ice in the grass
The day was cold and wet after a night of light rain and fog at 30 degrees that put a coat of thin ice on twigs and leaves. It made the ground slippery covered with last summer's grass and pine needles ice coated. It was only on a slope of the ground that it was slippery. The donkeys had frosted hair tips and their black manes were tipped in silver. I wanted more shelter for them, but they did not seem to be suffering. The two calves go into the shed at night to get out of the weather. It's their toilet. The floor is getting thicker with mashed cow pies. The donkeys don't seem to take an interest in the place. The calves don't even seem to notice. I'd like to clean it out for them, but not every day in the winter. The shed was one of those good ideas that only works in the realm of ideas. Out here in everyday life it doesn't work. In the morning and later in the day I carry an armload of hay out into the meadow to spread around for them to eat with plenty of room for the birds-on-a-wire phenomenon. The birds stay a pecking distance apart and the donkeys eat best out of kicking range. Jenny and Jack are jealous when they eat too close together. They act like children saying, "Mine!" Ears go back and they start kicking. I enjoy feeding them. I like going out in bad weather to take hay and grain to them. I like being with them. I like their personalities. They are very different and at the same time both donkey natured. Though their eyes are exactly alike, they are very different eyes to look into.
frosty manes on the donkeys
I go out in the morning to take hay to them. I don't want to put a whole bale out when the weather is so wet. I like to take them enough to last a few hours, then take them some more. They like to stay up close to the fence, the warmest spot in the meadow, sheltered from wind by the house and under a big maple tree, where they can keep an eye on me. It turns into slipping and sliding as soon as I step through the gate. Mud, cow shit, donkey shit, doesn't matter, it's all slippery. I dodged the big lumps first day, but it's nothing anymore. It's just the surface of the earth I have to walk over to get out into the meadow where I can spread the hay on the ground and it not be a toilet. By the Hindu standard, this makes me an untouchable. It's looking like a hillbilly barn lot out there. It's the way farms looked in my early years here when a few farms continued to function. The donkeys are not messy with their droppings, but the calves let it go wherever and whenever. The physical part of feeding them through the winter is good exercise. It gets me out of the house. It gives me a chance to walk a ways, stir my blood, and to visit with the donkeys and the calves. It gives me opportunity to step out into the weather, whatever it is, to feel it for a short time, just enough to get the feel of it. Taking hay to them carries me back to winters feeding the cattle with Tom Pruitt, standing in the back of Tom's pickup, cutting the baling twine with a pocketknife, tossing sections of hay bales off the back of the truck, Tom driving through the meadow and the cows following us in the snow.
hillbilly barn lot
I have created a barn lot right here beside the house. Cracks me up. I do like the scent. This is what the air smelled like all over the world in the time before it smelled like petroleum smoke. This new scent in the air of my immediate world is so refreshing I feel as clean as after a shower. This new scent coming into my air space coincides with letting go of concerns about the corporate takeover of my democracy, the cancer in American politics, ignoramuses front and center in the news. I have cut the umbilical cord that connected me to the country club belief system that only money matters. Paying attention to that mind, I carry in myself its belief system. The mind those people represent is the mind that, in fact, worships Mammon, holds money (gold) up the highest of the high, is actively destroying my earth on such a scale I can't do anything to stop it or slow it down. I can only accept that's how it is and watch the logging trucks carry mountains of trees by on the highway. What can I do? Live out on the mountain where I can't see or hear the highway. I see pictures of Obama and think he's president of something that is not my country anymore. He's president of a corporate league, president of the corporations. He and the other politicians are supported by, dined by, talked to on the golf course by, talked to over drinks by corporate execs in high style. Not one of their decisions takes me or anyone I know into consideration. I have no recourse in the court system. Why do I pay attention to people who are only arrogant to me, dismissive? Fake people all the way around, from the soul to the surface. I can do nothing to change their thinking, stop them or get their attention. I have withdrawn my attention and will not give them my power by way of paying them anymore with attention.
jack and jen with frosted manes
Certainly, I have to participate in all that goes with driving a car, owning a spot of property, eating, and listening to music. It's all corporate. That's the nature of the landscape I live in. I can't help it that Florida grocery stores sell California oranges. I can't help the population explosion. I can't change poverty. I can't stop racism. I can't make any difference to the educational system. Nor do I really want to. The only thing I can do with any actuality is let it all take care of itself like water flowing in pipes and stream beds, trust that the whole game of humanity is being played out on schedule, all the parts in place. The pace is crazy now and what we call reality has become false. I've worked at labor jobs to keep out of work situations where I have to pretend to believe what I don't believe, the belief system of Mammon culture, the Bank, corporate hierarchical mind, identifying with a medium of exchange. It's the same as identifying with the body, an extension of it, branches of it. The body is the frame my consciousness operates like driving a car, the car being my body's tool, this laptop my mind's tool. I have never been able to identify with one thing throughout my entire life. Of course, I can identify with God, when you consider that God is consciousness, which is your very self, my very self, the part of self that sees our dreams, that never sleeps. I can identify with consciousness, and I can identify with mind, not as something accurate, but familiar, where my own customs live. I can identify with the body in that it's the body I'm familiar with that carries my consciousness from place to place, person to person, adventure to adventure, keeps it in motion, tries to prevent consciousness from being too bored.
I am happy with my own personal livestock next to the house. I have certain old shoes to wear out there. They used to have a kind of tread on the bottom that is now smooth, the reason I put them aside for newer shoes. Lots of sliding about. And I don't dare fall down. I probably will fall at least once before the end of winter, but it will be a goal every day not to. It makes me laugh to myself at what a surprise from last winter to this winter, two donkeys, two calves, and suddenly the meadow is alive with livestock and I'm playing farm again. I think of the old feller Sherman Scott, who was probably about the age I am now, walking through the herd of his cattle petting them, talking to them, his friends. People who drive up and down the road get a kick out of hearing Jack bray. He cuts loose with one several times a day, three, four or five. Depends on motivation, whatever the motivation may be. Feeding livestock through the winter. It feels good to be shifting my mind from inside my head to outside it at least a little bit. Having animals to take care of is a kind of zookeeper. I saw Marlin Perkins at YouTube a few days ago on his tv show Wild Kingdom from the Chicago zoo. I watched him for years on Zoo Parade, then Wild Kingdom. I watched Marlin Perkins like other people watched Captain Kangaroo. I had forgotten about him until this video I saw of one of his Wild Kingdom tv shows about the Bush people of the Kalahari. Marlin Perkins taught me a great appreciation for animals during my childhood. I had not thought to give him credit for his role in that aspect of my life until I saw him on Wild Kingdom again after so many years he looked to be from another consciousness.