Near Tiny House Ontario lives a survivor. She witnessed, and survived unspeakable things during WWII in what is now the Czech Republic. The experiences have left her with haunting stories that she often shares… her stories make me shudder.
These experiences have left her with what I believe is PTSD. She is both a pacifist and vegetarian, and very unusual. She walks around in rags for clothes, rarely bathes, and keeps as many animals as can fit in her home.
She is somewhat famous in the community for keeping her animals in her home with her. Close to 30 cats, goats, chickens, dogs and she also feeds the wild life. Last year she lost some trees near her house and the racoon family who lived there had to relocate. She asked everyone to keep their eyes open for the lost racoons who we would know, because of the mask they wear. I found this totally hilarious. She is always looking for missing cats too. Even those that have been “missing” for years.
At first, I have to admit, I could not get away from her quick enough. She smells a lot like cat urine and makes my allergies go crazy, plus she is always looking for missing critters. The truth is that you cannot get away from her when she starts to talk, no matter how busy you are or whatever, she comes across as quite a weirdo. She is known in the neighbourhood and avoided.
This year, my thoughts on her have shifted greatly. I am busy at Tiny House Ontario, but not insanely so. I have a little time to stop and say hello and to listen to her and this shift in myself also forced me to change my opinion about her. I learned that she saw Louis Armstrong play live in Belgium, that she has traveled the world, that she is smart and interesting and passive and beautiful. I think she is lonely and isolated. I think she just wants to live and love and laugh. I think she is working to forget, but finds this very hard to do.
A few days ago, she was upset. Very, very distraught really, because one of her hens got out and was in the forest, and she was so concerned that a mink or a fisher would catch her. I helped her look and tried to shoo the chicken to her own land and I brought my camera because I hoped that I would catch a photo for this blog.
The pacifist walked the woods for two days clapping gently and singing soft words in a language that I do not know. She spent day and night trying to urge the chicken to come home. Finally, last evening, the chicken found its way into her gentle hands.
Beautiful isn’t she?