Most of the animals we keep were acquired when our children were young.
Our oldest animal, a goat (The Old Lady), died at the ripe old age of eleven just a few months after Hans left us. She was one of our original breeding stock and was a sensible and reliable animal. But one day the old gal just couldn’t get up any more. She was healthy, still enjoyed a day in the sunshine, but she was done and she let us know it. Just a goat, but another break with The Way Things Used To Be.
A few months later our buck, whom we never did name, who gave us mostly little bucklings just like himself, and on whom the whole operation depended, turned up dead in his pen one crisp fall morning with no explanation. Just old and unwilling to face another winter I guess. So, Rosebud (The Old Lady’s daughter – sleek, spunky, and psychologically unbalanced), is the only resident ruminant on the place now. And that’s fine with her – she likes the extra attention. However, for some odd reason, she did not conceive this season. We are blaming the old buck, though I cannot believe a male goat ever loses his vigor no matter how old he is.
Then the rabbits started dying, one by one. I had forgotten that when we brought them home, we were still driving the old Custom Cruiser station wagon which was our main vehicle when the children were growing up. Hans was very attached to “The Cruiser” and planned on restoring it someday. He made a fairly good start on the rust repair some years ago, but then moved on to other things. Sometimes I look through the clouded windows at the empty plush maroon seats. There is junk in it from that last trip to town, still on the floor, and the seat belts are flung here and there like they were just unbuckled by sticky little hands.
With most of us working the seasonally frantic Alaskan summer schedule, we did not fish or hunt moose last year – a serious blow to the meat supply – so we had to purchase meat from a farmer, a whole cow and pig, instead. Hans was so excited about getting that beef, meat acquired without him having to slog around in the wet underbrush on a frigid morning. “I can’t wait to eat those steaks” – he must have said it daily during the months we waited for the farmer’s call to come pick up our meat. And he did call, a few days before the crash. The last meal I cooked for Hans was pork chops – he never did get his steak; not one bite from that cow after all those months of waiting. The farmer had custom packaged everything for a family of six. Six steaks, six chops, etc. in each package. So, for a whole year after Hans left us, we had one extra steak. It was strange to see it laying there on the platter at the end of a meal, another silent reminder of The Way Things Used To Be.
We lost a couple chickens over the winter, which is not unusual, but a loss just the same. And the regular local moose performed a severe and unwelcome pruning job on my roses, including the ones I planted at Hans’ resting place. The cat walked off one day and never came back. And our dog, our daughter’s dog, actually, has a few gray hairs and is beginning to move a little slower. I would rather not lose the dog any time soon.
Then our daughter moved out – not far, just down the highway – but now there are two empty beds in the house instead of the one. Not a problem, just emptiness where sweet treasure used to sleep.
So we are in the midst of some changes right now. Some big, some smaller. All under the complete control of our loving Lord. I am definitely sensing that one season of life is drawing to a close and another is beginning. I have never been a big fan of change, especially major ones. Change can be unsettling and is often inconvenient. But after giving Hans back to the Lord, most of these changes barely register on my Richter scale.
I do not know what the Lord has planned for us. I rest in the fact that He is God and He knows what He is doing. I began this journey without knowing all the twists and turns it may involve. But my Captain knows all. I do not need to fret or peer over His shoulder to make sure He is on the right course.
I am just along for the ride wherever He takes me.
I trust the Captain.
Because I know Him.
And He knows me.
This is peace.