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Thursday, February 13, 2014

AS THE SNOW DEEPENS

night snow

Snow is falling steadily in small flakes, has been for several hours. I'd venture four inches by now. Not going outside to measure it. Going by how it looks out the window, how high the snow is piled on top of the bird feeders. I feel for my donkey friends and the calf. The snow is coming out of the east, or anyway the wind carrying it is coming out of the east, flowing into the donkey shelter. It looks like the temperature is somewhere between fifteen and twenty. I'd like to be able to give my friends a place out of the cold, the wind and the snow, but it can't be done. They have to take it like a beast. Jenny has been in moods lately, makes me wonder what she'll be like in the morning going out into the snow. I'll give them hay close to the fence where they are not so exposed. It's a cove of three trees along there and the wind current that runs through the meadow doesn't include this corner of the meadow. The three of them are doing whatever they are doing. They might be taking turns through the night to be the one with the back to the cold. Yesterday I saw the calf licking Jack behind an ear and then licked Jack's neck. Jack stood and let the calf do its licking. I saw the calf and Jenny eating from the same small mound of hay, their noses a few inches apart. I've seen the calf munching like that with Jack, too. They have become friends to the calf. Jenny has brought the calf to life. Now that it is lively she has to teach it to stay out of her space. The calf is catching on. It stays back at carrot time. Jenny won't let it approach me for a carrot, so I toss a piece to the calf. When the calf became conscious, it had to start learning the rules. It is in learning process now. I see every day its uncertainty about the rules in a given situation. When it's caught on to the donkey rules, it will be at home and comfortable. I'm catching on that the calf has learned to kick backwards from the donkeys and I stay away from the calf's backside.
 
shadow on snow
 
The birds will be anxious for seeds in the morning. The squirrels and chipmunks will hole up and maybe snack from a midden somewhere close to where they nest. If the snow continues all night, we will have appreciable accumulation by morning. Snowed in. One thing I love about being snowed in is my mind relaxes its ongoing mantra, I GOTTA. I don't gotta nothin. If it can't be done inside the house or within easy walking of the house, it's not getting done. It is a fine powdery snow. I've been told it was really a slick snow. Justin was driving on Glade Valley Road when it was maybe a quarter inch on the road. He said when he was at a place where he had some room, he stomped it to see what would happen, a big pickup. It spun in a 360 and he kept on down the road to home. He loves driving in ice and snow. For him, that spin was the hillbilly equivalent of doing a 360 in the air on a snowboard. On a snowboard would be cool, but he thinks it's a whole lot cooler in a truck. He likes to go out after a good snow before the back roads have been cleared and nobody is out driving. He practices high speed driving at slow speeds in the snow, drifting slowly around a tight curve. It's driving practice for him. He is in full control when he is spinning in the road. He is in full control at all times behind the wheel. I feel safe when he is driving, safer than when I'm driving. Going by what he said about the snow being especially slick, I see these tiny flakes ice crystals showering down. The state's present remote-control republican government has cut funding for everything having to do with the people, and giving tax breaks to big corporations. Snow plows have not been by and won't be for a few days. Budget for the state road crews has been slashed to give the major corporations what they want, which trickles down into the politician's bank account.
 
the new round bale
 
A freak out is coursing through facebook dreading the snow. Mark the calendar, nIne months from today, a baby boom will occur in the South. Mid November. Thousands of kids with the same birthdays. The lumps on the ground out the windows are levelling out. It's like a sandstorm passed through and left sand everywhere, white sand. In the morning it will be big white desert everywhere with trees and fence posts sticking up. I can't help but think the fracking that is fracturing the crust of the North American continent is making desert. Texas will be the first place to go to desert as it's so close anyway. China advanced desert into the grasslands of Inner Mongolia by destroying the grasslands, attempting mass agriculture. Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and the Dakotas will turn to desert next . The Appalachian chain will no longer be the water source it once was. Springs have been drying up steadily over a period of several years. Fracking is fracturing all the Appalachian chain. If you'll look at maps, you'll see rivers start in the mountains all over the world. America's rivers are being dried up at their source. Another century and the Mississippi river basin could be an arroyo. The damage has already been done and there is no reversing it. White man came through, superior to all other races in his own mind, and turned a continent that was a cornucopia of plenty into desert in just a few hundred years. White man is not a good steward. American individualism degenerated in a hurry to self-serving narcissism. Altruism isn't even an alternative. It went poof, like irony.  
 
more snow
 
The snow outside is piling up. It is almost level with just a few humps that a few more inches will level. I'm recalling a year with sixteen inches of snow, electrical and telephone lines out. Neighbor Tom Pruitt walked down the road with a cane in snow up to his knees. He came to the door and asked me to walk up to the barn and put some hay out for the cows. In the meadow I found a newborn calf, born on the snow. I knew I had to do something, but did not know what to do. I decided to pick the calf up off the snow and carry it to the barn, put it down on some hay and let mama take care of it in the barn. Mama would not follow me. I carried the calf to the barn. I carried it back to mama to give her a sniff of it and asked her to follow. She didn't. I put the calf down in the barn, took hay out for the cows and made a nest of hay on the place where the calf was born, carried it back from the barn to the hay nest. The calf was light picking it up at first, but carrying it back and forth it grew heavier and heavier until I was glad to be done with it. I did not feel that anything I did was sufficient to the need of the moment. At the same time, I could not find anything else I could do. Couldn't get there with the truck. Roads not even graded yet. The calf made it. That done, I walked up to Tom's to tell him what I'd found and how I took care of it. I wanted him to know right away in case he could tell me something I could do that I had not thought of. Nothing to do. I sat down by his fire and we talked awhile, him telling me something from his experience that the calf born in the snow brought to mind. I went to the door to look outside to see if snow was falling. It had stopped, but wind was blowing snow off the roof suggesting it was snowing. I saw how easily that snow blew and my mind's eye saw big drifts all over the roads as soon as a wind comes along. It's a beautiful snow. It will be easy to walk in, powdery and dry. Maybe it won't be so hateful for the donkeys, a fluffy snow that offers little to no resistance to the feet.    
 
jack and jenny before the snow
 
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1 comment:

  1. You are such a kind person Tj...and the animal friends know that as well as your neighbors...Love sitting and reading what you write and would love to be able to sit in person and converse with you about so many different things...it would be a satisfying and happy time for me.

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