jack got too close, jenny kicked, jack jumped back
I'm glad it finally came to me to pay attention to Jenny's grief. I've thought plenty about what a rude transition it was for her, taken from her miniature goat friend and herd so roughly by slave traders who forced her very much against her will into the trailer, then the drive up the mountain, tight curves back and forth up the mountain. She was scared, she was mad unto furious. The trailer stopped, two rough men wrestled her out backwards, let her loose in a field just before dark with a jackass rapist suddenly completely out of his mind chasing her, climbing onto her back when she stopped. She ran and ran around in the meadow with this jackass she hadn't even met trying to rape her in a place where she had no idea where she was, and it getting dark. She ran with his chin on her rump, him keeping up with her, her kicking him in the chest with both back feet every four gallops. By morning Jack looked like Mike Tyson after the hardest fight of his life. Jack's face looked swelled a bit from being kicked so much in the head. Just before it was too dark to see, I saw and heard Jenny pop Jack on the chin a knockout punch. It dazed him for about half a second or less. I saw his eyes saying, That one hurt. He walked a little tenderly, too, next morning from being kicked all over his body. His bray amounted to a squeak possibly from being kicked in the neck so much. She worked him over good, and he followed, getting kicked all the way like he was saying: It feels so good when you kick me, Baby. In the first several days, Jack wore himself out attempting rape on a woman who fought back, a woman who wouldn't have it, a woman bigger than him and she knew it, and he was finding out.
jenny's rear toward jack, ears down,
jack watches her back legs
This was Jenny's introduction to Jack, the meadow and me, within a half hour of her abduction from a life where she was happy. I can't feel bad about taking her away, because she was up for sale and somebody would have bought her. I bought her to be Jack's companion. He was lonesome by himself and I wanted him to have a friend. Her name before was Daisy. I'm one who doesn't like to change a pet's name in the middle of its life. Justin automatically called her Jenny. He's raising some calves with the donkeys. I mentioned I was kind of partial to keeping her former name. He said, "You can call her anything you like. She'll always be Jenny to me." I was fine with that. I like the name Jenny for several reasons, number one being the name for a female donkey, like Jack is for male. They are the very most common names for donkeys in the English speaking world. We tend to like to give our pets unusual names that are unique to the particular pet. I tend that way. I had thought about naming them Tammy and Tyrone. But I also like Jack and Jenny because they are so common, like naming a black cat Midnight. I named my cat friend, who happened to be black, TarBaby, from the Uncle Remus stories. TarBaby sticks to you. I loved TarBaby so much as a kitten I wanted him to stick to me. Also, a song by Sade called TarBaby that is incredibly beautiful. It's the story of a white middle-aged woman given her wild daughter's baby to raise, a mixed race baby. She wasn't too crazy about a chocolate milk baby, but she fell in love with her Tar Baby. One of the most beautiful love songs I know. The last time I saw TarBaby, that I know of, was in a dream where I was in the bed asleep on my back, TarBaby was standing on my chest looking at my face, waking me with his stare. I opened my eyes and he disappeared. The other aspect of Jenny's name I like is the Little Richard song that I still remember all the words to, from fifty-seven years ago, Jenny Jenny. It was one of Little Richard's great rockers like Good Golly Miss Molly and Long Tall Sally.
the cross on jenny's back
It took about all Jenny's physical energy as well as mental energy to deal with her new situation. For weeks they were playing mind games obsessively all the time, like a poker game that goes on for days and days. Jenny was entirely focused on keeping Jack off her back, whatever it took, and Jack's focus was getting on Jenny's back, whatever it took. Their first full day together, she kicked him all day long, all over the meadow, all over his body. He acted like it was nothing. Her kick on his chest with both hooves at once would have sent me over the moon. He didn't pay it any more mind than if it were a cow mooing. Next day, he started kicking back. Third day, Jack was the aggressor in the kick dance. The next day he clamped down on the back of her neck and bent her to his will. I saw what he was doing in amazement. I didn't know how stallions took their mares. It seemed so like Mongol culture and Ottoman culture, which led me to believe they derived their cultures from closeness with horses. Mongols rode horses all day, lived with herds of horses, and treated their women after horse behavior. I began to see how important the equines were in the evolution of civilization, not simply as modes of transportation, but psychic influences too. Watching Jack break Jenny down and force her to let him climb on her back sent a shock wave through all my human rights thinking, feminine equality of intelligence and everything else. It's not cool anymore for men to treat their women as horses do, but it hasn't been this way for very long. I had to remind myself that Jenny is every bit as much a part of this dance as Jack. It is automatic in both of them. They are equines from the other side of the great leap in consciousness from four-leggeds to two-leggeds. I cannot try to understand them from this side of that leap in consciousness with any success. I can understand them to some extent, but not as they understand each other.
Their behavior goes unimaginably far back in our evolution. Equus Africanus asinus. I'm guessing they got their name, Ass, because they kick from behind, from the ass. One of the first aspects of donkey I learned from Jack was his awareness of everything behind as much as everything in front of him. Its like his eyes are as much in the rearview mirror as on the road. He was aware of his whole body with the same sensitivity behind as in front. As both a defensive gesture and offensive, the donkeys swing their ass around to whatever the perceived threat. Yesterday morning when Jack was taking his turn to be the jealous one over the hay, he followed me with his rear end as I walked by behind him. I walked close to him intentionally to see how he would handle it. Not the first impulse in his legs to kick. He was just following me because he was feeling defensive, hungry and jealous for his food, "Mine!" I knew (believed) Jack would not kick me. His ears were back and his knees together like they get before they spring. He followed me with his ass end like his rump had eyes. I find it a fascinating characteristic in donkeys. I'm learning how to read their warnings and what their kicks mean. I'm comfortable in among them up close, bumping and pushing, with some understanding of their warnings. Jenny's kicks have eased from knockout punches to nudges like an elbow nudge, to what she's doing now, back feet cocked, ready to kick, hopping up and down. I'm feeling like a few more months, about the time she has come out the other end of her grief, she'll have Jack trained and she won't even be hopping up and down pretend kicking. Except for when she does. I'm saying she won't feel so defensive. She'll be at home. Her goat friends and her human friends from the past will be a happy memory.