for Jamie…and a little bit for me

Yesterday was a long day.

It started out innocently enough with a blog post of my latest essay for Cozine in which I openly admit that I am not too terribly fond of human beings. Most people know this about me already. But maybe it was slightly overstated for humorous effect. Maybe. 🙂

The day continued as I watched drama unfold via blog posts on another friend’s farm a few mountain tops over. Her cow gave birth and suffered subsequent bouts of milk fever. At one point she wrote, “She is dying,” and I could feel the waves washing over me. I remember when I finally knew Deluxe was going to die. It brought back some pretty powerful feelings for me and strengthened my love for the always amazing Jamie and Co. Why are they so amazing, you ask? I will tell you why: they saved their sweet cow, Annabelle. You can read about it here and here.

But in the midst of it all, while waiting for updates on the ailing Annabelle, I felt inclined to say something. Usually this is how it happens for me. My stomach starts to turn and twist. My mind goes blank to search for polished words, little stones worn down by a sea of feelings and tumult. They make their way up into my throat and I chew on them line by line as a cow would chew her cud. Then I retch the thing onto a piece of paper, always longhand, before reading it over and over – turning the lines over my tongue, breathing them deep into my lungs and speaking them out again onto a gentle breeze until it is done. And I am finished.

At first I didn’t want to share this because my friend’s cow lived. But that is something to celebrate, not to hide away. So when I ruminate on this poem in the early morning light of a new day, I focus on the love it exudes instead of the sorrow it portrays. Maybe I feel a little bit like I wrote it to myself, like it is the glue holding my pieces together. But it also tells me that I do feel a deep love for other people, unlike my previous essay contends…ready to stand on a mountain top in the blink of an eye, every moment of every day. Love to you all. ❤

for j –

a friend is losing her cow today.
she is not hiding in the creekbed
or carelessly misplaced among the willows,
nor is she bedded down in the tallest grass
stealing away time to lick her newborn calf,
no. she is dying.
it will not be an easy death
but a welcome end to the struggle;
her weary bones relinquished unto the earth,
her eyes losing the last of their light,
the last of her fight.
her calf will call out to her
and in the absence of her reply –
that painful silence that will befall –
my friend's heart will shatter
into a thousand million tiny pieces,
scattered among the dirt
between tall blades of grass
carried off by the wind
like a silent scream that begs for reprieve.

if I was there
I would put wildflowers in her hair
and throw my arms around her
to hold the thousand million tiny pieces
together like glue.

but I am mountains away.
I cannot reach her now.
instead I walk up to the mountain tops
to let out a silent scream of my own
before waiting patiently
to catch the pieces of her
floating by on the wind,
so they may not be lost

– me


3 thoughts on “for Jamie…and a little bit for me

  1. Oh Jen, you are so dear. I thought I was all cried out, but not now. 🙂 I am sorry for bringing up deep feelings about your great loss of Deluxe. Love to you my friend. You are the most gifted wordsmith, and the dearest of the dear. -Jamie

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