jenny's wide-awake eyes
Went to town today for groceries and a forty pound bag of sunflower seeds for the birds, squirrels, ground squirrels (chipmunks), and coon that cleans up after dark the remains of the day. The coon broke the roof of the feeder throwing it off. I put a flat board on top that works even better, I can sprinkle seeds on top too. The top's only purpose is to keep the rain out. The coon throws the board off every night, gives it quite a pitch. I'm guessing it puts its head under it and throws it raising the head fast, the way Jenny nudges me with her head. At first with Jenny I took it for aggression, but she does it when she's not aggressive too. It's a fondness, a kind of play. I've been concerned for people I take to the meadow to see the donkeys that she might give one of her nudges to a kid or a small woman and knock them down. She's never done it with anyone one but me. This leads me to suspect it's a friendliness gesture for me in particular, her friend. Her eyes sparkle when she does it. One time I was out in the field, returning to the house after taking them some hay. Jack walked up behind me and pushed my back with his head. His only intent was to surprise me. Jenny pushed me in the back with her head one time, a gentle nudge. It was like she saw the chance to do it and felt like seeing if she could make me jump. I feel like my constant enchantment with the donkeys is they are powerful, powerful beasts, deadly as a bear. Without a .45 I have no defense if one turned on me with intent. No stick I could carry would be a defense against a donkey attack. When I'm down and feel like an orphan baby on a doorstep, I can bring myself back telling self, at least I am someone who can laugh with a donkey.
jack says howdy y'all
The donkeys have become important to me in this way. The only thing I knew about donkeys besides beast of burden when Jack came into the meadow was they kick. People I know who knew donkeys all warned, They'll kick you. You better carry a stick. Carrying a stick is not my style unless it's to keep my own balance. It was sound counsel and appreciated as such. I believed from knowing dogs and cats I could get to know a donkey, person to person, well enough that I could be safe in the meadow and we'd be friends. I have this theory that the core of every heart is love. The nature of the universe and every living entity is by nature love itself. Like the theory of evolution and the theory of gravity bear out, my theory bears out. In the first weeks of getting acquainted with Jack, I asked him to teach me donkey. I told him he's the first donkey I ever met. I don't know anything about donkey personality or donkey nature. He understood. I learned so much about donkey from Jack that I thought I understood donkey fairly well when Jenny came into the meadow. First thing I learned was I don't know donkey at all. She was a very different donkey from Jack. Now that she has calmed down from her grief and the trauma of such a radical change in her life, she's quiet like Jack and not rambunctious anything like before. Several months I'd only see her with her ears back. Now I see her with ears up. It's a new Jenny. It's Jenny at home. The feeling in the movie Twelve Years a Slave was much like the feeling I got from Jenny in the first six months. She did not like having her life changed so radically against her will without recourse. I feel like her lemon turned to lemonade. She fell in love with Jack and her new human, is loved in turn. She loves her meadow. The worst day of her life took her into a life of love. She found her man and her human. I love that change in her. Every morning I am happy to see Jenny a happy donkey with her ears up and a sparkle in her big donkey eyes, relaxed, calm, munching carrot, savoring carrot flavor at home.
jack walking too fast for the camera focus to keep up
Sometimes I think I may not be able to conduct convincing business or make money in big numbers or be popular, but I can have a bond of understanding with a donkey. Jane Goodall knew the same joy with her chimps. I believe my whole being benefits more from bonding with donkeys than knowing how to make money. Every morning carrying carrots to Jenny and Jack waiting at the fence, Jenny squealing, Jack doing a half bray that sounds like whimpering and crying, a comic expression of joy that sounds like weeping. My heart glows with love approaching them. Looking into their eyes the love flows between us. We've learned to communicate by paying attention. Attention is the channel communication flows through. Love is the seat of attention. And love begets love. Dogs and cats I've lived with have taught me love is communication itself. By way of love we can understand each other without language. Telepathy goes hand in hand with love. I approach the donkeys with love in my heart and they feel it. I love them first and they, one at a time, open their hearts to me. They feel love the same as we do. I sometimes feel anxious for Jenny to have a baby so I can see and feel the mother love in her and see their love bond like Crystal and Vada. Because I love Jenny so much I want her to have her own love experience with Jack and her own baby. It makes me happy to see Jenny and Jack in love because I love them both and love to see both my donkeys are happy donkeys.
I walk out into the meadow and my friends gather round saying, Hi, walking beside me. Sometimes Jack will walk over close to me so our sides touch while we walk. At first, my own fear of the unknown took it for aggression, but it's the closeness, it's touching. They're very physical. We humans have sophisticated ourselves away from touch. It took me by surprise, their liking for bumping, standing side by side. It's how they do with each other. I came to see that their wanting to stand up against me side by side was not pushing me, but bumping making contact. They don't have hands. I can put my hands on them, but they can't touch me back. They bump me with their sides and nudge me with their noses for the touch. They are big, powerful four-leggeds. They bump each other with more force than with me. They've learned I'm a puny two-legged easy to knock over and they're careful about overpowering me. A couple days ago I was wanting to go through the gate and Jenny was standing sideways the other side of it. She saw I wanted through. I told I'd like to come through the gate. She wouldn't move. I pushed the gate attempting to push her with it. She wouldn't budge. I pushed and squeezed through the gate. She held her ground, laughing all the time at the fun trick she was pulling on me. I knew she was playing and I regarded it as such. Rather than yell at her and hit her, I laughed with her. Good trick. Once I made it through the gate, she was done with the game and walked along with me. It makes me happy that I have been able to become such friends with two donkeys, an experiment in love that gave evidence of its "power." Soft, gentle power, like water and air. I walk side by side with these powerful African herd animals that can return to their inner wildness as fast as a cat, safe, even protected by them. The only technique I go by to train them is to love them. Loved, they love in turn and train themselves. They want to please. They pay close attention to my response to their attention. And I pay attention to them the same. If I were to carry a stick into the meadow they would want to smell it and feel it with their lips to have a sense for what it was, a piece of tree limb. No fear would be associated with the stick. I've wanted them to have no fear of me and for me to have no fear of them. Love got er done.