“It was a good death!” So suggests the American Indian narrator at the end of the movie “Legends of the Fall.” The character Tristan, played by Brad Pitt, had finally met his Maker through an encounter with a bear whose claw he had worn around his neck for years. I was always struck by that line and reminded of it after hearing that Ginger had been killed by a cayote here at Bushwillows a few days ago on July 17th.
It wasn’t his first encounter with such an unwelcome predator – he had survived an earlier attack and had been nursed back to life by my amazing hostess.
When I came to visit the sanctuary the first time, Ginger showed up on the deck of the cottage which was to become my home as I was being shown around. His very square and extremely serious face stared into mine as if sizing me up and informing me that this was a favorite place for him to lie in the sun. He walked stiffly – apparently the earlier cayote bite had left him scarred – and then he stood stoically by Deborah’s side as we chatted away. Of the cats and dogs here, his presence was perhaps the most remarkable, so very wise and dignified in his feline way. In the six months I’ve been here, we had become good friends. He visited daily and was always around to check on things and, he and Miss Coco, my beloved kitty, were finally learning how to co-exist.
Then he went missing. I had been out with a friend from New Zealand that day and didn’t pick up my email messages until the next morning. His body had been found – the cayote had found his prey.
Oh, the pain of loosing such a special friend. I shared Deborah’s grief. Ginger had been her “guy,” a stalwart presence in her life, most especially since her husband had passed some years back.
And then it rained – two days of glorious rain in water starved California as if marking such a profound event. There are seasons in life and his final season had ended. I tuned in deeply to the event of his demise and my intuition was that he went through his transition quickly and without pain. I pray this was so.
Ginger was 16 years old. He was so deeply loved and appreciated and he is missed. The other cats and dogs miss him too – you can tell. We call them all inside earlier these days!