I found a new home, not far from the farm. It’s a very small three-room cottage set amid an acreage that used to be farmland, now undeveloped and overgrown, just the way I like it. Little creatures of the usually neglected kind, like field mice and quail, have set up homes here; with new species, I’m sure, finding refuge from urban sprawl, building nests and homes too. I thought I saw a pheasant fly up in all it’s feathered brilliance when I accidentally slammed the screen door on my way out to the porch with my morning coffee.
Now I’m tap-tapping on my laptop, just as fast as I use to type, yet less accurate. I don’t keyboard much anymore, since I decided my days as a human being are numbered.
But I want to write this down in case things change. In case my step-daughter Melanie ever forgives me and wants to know what happened.
God, when I am in human form I miss so much the smells of the world! I miss my courage in the face of death— the complete lack of fear about the future. As a lone woman swaying on my porch swing, tap-tapping —oh! a soft grey doe and fawn just emerged from the broken fence, and are now grazing on sweet grass and new willow— as a lone woman, I feel all the anxieties that a complex world nourishes, and long for the simplicity of Maxine.
Yes, Maxine. I have almost stopped shape-shifting into any other creature, so much have I become Maxine. She is perfect, loving, fair; she sleeps without dread and wakes with enthusiasm and gratitude. She eats with appetite, she notices everything and cares about nothing.
She is (I am) in heat right now. This is something I hadn’t anticipated, but in any case it seemed a good time to come to the cottage for a day or two. Fortune (his new name) has healed rapidly and has stopped shaking when anyone comes near; he’s plumped up, the gaps in his fur have almost gone, and he has taken a great liking to me. I’m not sure I’m ready for— I can’t even write it down. I’m not ready to procreate like a dog. There. Crazy.
Mama deer has spotted me. I don’t have the calming, magical serenity of Bernard, and so she is staring at me, utterly motionless, as deer do. Then she and her fawn make their way off the property, across the broken fence again, and disappear into a copse of silver birch, just to be sure.
It’s a dangerous world. And an absurd one.
- Image: RL Kothenbeutel