jenny and jack
New changes in the donkey meadow suggest that Jenny might actually be pregnant. It used to be when I went outside that Jenny would be the first to see me. The last few days it has been Jack who notices first and Jenny goes on acting like she didn't see a thing, same as Jack before. I'm looking for explanation for the change in last 4-5 days. Jenny's jealousy has waned. Jack's attentiveness has increased. The mornings I go out with carrot, Jack sees me first, tears out running and braying, Jenny looks up and walks toward the gate. Jack was maybe twenty feet beyond Jenny when I appeared. He started running. He stopped beside Jenny and looked at me quizzically, not certain of his perception. I've found he does not recognize my face beyond fifty or so feet. He looked like he was questioning. I called his name twice and held the camera up to take a picture. He started braying and ran to the gate in full bray. Jenny raised her head and took her time. She had a new demeanor. I've wondered if her foot hurt again. Doesn't appear to. Finally, it came to me that Jenny might be going into a new phase of her pregnancy. What she's feeling going on inside, I presume she does not understand, though donkeys have a complexity of knowing that I'm not able to understand. I dare not presume. Nonetheless, she's deferring Alpha to Jack, which I've only seen her do when she's not feeling right. She was gentle toward Jack over the carrots, didn't blow, grunt and dive at his neck with her teeth for receiving a chunk of carrot. She acted like it was ok for him to have all the carrot he wanted. I think I've detected a part of her belly showing some expansion, but don't know donkeys well enough to tell with any degree of certainty. Time will answer the question. The only way Jenny could not be pregnant would be if she or Jack were infertile. My thinking is she possibly conceived in February, the coldest part of this winter, meaning baby donkey will arrive in February. It takes twelve months for donkeys.
jack starts to run
Jack has become my friend. In the three months before Jenny's arrival, I took my time getting acquainted with Jack, a little at a time. I was wary of him for awhile and he was wary of me. We learned to trust each other and he became my friend. He learned to trust my hands. Jenny's arrival took all Jack's attention. I left them alone for a month. They rampaged all over the meadow. Jenny did not know me. I assessed the safest place was my side of the fence, so I let them fight it out. It's been slow getting to know Jenny due to her circumstances of being taken away from her life before and muscled, against her will, into a strange meadow with a sex-crazed wild ass. I respected her grief and did not push her, let her come to me in her own time. That time is long past and by now my relationship with Jenny is equal to my relationship with Jack. Only difference, we have different histories and the donkeys have different personalities. Having seen Jenny's relaxation with women she meets, I wonder if Jack feels identity with my gender, too. We do have a personal feeling of friendship I don't yet have with Jenny. It feels like I have mutual affection with Jenny. I've only known Jenny as Alpha, which I've learned by now is not who she is, but a role. Jenny without the role is as calm as Jack. The Alpha in Jack appears to make him protective of Jenny. His attitude toward me seems friendlier in his Alpha role. Before, we were friends across a divide, and now it's like the divide has narrowed considerably. Jack has a happy demeanor about him in these days of feeling protective with Jenny. It was love at first sight for Jack when he met his babydoll. He's been smitten since their first night together. I wonder, too, how much of his apparent delight has to do with Jenny falling in love with him. She still kicks at him when he's a nuisance, though she looks at him now with affection. Asked how I know, I don't know. I feel it, sense it, interpret observation.
Today is the third day of all-day fog. It is a cloud passing over the mountain, a very long cloud. Fog is one of my favorite features of living on a mountain. Sometimes it looks like landscape drawn on white paper with soft graphite lines. I like being inside a cloud. I loved flying through canyons of boiling cumulus clouds and I loved flying through cloud on ascent and descent. I'd feel a very minor reverie for being inside a cloud. Working on the farm, I found when tired and needing a break, I could lie on the ground on my back and watch the clouds until I see them moving. I would lie there and watch the clouds move for a few minutes, then get up and go back to work refreshed. Watching clouds move was refreshing as watching a waterfall. Seeing the fog, I feel the minor reverie as dreamlike where only the subject I'm looking at is visible, all around it, in Shakespeare's words, circled in sleep. I also think of Chinese poet Han Shan when fog is on the mountain.
I wanted to go off to the eastern cliff---
How many years now I've planned the trip?
Yesterday I pulled myself up by the vines,
But wind and fog forced me to stop half way.
The path was narrow and my clothes kept catching,
The moss so spongy I couldn't move my feet,
So I stopped under this red cinnamon tree.
I guess I'll lay my head on a cloud and sleep.
tr Burton Watson