Saturday, January 13, 2018

maybe goodbye

when i looked out around 8 this morning, 
porcupine was heading back from the cedars, 
or so i thouhgt.
we're having a big storm
which began with ice and turned to snow in the night.
temperatures dropped some 50 degrees 
more or less
porcupine was out by the spruce on the way to the barn
when i ventured out 
to shovel some snow and examine my flattened mailbox.
a rough night.
heading back towards the woods
after visiting the garage and leaving
a scattering of scat and urine.
 (it's rough weather for human beings
and porcupine beings
this crazy winter.)
then porcupine stopped and stayed perfectly still
 i walked over and tried to spook porcupine into action
there was none.
with my snowshovel i moved porcupine to the tree about 15 feet away 
from this open spot.
maybe porcupine will clinb up and eat.
or maybe all the suppers are done.
it's not for me to know just now.
but i am sad.


  1. Sad indeed ... but your compassionate effort may make for a happy ending

  2. liz, perhaps, but if a bone was broken or an organ injured in the fall the other day then this rough storm might be too much.

  3. Awww, hope she makes it! I love my porcupine neighbors - one sauntered through a group of us around the fire in November, heading to her lodge close by, she seemed slightly indignant that the gathering was so close to her house

  4. valerie, i think porcupines are mostly indignant.

  5. oh that's tough and so are you I can remember that deep cold in your part of the world from living in Quebec for 6 months one winter nearly 50 years ago.

  6. mo, quebec is our neighbor, and goes way up north! where were you?
    laurie and sandy, it's sad, but it's also the way things go. i'll see a little later how porcupine is.

  7. my mother was born on a farm near Hemmingford, a little town near the border with New York state not far from Lake Champlain

  8. mo, yes, i think you told me before. i wonder if it's near the fromagerie we like to go to?

  9. ahh, poor critter, it's just too darn cold - and possibly he/she was injured in the fall.

  10. jean, i checked late this afternoon, and i believe porcupine is dead. if i could move the snow, the ground hasn't frozen so i could dig a grave. maybe a coyote will scent it and come by, they are cleverer than dogs with spikey things.

    1. I went to a studio tour yesterday where the artist told the tale of a friend bringing her a dead porcupine when her son was housesitting. “What do I do with it?” he called to ask her. “Put it in the freezer, I’ll take care of it when I get home,” she replied.

      Indeed, there are many feathers, quills, shells, and other gatherings incorporated into her art. Perhaps there is someone in your area who would be similarly inclined.

  11. liz, i've used quills that i've respectfully harvested from road kills in the past. i feel a bit connected to this being, and right now it feels a bit wrong to harvest. i have no problem with an honorable harvest, but this feels wrong.

  12. Hi V - this has been such a special and now sad time shared with the porcupine. It appears to be a very harsh winter over your way this year. Most likely to be quite a few human and animal deaths as a result of it. I can understand the reluctance to use the quills of what was so much like a fried - but then again you might honour it's memory by incorporating some of it into a woven fibre and quill book. Go well. B

  13. season. hard to know all it will hold. but in that context all is ok. to share the story honors it all.

  14. barry, thank you. you're right.
    jude, and you, too. thanks.

  15. Makes me very sad. I'm glad you tried to help him. I've been putting things out for the animals to eat for weeks now because there is so much snow and the temps here are brutal this year. I feel sad every time I see something out there in the cold. Wish I could help them all.

  16. karen, of course you do! it's a hard time for us all, i think. thanks for checking in.

  17. Re-reading my earlier comment I cringed at its glibness ... while I was relating a story as it was told, it was insensitive in this context and I apologize to any who likewise found it cringe-worthy.

    Always I am learning ...

  18. Oh V - in the cold isolation you have been companions. So sorry that the poor wee thing didn't make it, but glad you shared this time...go gently.

  19. in Latvia the old people used to be taken out into the snow after a last feast...when I get too old and wobbly it is the end I would prefer (armed with some nice gin), rather than mouldering away in a nursing home

  20. india, i am with you on this. porcupine frozen; not mouldering.

  21. Very specific porcupines don't hibernate. The tannin in tree bark could have poisoned him. Poor thing.


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