clouds are where they belong--way, way above me. I actually smiled when a sunbeam caught me by surprise as it reflected off the pond near my house.  I'm still suffering the loss of the grand personality that used to live with me. 

He's not suffering, though. So says the sunbeam. 

Patrick and a Princess