Dr. Clawbonny's Cabin   13 comments

Posted at 4:42 pm in farm,sabrina,sage

As you can see in the above photo, Sage has been busy growing up over the past couple of months. She and Sabrina have gradually become good friends. A lot of that has to do with her learning not to do aggravating things such as tugging on Sabrina’s ears or tail. Despite not looking or sounding much like a pup anymore, Sage still does her best puppy barks for me if I seem to be looking at her a little too long, or get out my camera. She will lie on her side, kicking her hind feet and flipping tail up while making sharp puppy barks. I shot this short video clip during a recent performance. Believe me when I tell you that this sharp, high-pitched bark is nothing like the unusually deep, gutteral bark which she employs while investigating strange noises outside of the house in the evening. It actually seems impossible that a single dog could be capable of making such diverse sounds. Sometimes I have to wonder if she’s possessed by demons as she makes the weirdest vocalizations. I’m not the only one thinking this as I often catch Sabrina staring at her as if to say, “What the hell kind of sound is that?!”

In other news, there have been some rapid developments since my last post a couple of days ago. It seems that my farm is now sold. I signed papers to that effect yesterday. The closing is at the end of August (yes, that’s very short). However, that suits me fine as I had been planning to get on the road fairly soon and have already moved most of my belongings into storage. Now, I’ll just step up the pace a bit as I finish outfitting the van for my autumn and winter travels.

Yesterday, while looking for something quite unrelated, I came upon a passage which reminded me more than a little of how my van is coming together. It’s from the novel “The Adventures of Captain Hatteras” by Jules Verne, and describes how Dr. Clawbonny, the ship’s physician on an expedition to the north pole, has outfitted his tiny cabin:

Dr. Clawbonny was in his element; he had taken possession of his cabin on the 6th of February, the day after the Forward was launched.

“The happiest of animals,” he used to say, “is a snail, for it can make a shell exactly to fit it; I shall try to be an intelligent snail.”

And considering that the shell was to be his lodging for a considerable time, the cabin began to look like home; the doctor had a savant’s or a child’s pleasure in arranging his scientific traps. His books, his herbals, his set of pigeon-holes, his instruments of precision, his chemical apparatus, his collection of thermometers, barometers, hygrometers, rain-gauges, spectacles, compasses, sextants, maps, plans, flasks, powders, bottles for medicine-chest, were all classed in an order that would have shamed the British Museum. The space of six square feet contained incalculable riches: the doctor had only to stretch out his hand without moving to become instantaneously a doctor, a mathematician, an astronomer, a geographer, a botanist, or a conchologist. It must be acknowledged that he was proud of his management and happy in his floating sanctuary, which three of his thinnest friends would have sufficed to fill….”

I’m now thinking that my van may have found its name — Dr. Clawbonny’s Cabin.

So, perhaps some of you may wonder how I’m feeling about having sold the farm. As you might suppose, I have somewhat mixed feelings. On the one hand, I will miss this place for the memories Don and I made over the 31 years that we lived here. I’ll miss all of the trees and flowers that I planted, and the little studio building we built next to the house. I’ll miss the abundant birds, and the oldfield pastures with their many insects. And I’ll miss the Spider Ranch part of the garden where I tried to preserve an almost perfect space for Argiope spiders to build their webs. On the other hand, Don and I had always planned to retire elsewhere some day — probably to Nova Scotia. Conseqently, me staying here alone now seems like a weird existence, as though I am stuck in limbo waiting for something that can and never will happen (Don’s return). Instead, the only logical thing to do seems to be to find a new place that isn’t carrying a lot of psychological baggage — no memories of the past couple of years of struggling with Don’s illness and death. However, for now, maybe I’m not even ready for that. My mind still feels too restless and tormented to be making weighty decisions such as buying land and building or renovating a house. No. Best to do some wandering around in Dr. Clawbonny’s Cabin while I try to figure out what comes next.

Written by bev on August 14th, 2009

Tagged with