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Tuesday, January 28, 2014


donkey breakfast for jack on a snowy morn
Upon arising from the crypt of sleep this morning, I had birds to feed, donkeys and a calf to feed, cat to feed, coffee to brew, netflix envelope to put in the mailbox, the chores. My head did not want to go out into the ten degree morning. Soon after my feet meet the floor, the four-leggeds gather at the fence staring at the window they evidently understand is an opening to see what's going on inside the ice cream man's barn. They must be able to hear me walking in the house. Thought I'd set the coffee in motion first, let it make while I feed my window decorations, the birds in two windows, the donkeys in the other. Half way to the kitchen, just a few steps, Jack started braying. The three were gathered at the gate looking at the window, Jack in full bray. I said, OK. I left off the coffee as less important than taking breakfast to my friends out in the ten degree snow. I put on jacket, packed a couple of carrots in one pocket, camera in the other, and made a bee line to Jenny with a third of a carrot. She's first because she's Alpha and I want to respect their sense of hierarchy. As long as Jenny gets hay first, carrot first, attention first, grain first, she's happy. She's biggest, she's first. That's the law from insects to Wall Street. Give Jack a piece of carrot first and Jenny is all over him kicking and pushing him. It goes against form for Jack as well as for Jenny when I treat him first. Jack brayed to me while I approached the fence and I was drawn to him first, just to thank him for the song. Right away I gave Jenny a chunk of carrot first, then Jack. She saw that I only spoke to him, didn't give him the carrot yet. Jenny has been looking at me with a gentler eye since I've caught on to her role. This morning I felt a warm breeze of affection in her gaze.
I love how the landscape rolls over jenny's back
Jenny and I have grown into trust for each other. We only have our behavior to go by. I show her I can be trusted in every move of my hands especially. I've learned to keep my hands off her until she invites me to touch her. In the last week I've noticed in her eye an invitation to touch her neck or around her ears and rub her forehead. A woman kept her before, so Jenny only knows the human male to muscle her into cages she didn't want to go into and take her life completely away from her, a captive slave. Jenny is wild at heart and so is Jack. I really like that in a donkey. Cats have it too. Jenny is a good bit more spirited than Jack. I don't mean Jack is less wild at heart, but Jenny has the role of protector of the herd, because she's the biggest. She's not vain about being head donkey, it's just her role. If Jack were the bigger of the two, it would be his role. Jack is a laid back under the shade tree kind of guy that listens to Burning Spear and Baaba Maal. Jenny is a woman no man pushes around unless he wants his throat cut. I like that in Jenny. I'm not so sure Jack likes it much. I don't mean she's a cut-throat, but she is an independent woman who stands firmly on the ground as herself. Jenny is a babe that throws her bra on the stage at a Kid Rock concert. This is what I see in Jenny when I call her spirited. She's not to be disrespected. I only respect her. She respects me because I respect her. She's taught me the same as she's taught Jack and the calf to leave her her space. She taught me by simply moving away from my hand when I touched her. I let Jenny determine how close she wants my proximity. I don't want to push her beyond where she's comfortable. I don't want to control her.
jenny's organic breakfast

The warm look in her eye this morning suggested that what I've been sensing might be the case has turned out to be the case, the trust between us has reached a new level, wariness relaxed. I'm finding as I relax toward them and they relax toward me, I am able to flow somewhat with their own customs, like hierarchy and body language, enough that I'm feeling like it might be a doorway into getting to know them, person to person. I look to the morning I greet them at the fence and see in their eyes them saying, "Zup dude?" I'm thinking it would be fun to rig them a speaker in the shed and play some fiddle and banjo music to them. I believe they'd like Uncle Dave Macon, The Camp Creek Boys, Tommy Jarrell, Hazel Dickens, The Roan Mountain Hilltoppers. I've an idea Vladimir Horowitz's solo piano would be to their satisfaction too, and maybe Murray Perahia playing Goldberg Variations. It might be too much of a kundalini rush for their consciousness. I don't want to mess them up projecting my forebrain consciousness onto them. It's not even accessible to them. It's barely and infrequently accessible to us. Since I have in myself their level of consciousness and they do not have in themselves mine, I feel better about learning to communicate with them according to their understanding. How do I learn it? Let them teach me. I'd rather they teach me to do donkey tricks than me teach them human tricks. Id rather watch Jack and Jenny run around the meadow playing chase than see them roll over and play dead on command. I want them to be donkey and teach me what donkey is. Needing to take a break. It's time to take afternoon hay to four-leggeds. They're ready.
jenny and jack tuck their tails to the breeze
This morning I took them a little less hay than usual due to it snowing. I thought they might be better off not to have their afternoon hay snowed on in the morning. I like to watch them eat. I feel like an old hillbilly grandma finding her enjoyment seeing family eat at her table. I took the camera in one pocket and made pictures of the donkeys in the snow and different compositions in the snow. The temperature remains at fifteen degrees. I know that's nothing in Trondheim, Norway, but I'm in the American South, a long ways from the north pole. About an inch of ground-cover is all the snow that fell. Donkeys have had snow on their backs all day. The calf too. A cardinal flits on the white snow looking for sunflower seeds the other birds missed. The rhododendron leaves are curled tight like cigarillos and hanging down. Another beautiful day in Helsinki.
the human barn and horseless buggy

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