There’s something innately relaxing about having a pet. It’s something about how we humans are wired I think; we’re more comfortable when we’re not alone.
I have three cows and four chicken-ducks now, all of which seem to be thriving in my cow hole just as well as they did out on the plains. The birds are laying eggs. The cows are mooing and wandering around contentedly chewing their cuds. I didn’t spend a lot of time with livestock when I was growing up, but I did read enough apocalyptic fiction to know that, at least in theory, these are good signs.
Not only are they thriving, but I’m feeling better too. If you can’t get a dog, hug a cow. It will disturb the cow mildly (don’t do it somewhere that the cow can crush you against a wall) but it will make you feel a lot better. The cows seem to genuinely be interested in me, although I admit it may just be because I’m the one feeding them. They’re more huggable than the chicken-ducks.
The chicken-ducks are friendly enough I guess, but they have a way of looking at me as if they can’t believe I’m here. “What are you doing with your life?” they seem to ask.
I’m a little bit glad they seem so condescending. It makes me feel a little better about taking their eggs. Nobody wants a thousand condescending chicken-ducks on their porch. But I do want a good omelette, made with fresh milk and cream and eggs and herbs from the garden. Might have some carrots for it soon too.
So: chicken-ducks, kind of jerks. Cows: friendly warm huggable sofas that are confused but respectful of my presence, especially if I bring food.
If the Company comes for me tomorrow, I need to remember to break down the retaining walls for my animals before I leave. I’d hate to think of them starving. Like the Company left me.
Starving is a bit more personal of a concept now than it was twelve days ago. It used to be a phrase I’d toss off for no good reason. “I’m starving for some french fries,” I said, before coming here. I think it’ll be a while before I can glibly say “I’m starving” when I’ve eaten within the last 48 hours. I can’t say that feeling your stomach gnawing on itself for lack of food is a satisfying experience, and I’m really quite surprised I was able to make it as long as I did.
I still look forward to leaving, especially leaving the unfriendly members of the local fauna. But today’s the first day I can say I learned something from the experience of being here, and I suspect even if I wanted to, I won’t leave these lessons behind.