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Friday, April 18, 2014


jack in the sun

I think I saw a bear yesterday driving up Air Bellows Gap Road  near the bottom of the mountain. Just past the turn-off to Waterfall Road I saw what I took for the top of  black car ahead of me in the curve, seeing it through foliage at the side of the road. Around the curve, no car. It was a smooth movement. First thought was a big black cat. Only saw it half a second. I looked into the trees and saw nothing, knowing better than to look because the four-leggeds in the wild have a way of vanishing among trees. It mystified me thinking it was a car's roof, then no car. I saw a bobcat cross the road there, touched down in the center of the road, jumped in one bound up the bank into the trees and disappeared. It was light tan with black spots. I'd never heard of wild cats having spots. This was no big housecat. It was a full-sized bobcat, even seemed bigger than a bobcat. I've seen several deer cross the road there. Walking the road, I've seen bear tracks in that region of the road. I saw a blacksnake stretched across the road there, stopped, stepped out of the pickup, spoke to the snake and told it this is your lucky day. Somebody else would have run you over. The snake paid me no mind. I picked up a stick on the side of the road, cautious, knowing how fast blacksnakes are, and touched the tip of its tail. It went off like an arrow. Gone. One evening just after dark I saw eyes in the ditch there to the left. I looked. It was a feral cat with a broken back. I picked her up gently and sat her on the pickup's seat, took her home and made a bed for her in the cat carrier and closed her up for the night. The other cats would go to the cage door and look at her. It seemed like they understood the cat was not right. Next morning I drove her to the vet for them put her to sleep.
jack a-wallerin
Also yesterday, sitting here writing I saw Jack at the far end of the meadow rolling on his dust circle. I picked up the camera, crept outside, using a big white pine trunk to hide behind, set the camera, held it to the side of the tree and zoomed in on Jack. I've been wanting to get some pictures of him a-wallerin. It feels good to him. The dust is about keeping the parasites down. Every time I touch his back a cloud of dust arises. I brushed him once and first thing he did was wallow  in some dirt. He chose the spot for his dust circle. He dug up the grass with his hoof over time, making it a little bit bigger each time. Now he has the circle he needs in the place of his choice. I enjoy allowing them their donkey nature. The meadow is much cleaner now that the calf is not dropping cow pies where they sleep, where they eat, anywhere. Donkeys have piles they go to. They're particular, very particular. Donkey intelligence inspires my respect. Every day I connect with their consciousness during carrot time, awed by them. Jack is the same almost every day. He has an even temperament. Jenny is different almost every day. This last week she has been gentle daily, not aggressive toward Jack, though he was being aggressive toward her. They don't kick to hurt anymore. Their kicks amount to gestures, a form of talking. I like to observe their relationship. I stay away from trying to figure out what is behind donkey ways. They are like people who don't talk. They communicate by body language, sounds, eye contact. I like them to see my eyes when I talk to them. Jenny, who does not like to be touched, wants me to rub her cheek and forehead, her neck, her ears, only after I have given Jack some petting. My thinking is that Jack has been seized by a testosterone rush the last couple weeks. He'd go at Jenny and she kicked him every time he came near. He wearies of the kicking and starts biting her neck in earnest, taking hold of her by the nape of her neck and pulling her down. It subdues her. My guess is that Jenny's quiet nature this week has to do with Jack taking charge of her.  

jack a-wallerin

Though I tend to give most attention to Jenny due to her demanding it. Sometimes I feel like I don't give Jack enough attention, but he doesn't care. He likes the attention, but has no jealousy over Jenny getting my attention. This morning I bent down eye-to-eye with him talking. I saw in his eye and felt from him that we still have a special bond from the time before Jenny when we became friends. It has been awhile that Jenny has been with us. She occupies his mind. She is his focus. Sometimes he acts like he doesn't even see me. He's in a mental place with Jenny and I'm not included. Today he looked at me to say we are still friends, he has not forgotten the good times we had when I sat in the meadow last summer and talked to him while he grazed a circle around me. I felt that he was in a time of triumph with Jenny, had temporarily broken her will, had her under control, and he had a break from his obsession. Jenny was calm and he was calm. He doesn't always feel like he's in control. Jenny has her times when she subdues Jack. In the half a year they've been together, they have calmed way down with each other. I feel like what they're going through now is another phase in their process of getting used to each other. They are becoming mates. From not knowing each other at all to living together by surprise one day to learning each other without recourse. I like in Jenny that she has her own will. She commands Jack's respect. Jack has been totally smitten with love for Jenny from the first day. I can see in him a kind of reverence for Jenny. She is not in love with he, however. I see traces of affection between them sometimes. She is the ideal woman to Jack, a goddess. Remembering the day I saw Jack kiss Jenney and she did not recoil in alarm. They were facing each other, her head about half way up and his head down closer to the ground. He suddenly raised his head, touched his upper lip to hers, let his head back down. I saw her accept the kiss as such, telling me she does not dislike Jack kissing her.
jack wants a carrot
My feeling grows stronger that Jenny responds to Jack's affection. I've seen them play. That they play tells me they are comfortable with each other. I see over and over the findings of quantum physicists that an observer changes things. I've seen in all the four-leggeds I've known that they can get each other's attention and my attention by staring. Caterpillar's late sister Tapo would stand up and look in the window at me until she caught my eye. She learned that scratching the glass with a claw caught my attention quicker than staring. I suppose staring amounts to focusing consciousness on the other until consciousness connects. Given that consciousness IS, it stands to reason that electrons and protons are conscious. Being watched, we are aware of it. Some painters like to be watched while they paint. I can't stand it. I can't paint with somebody watching. Painting is a performance, but a private performance toward making an image, the image the result of the solitary performance. Caterpillar wants me to hold her. She sits on the floor beside me and meows. I picked her up, talked to her a bit and put her on my reading chair. Of course that's not what she wanted. So she stares at me until I see the disapproval in her eyes. Then she closes her eyes and turns her head like it doesn't matter, It's as good a place to take a nap as any. Jack and Jenny are focusing attention on each other at all times. They graze near each other. Even when they drift apart grazing, each knows where the other is. As soon as I step outside the door, Jenny will see me from wherever she is in the meadow. She starts walking toward me, Jack sees her in motion, sees me, then he starts walking. Seeing them walk at a distance is like watching African herd animals in a National Geographic video. I see Africa. They turn the meadow into an African plain.
jenny sez, carrot pleez


  1. TJ - I love the pics and the stories that go along with them! Too late I realized that I was probably close to you when we went through Charlotte on the way to NYC - next time I'd love to "drop by" and meet you all!

  2. I love that Jack and Jenny have fallen in love and can't wait to see how the family dynamics are after the baby is born...How the two of them will react to having a baby between is going to make for some interesting blogs and photos...Our Marshal loves rolling around int eh grass and what ever is available that smells...and then he loves to transfer that smell to our furniture...most especially the side of our bed...soon as I let him in the bedroom he will rub back and forth on side of the bed...maybe he is trying to pick up our smells.....Marshal will also sit and stare at me if he wants something and I ignore him..he stares until finally I pay attention. I love watching animals....they are so interesting...

  3. I love your interpretations and translations of your four leg companions. I'm surrounded by a whole herd of 4, 2 and fins myself. We have a deep relationship and they talk to me all day and I'm pretty clear what they are saying. You know there are several researchers working on interpretation of animal languages. One has already translated prairie dog language (quite complex as you would expect). The VP at Google is working on a device to interpret animal languages into human speak. If you had such a device, would you want to know what Caterpillar is really saying (not sure Jack and Jenny are very vocal)? I think the day we are able to actually interpret animal speak, we will be horrified to hear what they actually think of us, the apex species and their overlord.

  4. Trying to comment for the third time hoping that's the charm.

  5. Well, talk about a learning curve and jumping through hoops to get comments published. I've upgraded to Google+ and added an RSS feed to my menu bar. I'd rather leave comments here and build your blog profile — just in case a publisher comes calling sometime soon. Now I can add comments as I read from the beginning. Loved May 2009. On to June.