One of our ducks died today. I found her peacefully floating on the pond. I have dealt with the death of many animals this last year, but this one was different. There was something so achingly striking about her broken, ivory body nestled among the lily pads. I think perhaps it was the fact that the scene was so idyllic, and death seemed so blatantly out of place. Death among natural grace and tranquility--the contrast was too strong. In every experience I have had with death on the farm, it has been expected: it was either planned or amid an obvious crime scene. It has not been gentle. It has never reached its grasp into beauty.