They were both in the shade sleeping, as I eyed them from outside the fence. I opened the gate and called back to my host:
“Can I just go in?”
He replied, “Yes, just go slowly and give them a chance to smell you.”
As I neared their sleeping spot they began to softly snort and sniff the air. Their faces were so plump and scrunched I could barely see the slits of their closed eyes.
“Are they blind?” I asked.
“No, but they mostly use their noses” he said.
I set a watermelon rind near them on the ground, and their noses began to probe the air weighing whether this new smell was worth getting up for.
After a little more snorting and sniffling, they decided it was worth it and they rose. Pigin quickly shuffled over to her piece of watermelon, while Millie took a little longer, using her nose to help leverage herself into a standing position. They both ate their rinds in what I can only describe as a “snarfling” manner.
After they were finished I dangled banana peels into their mouths and set more watermelon rinds in front of them. As I did this I slowly began to touch their thick, rough, prickled skin. Pigin didn’t seem that interested in my friendship. She was happy with the food, but gave what sounded like an unhappy snort when I tried to scratch her. So I let her be. Every once in a while she would try to steal Millie’s watermelon, which I chided her for, but quickly learned that Millie could take care of herself. She gave Pigin some proper squeals and nips until she left Millie’s share of the food alone.
Unlike Pigin, when I scratched Millie’s back she grumbled in delight and leaned closer. When all the food was done she used her nose to help lay herself down and after some good side scratches she presented her belly, ready for rubbing. The skin on her back and side was rough, thick and tight. But the skin on her belly was loose, wrinkled and soft.
I couldn’t help but smile as she lay soaking up each pat of adoration. After I finished her tummy rub, which I think could have continued all day (provided there were snack breaks), I thanked both Pigin and Millie for the visit and left the orchard.
I was thrilled. I now knew what a pig sounded like when she was happy.
As I think back to this encounter it is juxtaposed against thoughts of the “Pork/Bacon” culture that has developed in the last twenty years.
Eating pigs has become a cultural joke. There are literally bacon and pork societies, conventions and “bacon-a-month” cults! People bond over their love of “pork” as if they could not live without eating part of a pig’s body at each “meal.”