Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My silent sentinel


My beloved peacock PaPa passed away last week. He was a gift to me from my grandfather and I feel lucky that he was able to live out the last of his long life in the comfortable retirement of the ranch.

Having only so recently lost another ranch icon, my red rooster, I realize how different my relationship with PaPa was - he didn't have any silly antics. He was just a quiet, ethereal figure that was always there silently watching from the background. Reminded me of an old grandfather watching the children at play, never judging or interfering, just present. Observant. Comforting. On the morning I went in to labor with Thora before we left the ranch, PaPa gave a yowl at the break of dawn, heralding her arrival. That moment will forever be special to me.

The morning after he died, we had a huge windstorm. We keep a collection of his feathers we find sprinkled around the ranch in the summers in a container near the front door. They flap around in the weather no matter rain, sleet or snow but always stay put. During the windstorm all the feathers blew out and scattered across the lawn. One long iridescent feather blew up next to the front door - its' "eye" peering in the door. One last grandfatherly check to see that I was OK, to let me know he was OK too. I didn't know he had passed yet but the sight still made me burst into tears.

I don't think he was sick, just old and it was his time. He found a warm spot in the sand under Lloyd's porch, tucked his head under his wing, went to sleep and never woke up - a good death to end his good life of 27 or so years. When Nathan found him he looked just like he did when he curled up asleep in the sun under the rose bush.

We gave him an honorific burial - set him on a pyre of branches and left him to the sky. His new feathers were in full glory, so shiny and meticulously managed, ready for the coming breeding season. I know that for years to come I will find his feathers sprinkled across the ranch, caught in fences, tangled in the grass, woven into nests. It will be sad I know, but will be just another reminder that special friends are always in our hearts no matter how long ago they departed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So sad. I like that guy.


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