Sowing the Seed

Pigs can be vicious. A farrowing sow will eat its own babies during birth. You better be able to run fast if you are going to separate a birthing momma from its piglet. The runts almost never make it.

But by some miracle they let me keep her. Why not. Piglets that small can’t suckle. She’s was going to die anyway. But I had love. I had a baby bottle. And a brother who helped.

Her name was Mia. Perfectly pink. She loved us both. But she loved me best.

I had become the real-life Fern Arable from my favorite book. Mia would be there at the county road bus stop every day. She would walk us home. She would squeal with delight when she finally rooted out the carrot tops or apples I had hidden in my pocket. She would wait by the well until I had finished my chores and we could finally play.

In the summers we slept outside. The three of us. Snuggled in. Her nose crooked in its rightful place between ours. Never sleeping with the other pigs. They wouldn’t have her, it would never do.

In fairness, I suppose. The bus had dropped us off much too early that day.

At least 20 of them. Packed too tightly. Squealing. Fighting for space. Biting tails, turning on each other. As if they already knew.

Standing on the tire. Through the bars of the stock rack, my arm and fingers stretching further than any eight year old had ever stretched before, yet not far enough. Mia.

Pigs can be vicious.

So can parents.