Living on a farm, you experience the cycle of life on a daily basis. You know that life is born and evidentially it dies. We learn this in our earliest experience with animals. It is a known fact from your earliest childhood, if you are born, you will one day die.
Yet, when something young dies, you feel your heart shatter. Young humans and animals are suppose to grow up and grow old before their lives end. Today, we had our first death on the farm. A chick lost its very young life. As I held it's very limp, fragile body in my hands, I wondered what I could have done to prevent this. I begin to question my very new skills of animal care. Did I somehow cause the death of this baby?
We knew this chick was sick from the moment it arrived. I thought it was the stress of the 3 day trip in a box to my house. She looked like a runt. But, I knew that runts could be tough. Runts were capable of surviving under the right conditions. I watched her daily. Made sure she ate and drank. When she wasn't thriving with the rest of the flock, I quarantined her.
I prepared a cozy home with a warm light. I filled her water with electrolytes to give her immune system a boost. She nibbled at the best medicated chick food that we could afford. I gave her small doses of plain yogurt. I gently held her and told her what a strong chick she was. All of my efforts were in vain.
The cycle of life had come to its conclusion with this chick. The natural selection of nature had kicked in. She was not the fittest. So, on a crisp, clear day, I experienced my first death on the farm. I held her one last time before we buried her under a grand pecan tree. And I cried.
I sat on the porch for the rest of the day. Thinking about what I could do better to care for my chicks in the future. Knowing that in the end, some may die. As I sat there, I saw Kaelie, my tween granddaughter, riding her bike with sheer determination towards me. She had the biggest smile on her face!
"Grammy! There's a new calf! ", she said. I quickly grabbed my camera and headed towards the pasture. There I found the cutest little black calf. He had to have been born just a few hours before because the umbilical cord was still hanging from his mother. I snapped beautiful pictures of our newest baby on the farm. And I cried.
The cycle of life had once again shown me its beauty. As one life ends, another begins. It will repeat itself over and over again. It will always be there. The beauty of living on a farm is you get to witness it on a daily basis. I looked up at the bright, blue sky and said a silent prayer. Thanking God for this gift we call life.