Roundels of hay stacked up in the barn. Tatters of corrugated iron cladding the frame. Loose flaps trailing baler twine. Straw drifts. The yard outside, dusty and crumbling. Will drives into the barn wearing a white shirt. Bull neck bursting the collar. Sends the hydraulic fork upwards, guides the prongs towards a bale but it rolls down wrong, bounces down the shafts to rest against the windscreen. Will opens the rusty door and puts a white hand against the bale, starts to push. His hand slips. Loses his balance. As he falls his throat slides along the serrated edge of the rusting door. Later his wife, mouth puckered around a cigarette, said it was just like cutting a pig.
Then there was the time he was hell bent on taking the cattle to market. The weather report predicted unusually high winds. His wife told him to stay at home. The route cut across high country with few trees. This high road then descended down Zig Zag Hill – a place that lived up to its name. It was here that the wind finally took control. The lorry toppled on to its side. Another drag on that cigarette as I thought about those cattle.
A year or two ago I wondered how he was doing. Searched on-line and saw that he'd been buried.
He was ninety five years old.