Passing onThe mood is somber today. The two guinea pigs that squeaked their way into our lives for the last four years died suddenly, one after another.

Digging a grave, no matter how small, is not a small thing. It just isn’t.

But I had to. One last night and one this morning. We chose the spot under the lilacs, it’s out of the way and lilacs are suitable guardians.

The ground was soft at first but then it turned rock hard. All I could think of was digging a real grave, it’s overwhelming in all possible ways. It was a flurry of convoluted feelings that ruffled my mood for a long time.

You can’t think further than that, there is a lot of murky stuff you don’t know how to approach. Life, as real as it gets. Life and death are the opposite image of each other, continuations of each other, complementing each other.

Every day, all around us, life grows roots in what was alive yesterday and dead today. It feeds the next blooms, it powers the next laughter and it reminds of the only thing we hold solidly at all times: the moment we’re in. A short, revealing ownership that carries us into what’s next.

I dig, we lay the piglets in, the boys cover and we hug. It makes everything easier. They had a good life, we all agree. And passed the five-year-old mark, which many say it’s a good age for a guinea pig. We made small crosses out of wood and twine, the boys wanted to.

A few steps away the garden abounds with green; growing, from the roots up. Continuation.

Pumpkins are in bloom, bright yellow, small suns staring into the big one in the sky. By afternoon, the flowers will start to wither, they only last a few hours… Right next to them, spinach, lush and green and loved by the piglets. Dandelion leaves, spinach and peppers were among their favourites.

The boys sighed… Now we have no more pets.

Indeed. I cannot be persuaded to buy any from the pet store and they don’t want that either. Hosting the piglets (SPCA-adopted orphans) made us think of how unfair it is to the animals. All the cuddles in the world and vitamin drops do not make up for freedom. A golden cage is still a cage.

Ours were not big on cuddles though. Just like bunnies, they are skittish creatures, guinea pigs, and like to be among their own kind. And who can blame them. Being prey animals, they also hide their sickness to not be vulnerable to predators, the ones who know write. It’s sad to know that. It means their instincts are still within, so the longing for freedom must be too… It’s unfair to restrict that.

The day moves along. I tend to the garden, the boys pick the slim strawberries harvest and they munch on baby carrots. I open a pea pod and they eat the bright green blobs. They’re sweet just like that, out of the pod, we’ll have some more for dinner.

The pods go in the compost, to die and live at the same time.

Life continues, it’s the circle that has no beginning and no end. Today we caught a glimpse of it, and we got to feel, again, how it rattles the illusion of permanence.

Once again, I am grateful for reminders, they are but soul dwellings where I stop and look to what’s behind and what’s in front of me. Life: to see, to heed, to be part of. We are.