Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary, 17 Barker Road, Lebanon, CT, 06249

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Majestic Diary

August 6, 2008

I sent this email to my dear friend Mary yesterday:

Yesterday was an extremely difficult day, embedded within sleepless nights and dawning on another mournful day. Going outside this a.m. and not carrying Glory out to her favorite spot… it’s so empty without her here. I will never forget her spirit—so alive.  So real and so strong. Different than any other.  And I held her in my hands every day for the past year and seven months. Every single day. This morning my hands felt raw without her in them. The feeling of her fluff between her fingers as we “flew” together to the pond or to her nest. How weak her wings became this past week. I looked down at where she used to sleep in the barn and saw an empty space instead and reached down to it and tried to imagine holding her in my hands again. I walked down to The Courtyard pond and let her fly from my hands into the water the way we used to. And I cried. And I can’t stop crying. And then I see Elijah who is struggling to walk, and the medicine is making him sick and he isn’t getting any better and right in front of me is more of this same pain—still here. In front of my eyes. And I feel so helpless against it. I can’t do it again, Mary. I just can’t. But I know I have to, and I don’t know how. I set Glory’s little drinking bowl near Elijah today, so he won’t have to go far to drink.

I've decided to bury Glory's ashes beneath her favorite shade tree by The Courtyard pond, beside her nest of hay that I refreshed every day for her. That's where she should be.

I still have Destiny's ashes and Joven's ashes in tins inside our house. Perhaps it is time to return them to their flock as well...

When I was growing up and lost animals that were so dear to me I thought my heart would split in half, my mother would tell me that God takes our animal friends away because they have all the love they needed while here on Earth and because there are other animals out there who are desperately waiting for their turn at that love. God makes that space for us and for them. 

I’ve always held those words close to my heart. We heal them and they heal us. Yes, there will be more behind Glory and yes it will devastate me every time, but while they are here, I am going to soak up every bit of them and breathe them into my soul.

I keep checking on Miri. She was kind of keeping to herself yesterday. I couldn’t bear it anymore, so I took a bucket and went out into the streambeds and raked over leaves and picked up a few hundred nightcrawlers. Back to the pens. I gave everyone in the other pens a few and then went to the ladies pen I pulled out handful upon handfuls of them and scattered them all around while six hens gathered at my feet, Elijah escaped the madness and went to the pond after a few bites and poor miss Miri stood by herself.

But I would not give up. I kept throwing the worms around her and she finally gave in and started eating them all up and wagging her tail and waiting for more. After they were all gone, I kept making eye contact with her and wiggling my hand at her (mimicking the way a drake courts with his head and neck) and she kept looking at me and wagging her tail and smiling.  I’m sure I saw a smile. And I began to realize that in all the time Miri and Glory were here, Glory always drew our mutual attention. We always walked behind her to make sure she was okay (which she always was, the strong little bugger) and I always put a bowl of water down in front of Glory, which she hated and would walk over to the regular water—wanting to be just like everyone else. In the year and 7 months they have both been here, Glory always pulled my focus and Miri's too. I have always loved Miri, but I have never taken full advantage of the opportunity to know her.

And now there we were… together… at this strange bridge. Where we looked at each other and begin to see each other for the first time. And then she sat under one of the small trees near the pond and we looked at each other for the longest time. And then a worm fell out of the branch and onto her bill then down to the ground. And she ate it with this surprised where did that come from look. I smiled and said, “that was from Glory.”  Sure it may have landed in the little tree by accident while tossing them to Miri, but Glory timed its falling just right a little while later.

And so I retired Miri yesterday. She officially became a permanent Majestic duck. She will never be adopted out. I left the pen for a bit and smiled and wiggled my hand at her the whole way and she watched me and I saw the look of hope come into her eyes again. We are going to become good friends, she and I.

And when Glory’s ashes come home, I will bury her under her favorite tree—in Miri’s pen. And we will all be together again. 

Come join us, Miri...



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