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6 lbs. warm

** trigger warning: sad animal story **


6 lbs. warm, wrapped in a soft cloth, just dancing and running in circles earlier today. Putting this 4-week-old baby pig to sleep for an illness she was likely born with, stirred up some core mother fury in me.


I’ve held this warmth and shape before. The still, soft weight, so recently deserted that you can swear there may still be a pulse, breath or heartbeat. In some instances it’s the weight of infinite love and boundless possibility. Under other circumstances its the weight of the all the heaviness in the world, all that is so far beyond comprehension or control. 6 lbs. warm.


Time slows during birth and death. Even as bystanders, perceptive awareness comes and goes, wavering between dumbstruck numbness and hyper vigilant, raw sensitivity. In this suspension of time, the bustle and noise of life falls into the background, a dim echo.


Watching a new baby’s eyes first open to see a new world and the moment of forgetting everything that came before. Being with someone while they slowly slip away without knowing when it will come. And the abrupt departures as well.


It can feel like being at the center of a buzzing, swirling vortex, in that space of total stillness. The other side seems somehow closer, like the veil between worlds is thinner, and there is a sneaking feeling that this is all a horrifying sci-fi matrix video game, or beautiful gut wrenching poetry, or both.


3 weeks with baby pig and we buried her in the garden today, with so much love. As if she were mine.


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Pretext:

We have a little pig we found in the bushes in front of our art studio. She wakes up every morning the same time we do, furry ears backlit like a halo of light around her curious baby face, excited for milk and oats and bits of strawberries.


She hates baths and being picked up and falls over with happiness with a belly scratch. We just learned she has to be put down.


I wasn’t sure what we were going to do with a feral pig that has an average lifespan of 18-20 years and may grow to be 300 lbs +. But we LOVE her and waiting for her to be euthanized in a couple of days has me thinking.

written 05.04.24

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