How many angels can dance on the head of a pin. A medieval question. Philosophy or physics.

It is a beautiful image of course. Dancing angels on shiny pins.

Angels. Ghosts. Infinity. Transparent. Pointless.

A man shot his wife, his grown son and his neighbor early Christmas morning in the same town where my Mother in Law lives. A tiny country town. Sparkling with Christmas decorations. Not a pretty town except in autumn. A working town with empty shop fronts and a grocery store. A few hundred people. The museum and a little library, the post office and a bank. Ordinary. Quiet. No night life. Windows closed and curtains drawn. Sidewalks rolled up at dusk.

Then an eruption of such violence early Christmas morning. A working man shooting his son, his wife and their neighbor in the head. Point blank. Cleaned up then called the police.

A few hours later on Christmas morning, we were surprised to have to take a small detour to get to her house because of road blockages and police tape, after discussing the situation we concluded that it was all still rumor, we had no facts, we guessed who might have killed whom, concluded we would wait for news and continued with our day. No consideration for our own safety. These things happen to other people of course.

The News did not mention it. There were no police on the street asking if anyone heard anything. No Hollywood reporters. No detectives in trench coats. No bright lights or hazmat suits. The poor bloody bodies had been removed I guess. Just a few police cars parked with flashing lights and yellow police tape tied to trees.

We had our Christmas lunch. The police lights occasionally flashing through the alley. Chattering on – the weather was warm – ball throwing weather.

So TonTon has gone to live with my Mother in Law- maybe for a while – maybe a very long while. I delivered him on Christmas Day. I would like to say it was because of the violence but mainly it was because she had been feeling lonely after losing her little old dog a few months ago and Ton was getting old and achy and snappy with boisterous Boo so it seemed a natural pairing. The discovery of the murders as Ton and I drive into town just underscored the necessity of a dog for her. Though I miss him. Maybe I was thinking of safety after all.

But I have always had a dog in my life and so has The Matriarch so I know the feeling. And then this violence – only a few houses from hers. She needs a well trained dog.

The angels dance on in a merry go round of pointlessness caught forever on their pin head, while we shuffle around on our mortal coil.

This morning – feeling the need to move – I am writing to you in the train. I will be back later today to shift pigs and so on.

Have a day! Wherever you are. Just grab it and have it.

Love love


47 Comments on “HOW MANY ANGELS

  1. I have no words. The violence, the shock of it, is overwhelming. I do not understand humans. It is a sad, sad way to end the year.

    a warm hug for you….

  2. Life throws us curveballs all the time. You will miss him and he will miss farm life too but I understand the need. Big hugs.

  3. So, so sad to read this… Impossible to understand. Sending you warm, loving thoughts.

  4. Ton Ton and your Mother in Law will provide for each other comfort and a sense of purpose. A very good thing.

    • I think so. And Ton is feeling old and cold . Some evenings he has trouble getting up the steps after a long day on the farm. He deserves a nice retirement home. Of course he will still visit lots.

  5. Earlier this year a woman in our community, which is much like the Matriarchs in size, went missing. She had been seen last at the hospital being treated for injuries from a beating (husband). They found her in dead, in the house. Four houses down our lane. It looked like CSI out there for a week. Husband was arrested for the crime. You think you live in the peaceful countryside, but there is family violence everywhere. It is unsettling when it happens, to say the least. Dogs are a great comfort in the sense of the security they bring.

  6. About five years ago, a man was shot and killed at his home in our small country town. He was to have been a witness at a mob trial in another state. A man posing as a service worker was permitted into his home. The man shot his dog, then sat him down at his desk and shot him in the back of the head. It shook our town for about two days. It’s now on a dusty shelf in back room of our memories.
    Bob Jones

  7. Tears here. Words scatter, knowing they might be pressed into some sort of service they know they aren’t capable of. Hugs to you. Ton will bring comfort and joy (and safety) and that was so good of you.

  8. Oh my, we have had some very upsetting murders recently here in Maine. Very sad and unsettling. I don’t even begin to understand how someone could reach that point. I am sure that Ton is a welcome addition to your MIL’s home. He does deserve a nice retirement!

  9. That is truly awful. So sad for the relatives. Ton will have an easy time of it now, no more pesky pigs ect to watch.

  10. I don’t know how many Angels fit on the head of a pin. The one I saw filled the whole corner of my room with light. Being a prison guard or a policeman gives one an altered view of the world. Maybe hopelessness. It’s so sad when people hurt those they supposedly love. You made a good decision for Ton and the Matriarch. Doing what is best for both. Going into the city will clear your heart a little. Enjoy you time away. I did that yesterday, going to the mall for a fast, warm walk and then caught the movie “Last Christmas” It was an odd start to the movie but the ending was so heartwarming I wanted to sit quietly with it for a while. First good movie I’ve seen in a long while. Mr. Rogers was good as well. I don’t see movies often and was glad not to be disappointed. It gave my heart a lift too. Have a happier New Year, Miss C. It has to get better.

  11. Gosh, what a sad sorry state. I’m glad you so generously allowed Ton-Ton to go live with your Mother-in-law. Dogs mean safety in so many ways.

  12. How can anyone make sense of a horror like you describe. I always wonder if this unexplained violence is happening more, or we simply know of it so readily with so many avenues available to spread the horror. And, how many we do not hear of, as seems apparent in this story.
    I hope your MIL feels more secure with Ton and that he relishes his new lifestyle.
    I also hope that he took a good supply of sticks with him 😉

  13. A lovely new chapter for Ton and your Mother in law. A symbiotic relationship l’m sure. Hope you have a good 2020.

  14. I wonder what it takes to make a man so homicidally angry that he shoots not one but several people, and is still self-possessed enough afterwards to clear up and call the police. How did he make those actions alright in his mind? Those dancing angels should stop their cavorting and turn their attention to looking after people in danger from their nearest and dearest, whether armed with guns or fists. Angels should guard, not gyrate on pinheads.
    The animals will miss their Ton Ton escort in from the fields at the end of the day. You will miss your smart, intelligent dog, but I can tell from how you’ve written that you’re well satisfied with the solution for both him and the Matriarch. Good work, Miss C.

  15. Our former Prime Minister Malcolm Frazer used to say that life was nor meant to be easy . . . I have oft wondered whether it was meant so difficult at rimes tho’ ? Some times methinks one just has to BE hour by hour and day by day doing small things and making small changes to make current matters more liveable . . . glad to hear Ton will be warm and loved during the cold months to come . . . let other matters also be slowly solved during the coming year both at your place and here . . . best . . .

  16. My husband and I spent today burying the cremations of my nephew who died of glioblastoma. He “lived” with it almost 3 years—quite extraordinary. He leaves a 46 year old wife, and 3 children, two in college one in high school. It was bitterly cold at the grave site.
    When I think of your extraordinary generosity in relinquishing TonTon to your mother-in-law, I am so very touched. Ton is such an extraordinary dog-person actually. Good for both of them clearly but not so good for you. You have made so so many hard decisions, Celi, I admire you so much. We can’t decide what day it is!

  17. Dear C,
    I’m so horrified to hear about this. I’m glad TonTon and the Matriarch have each other. Happy and Peaceful New Year to you and yours and all of us on the Farmy.
    xox maggie

  18. Here on the hill with the busy street in front of us we are all too aware of the pain and violence that goes on in the city rarely an hour goes by that there are no sirens flying up and down the hill. Much of it is drug related which just makes that spark of violence that much quicker to catch flame and result in horrors to all involved. There is no way to know what set that man off, being a prison guard certainly didn’t help anything, and sadly I doubt it would have mattered if he hadn’t had a gun. For whatever mercy there was it was a quick death. I’ve seen the end result of knifings and beatings, and I’d rather be shot once and done. There is nothing to excuse the act and I can only pray for the victims and their killer.
    I’m sure TonTon and your Mother-in-law will be glad of each other. I know you’ll miss his help around the farmy. Perhaps another good dog for you to train and keep Boo company. I know I miss Smoky a great deal and we now can not have another dog here for the foreseeable future.

    • “And we now can not have another dog here”? Oh Aquila, how sad! But I was also wondering about a new canine companion on The Farmy… (Perhaps we could share the lovely ‘puppy-ness’ with Miss C?; )

      • It would be nice to share some puppy-ness with Miss C. I suspect it would depend on her available time.
        This isn’t a very safe place for a dog. Smoky got out a couple times and almost got hit each one and he was already a definitely senior dog when we came here. My spouse is not good about using a leash and with a very busy and a busy street (we’re just up from the intersection) it is harrowing to have a dog loose here. There is no yard, just a paved parking area and no fence. Maybe in the more distant future if we can get a house again a dog will be more realistic.

        • Very sad to be without a canine companion, but it’s a very wise decision on your part and hoping you don’t have too long a wait. In the mean time, sending hugs and best wishes for a Happy New Year!

  19. How awful for the family and everyone in the community.. We all get touched by these senseless acts but knowing the people involved makes it so much more confusing and painful.

  20. What a sad way to mark the start of Christmas day. Who knows what quite desperation or anger fueled that act?

    I pray for those lost, living and dead.

    May the new year be a blessed one of kindness and good will towards our fellow men.

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