Posted 11 months ago on April 2, 2013, 8:09 p.m. EST by ZenDog
from South Burlington, VT
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
The second of April brought snow squalls early in the morning. By 7:30 the sky was low and dark, white flakes swirled in an angry fog as I hooked up the trailer. Leaving the yard the radio announcer said route 2 was closed between Shunpike and Brownell roads. A tractor trailer had slid off the road and into the deep ravine that is Muddy Brook. It took a couple or three hours to clean up the mess.
By the time I was pulling into Mallets Bay the sun was out, and the pavement almost dry, but they hadn't had as much snow - barely a dusting. But you could see the marks alongside Severance Road where cars had slid off and into the ditch just an hour or two earlier.
I picked up a ton of pellets for the stove, turned around and headed home. Got them all stacked inside by 11, turned around and gassed up at the corner store, dropped the pallet off at the dump, it was busted up from the forklift as it was loaded, no good for anything but chips now. But none of the bags of pellets had been harmed, and now they were all safe inside.
At 1 pm I fired up the backhoe, got out the tongs, hooked them on the bucket, and began moving eight foot logs closer to the rows of stacked sixteen inch chunks. The closer the logs are to the stack, the less distance I have to carry the blocks. Each log has six blocks, and some of them were big. The big ones I rolled into place, and the small ones I stacked on top.
Somewhere in there I grabbed a bite to eat, came back and finished up. It was the last of my loads of logs. The last cord of blocks. I stacked the last of it, and leaned back on the row, my arm resting on top.
I had been looking forward to that last cord of blocks. Don't know why. It means now there is a ton of splitting to be done.
As I leaned there, enjoying the satisfaction of the end of that chore, I could hear dog tags jingle.
It was the neighbor ladies, strolling out of the field and across the driveway, past the garden, led by the two hounds, looking my way with interest. I petted the mongrels, the ladies and I chatted, the wind blew cold, and then they headed home.
I took the saw inside, and hadn't got ten minutes into the news, when the phone rang. It was the neighbor ladies. We had just been chatting about her horse out by the wood pile. When she got home, it was down, and not getting up.
The vet was on the way. Would I dig a hole?
The horse is gone now. Buried under a few feet of dirt. Buried, like Rasta, my other neighbor's dog, Joe and Duffer, a husky I loved and a beagle I didn't.
The surviving horse ran around the coral until it was lame, I stopped digging a couple of times and just held the bucket up by the edge of the hole, in case I needed to shoe the horse away from the edge, and my neighbor stood with her arms out. She finally hooked a lead on the harness once the nervous animal got tired.
The carcass slid into the hole, the dirt went back over top, and I dressed up the area best I could in near darkness. The surviving horse was still nervous, pacing, a bit lame. Didn't seem right, packing the dirt with the bucket, then driving over top. But that's the way it was, the way it had to be. The surviving horse is going to paw at that fresh dug grave.
She's alone now, and doesn't understand, but that is what awaits us all. The flesh will rot in the ground, or burn to ash in the undertaker's incinerator.
Once, I pickled apples from the crab apple tree, ran to the end of the lawn, through the brush and over the stone wall to the woods road so I could cut them both off and lead them home, with the scent of fresh picked crab apple an inch from their nose. Don't know how they got loose that day.
He was the one I led home, she followed behind. Now he's gone and she will be alone. That's just the way it is.
None of us gets out alive.