A matter of life and death

This week, an old horse who has been living as a companion to my horse Talisman for the last few months, is being put to sleep. He’s reached the ripe old age of 36 and is now quite disorientated. He also has poor eyesight and has gone off his food, so it doesn’t seem right to put him through another winter. A decision was reached with his 80 year old owner that this was the best way forward.


When the vet comes to him later this week, it’s possible that one of my feral cats might also have to be put down. I have become very fond of Lomax 1* (who has moved me to tears on more than one occasion recently). As with 7 other ferals that have taken up residence here, I trapped this magnificent black cat about a year ago in order to get him neutered. When I returned home with him, he did a runner (I can’t blame him after the trauma of being taken from the wild into a car, to a town and into the vet’s full of strange people and smells and animals in distress). He reappeared three months ago in a dreadful state.

At first, I thought he had been attacked by something bigger than him. He hid in the barn and just came out to be fed. He was very talkative but in a distressed sort of way. I took pictures for the vet who thought he might have an extreme allergic reaction and he was put on anti-inflammatories.


But after much research it seemed likely to me that he had ringworm. By this time, I was able to make a fuss of him when he came to feed and, wearing gloves, apply lotions and potions to his sores. Of course, I then had to disinfectant the whole area (which was also my feed room) and try to keep the other cats away, as ringworm is highly contagious to animals and humans. We are still in this routine and I am his sole companion. He spends the whole day and night sitting or sleeping on the highest rafters in the ancient barn to keep himself safe and I have been putting an array of homeopathic remedies in his food.


Ringworm goes away on its own after three to four months and we have reached this point. While he did improve a little, he is now deteriorating and is a sorry sight with sores from head to tail. So, it occurred to me that something else was going on which was serious and, having consulted the vet again, she agreed. He is struggling to get down from the rafters as he is weak and isn’t as talkative as previously. What a brave little chap he is to have trusted me to try to help. I feel so sorry for him but will have to wait for the vet’s verdict.

So all this got me pondering about the cycle of life and death. A large proportion of the world’s population especially on the Indian subcontinent believe, without any shadow of a doubt, in re-incarnation. It’s fundamental to their lives and their religions. The situation is, of course, very different in the West where this is a minority view, though one which makes perfect sense to me.

Today, I mused on the wonderful autumn colours glistening in the sun (browns, yellow, gold, copper and some traces of green) in the copse at the bottom of the valley, as I enjoyed my daily fix of coffee and cake in the garden, in the freezing cold – though the scene was worth it. In the foreground was my pear tree, now stripped of it’s blossom and fruit and bare to the bone (or bark). An irony occurred to me. All over the world, people love the autumn colours yet, in fact, they are the colours of death. The beauty of life vanishes and once the leaves fall, the scene is stark. But we enjoy the beauty of death and accept it in the happy knowledge that, next year, a new expression of life will emerge.

This is a good analogy for reincarnation. For me, the soul is constant and celebrates the passing of the human form for the wisdom that has accrued in that lifetime; then patiently awaits the next expression of life to emerge albeit in a different cloak and, once again, walk this world hand in hand with the soul.

Of course, this is a very linear way of looking at it and the soul, by definition, is quantum, so there must be more….a lot more but while the silence is deafening in any space where we have lost someone precious, we can at least gain consolation from the idea that it’s not the end. In my experience, a part of those we have loved and lost live on inside us.


*Lomax is called Lomax ‘1’ because while he was away, another feral cat arrived and I liked the name so much I used it again. So, there are two Lomax’s – 1 & 2.

Pic: Pear tree in full bloom (prior to full fruit), then stripped bare for winter; autumn colours in the copse below my garden; 36 year old Sovereign on the day of his arrival.

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