Friday, October 24, 2008

Meeting new people

When a calf is born it knows it has to stand up and find some sort of projecting thingy that should be in some sort of warm place. Once there, it has to figure out how to get it's mouth and tongue to work. All the while it is learning to spin on these wobbly stick things as the mother whirls around wanting to lick her baby. She is mooing. There are usually a goodly number of other warm, breathing, fuzzy things around and occasionally a really annoying 2 legged thing that instinct says is all wrong. However, the calf also seems to know that this two-legged thing is a good and often very helpful in getting to that magic warm, milky spot. Sometimes that strange human thing is a pretty nice substitute.

It's not easy.

When people meet, eyes scan for similarities and differences; ears listen for familiar words while the brain is either speaking or preparing to speak; smells are unconsciously taken in and analyzed but mostly our intuition is running wild.

It is much easier over the Internet because our words can be carefully edited, tone is missing and all the visual, auditory and olfactory details are absent. The question is- are we really meeting this new person or are we merely creating a character in our imagination?

When I meet a new calf I often wonder if I am not merely creating a character onto whom I can write a story. What would this calf be if it were born alone on the range? Would it have a cow name? Does that individual exist as an individual if I do not name it?

I always name all my animals. Their names come into my head and somehow they fit. I have named a few that did not fit and those often do not seem to belong in what I call Dr. Dolittle land. But those who do like their names, who seem to like having a separate essence from the herd, change and become more than cow/bovine/animal. They become themselves.

There have been babies born here with whom I felt nothing. Others that have felt like old friends. Many that have grown on me and a few that I can't imagine life without.

There have been people I met once and wanted to have as a friend forever. Others have felt like a meal to be enjoyed and then forgotten. Many to whom I have grown accustomed and a few that make my life beautiful. I still don't understand it and maybe never will, but it is very cool.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Game of Prediction

Here's my man Flan as a week old baby. He's four now and a master at teaching bravery. Today he reminded me that the only way to be brave is to feel fear. Courage comes from dealing with your fear in a focused and direct fashion. He is always so honest about showing me his fear, how big it is and how it makes him want to run. As a baby, he used to run away at the slightest scary moment. Now he and I play a game called "Prediction". Rather than walking the trails expecting bad things around every tree trunk, he and I predict that there might be something scary here but not over there. What used to be a walk full of anxiety on both our parts has become a really fun exploration. Will the dog jump out of the bush there or a few yards down? When it happens as we predicted, we both feel pleased. If not, then we feel maybe a little let down but all the more eager to predict the next scary moment. The stronger the fear, the greater his curiosity seems to be. If something is truly scary we are both prepared for it and so aren't taken by surprise which is truly an awful thing. Maybe that's why horror movies can be such a thrill. You can predict that the monster will be hiding behind that door and even though you jump when they grab their intended victim, there is a feeling of confidence in your own judgment.

Flanagan has taught me to trust my fear, to listen to his and to learn to react appropriately to the level of fear either one of us is experiencing. He's taught me that whenever someone gets pushed past their fear threshold, they will react with anger and violence if necessary. When that happens, a sorrowful apology and an empathetic understanding seems to heal the loss of trust. Then it becomes really important for us both to be aware that our fear threshold will be a little lower because of the breech. Basically, we can go back to predicting that we will be a little scared of each other and that we both might need to go a little slower.

Because he shows me his fear and understands mine, it is all the easier to get back to feeling the love and fun.

Thanks Flan!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

When it is windy

When it is windy all the animals find a nice pile of hay and face the sun. They close their eyes and pull the warmth of the sun in through the molecules of cold in the wind. They let the breeze fluff their hairs and all the dust of a long hot summer is blown away.

When it is windy, people shut themselves in their houses and miss the opportunity to let the wind cleanse them of their summer thoughts. They miss the opportunity to feel as if one is travelling around the world even though your belly is firm against the still warm earth.

Sometimes what seems like an inconvienence is really an unexpected opportunity.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Pig truths:
Root through the dirt until you find something tasty.
Lay in the sun when it is cold. Sleep in the mud when it is hot.
Enjoy your nose.