Things have changed in the barnyard. Today their second day together, Jack is shy of Jenny, who stands over him, Big Mama in charge. She looks at him like she dares him to take one step toward her, he turns and walks away. He steps too close to her, she whirls around and lets him have it with he back feet perfectly aimed. Jenny is frisky, the woman in charge of the situation, on guard all the time, keeping that teenage sex maniac off her back. She's had to slap him down and put him in his place. She's in the phase today of keeping it fresh in his understanding that she is bigger than him and he already knows she can kick his ass. Jack is sore all over. He lopes along with head down. He didn't want me touch his body today. He liked me to rub his legs, but he was sore everywhere else. Jenny did not want me giving Jack attention, would interrupt us and run him off by turning her rear end to him like she was going to kick. They did kick. Jack was kicking her when she came near him and even the threat of coming near him. Standing between two donkeys kick-boxing turned uncomfortable in a hurry. I had to get out of there, just step aside and give them a chance to cuss each other with their back feet until they were satisfied they'd got it said. I don't know Jenny well enough yet to have any certainty she won't kick me. I knew Jack would not kick me, unless he missed a lick at Jenny, but they don't miss. They are aware of their back legs like I am aware of my arms.
It's been something like a month or more I've known Jack. In our first days I told him I wanted to learn Donkey nature and asked him to teach me Donkey. And he did. He has been aware of teaching me his ways. I've learned that humility is as much donkey nature as forgiveness is in a dog. I don't mean they are inert. Humility is active in a donkey, not passive. My bluegrass banjo picking friend, Jr Maxwell, had a donkey's humility. It took a long time knowing him to see that he may have been the most humble man I've ever known. He didn't show it. It was automatic in him as it is in a donkey. It was a major part of his nature. His wisdom was the same way. He did not know he had wisdom and would laugh if told he was a model of humility. He'd say you need your head examined. A donkey's humility is like Jr's in that they don't need to advertise it and tell you all about it, it's just part of who they are. They don't even know they have humility. Especially when they start kicking each other. A donkey is a powerful being. They look like ponies with a full-sized horse's head and long ears. Spindly legs with knees that look like a knot in a rope don't appear to have much power. But they do. The muscles of the upper back legs is where a donkey's power is centered. Rubbing Jack's legs I feel a sense of power in them. I talk with him and say things like, "Powerful donkey legs," and sometimes I call him a big powerful donkey. I'm not exaggerating or fantasizing. He likes to hear me tell him he's powerful.
I learned very early with Jack that he understood what I said to him. The first learning was the first day I spent time with him, feeding him carrots, rubbing his back and neck. Jack's dinger started swelling up. I backed away from him saying, "We're not going there Jack. That is not what this is about." I would not touch his hind quarters for several days because I did not want to stimulate him sexually. He kept telling me with body language he wanted me to rub his rump. I said Ok and rubbed his rump the same as I rubbed his front shoulders. It did not stimulate him. This was my first learning that to a donkey their rear end is equally important as their front end. They are their full body, not just the front half, is what he was telling me. Rubbing his rump I learned that is where their power is. Big muscles. Seeing Jenny kick and seeing Jack kick, standing on their front feet and using those rump muscles all the way to the knee, snapping those hooves into the target with measured force, I was able to see how good they are with their kicks. Their kicks today were not power kicks. Jack was intimidated, sore everywhere on his body. He kicked Jenny to say, Stay away from me! She kicked him to say, Stay away from me! Like kids in the car's back seat. I have a feeling she hurt his neck; an attempt to bray ends abruptly in pain. She has him beat down in full understanding that Big Mama Donkey rules. She hurt him and she's proud of it. She looks at him with an eye that says: I can kick your ass all over this meadow and you know it. I'm about to start right now. It is a look I have seen between cats. Dogs do it too. Humans do it. Today Jack made a sound I'd never heard before when Jenny approached him in a way that could be taken for aggressive. The sound was a grunt and a groan. I took it for something like a growl in a dog.
In town today, I stopped by CJ Hardware for a 50 pound bag of sweet grain for horses. The woman I bought Jenny from said she gave her sweet grain by hand. I watched her show her granddaughter to put the grain on her hand and let the donkey pick it up with her lips. I took a plastic bowl of the grain and three carrots to the field. I like walking out in the field among them. I like having them around me, touching, close. A memory of an old boy I knew years ago surfaced. He died so long ago I don't remember, around twenty years ago, Sherman Scott. He grew up on the next farm up the road from me. In his later years he lived on a small farm in Pine Swamp, a nice spot. Lived in a little house, lived simply, half a century of grime on everything in the house. No problem. Wood stove and bed in one room. All the other rooms just happened to be connected to the room he stayed in. He was somewhat simple minded, something like a child, though easy to talk with. A round-faced man who wore bib overalls and a plaid shirt, who could not drive a car, could not pass a driving test, but it was legal in NC to drive a tractor without a license. He made a small wooden box, maybe about the holding capacity of a five gallon bucket, but square. He fixed it behind the seat on his red-belly Ford tractor. He drove the tractor to the grocery store, the bank and whatever else business he had in town. Always about half a mile of cars would be following him down Hwy 21 toward Sparta, all the drivers cussing, even the preachers. Sherman had a herd of about twenty cows. One day he took me to show me his cattle. He walked among them in the herd packed together fairly tight in the place they were standing, talking to them individually, petting them as he passed between them, pushing them just enough to let him by, gentle as a child with them. I could feel the joy in the cows that their human was walking among them. It was one of the more memorable moments of my life seeing Sherman walk through his herd, all of them his pets, all of them loving him like faithful dogs.
jack / jenny
It felt a little testy going out into the field today with Jenny a frisky Alpha Donkey on full alert, but I also knew she was as gentle as Jack with humans. The day before, we became acquainted. I get down with her and with Jack, eye to eye, when I talk to them, looking into their eyes and them looking at my eyes. They read eyes and I wanted to show Jenny that my eyes have only affection for her. By now, Jack and I know each other very well through the eyes. I have found it important, more than I imagined the first time I thought to bend down a bit and look at him eye-to-eye, as equals, not as me with power over him that he has to look up to. I don't want my relationship with them to be a power-over issue. I don't kick them, they don't kick me. I ask no more than that. Jenny is in a new place, misses her goat friends and the loving people she was taken from by force, is suddenly in a strange meadow with good grass and a teenage boy with nothing but sex on his mind. When she gets haughty with Jack, I think: Honey, there is coming a day you will be backing up to Jack and it won't be to kick him. Today was not that day. Jack has taught me donkey nature well. On sight when I saw Jenny I had a feeling for knowing an awful lot about her. She has a personality difference, but that's about it. Both are African herd animals, well-tuned, and each has it's own personality, like every living entity. Marsha Wagoner, who knows horses awfully well told me they will be friends inside a couple weeks. She said Jack will come back as an assertive male and they will live happily ever after. I believe it because I can see it. Jenny is in a strange place with a donkey she doesn't know that is single-mindedly wanting to hump her. It's like Jenny is saying, Slow down, dude, I don't even know if I like you. And Jack is a man, liking has nothing to do with it.
jenny found a scratching post