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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

BREAKFAST WITH THE DONKEYS

jenny and jack

A day of sunlight. The donkeys soaked up the rays all day long. They like to take a siesta on the hay they're eating. Makes a good cushion and insulation for the cold ground. The sunlight keeps them warm on a cold day. I'd guess the donkeys' backs are covered with a half inch of dust. Seems like it would insulate against the cold and retain body heat. I touch either one of them on the back and a cloud of dust rises. I'm happy about my friendship with the donkeys. I've been seeing recently how trust between us has grown. I'm no longer careful about my fingers handing them carrots. I break the carrots into chunks of approximately three inches. Jenny or Jack's teeth touch my fingers and they withdraw on contact to the carrot. It will happen average once a morning. It happens because I'm less cautious. I don't bother to protect my fingers carrying hay into the meadow with Jenny on my left biting for a swatch of hay to chew on while we walk out into the meadow, Jack on my right tearing off his swatch to chew in transit. I used to be careful with fingers, but not anymore. They bite the hay close to my fingers without touching. Both are careful not to bite me. It's the karmic return for treating them right, for paying attention to them, not hitting or scolding them. It takes time to earn their trust. They are peaceable beings. In the meadow with each other all day, they are at home, in harmony. They play their donkey games. They enjoy each other. They have found a good balance of their personalities.

jack in foreground

Jack has been especially alert the last few weeks. The moment I open the door, no matter how quietly I turn the knob, no matter where the donkeys are in the meadow, Jack's head and ears are up and he watches to see which direction I'm going, to the car or to their gate. They know my rhythms as well as a dog or cat. Jack being Alpha, he's the one to notice first. Jenny see's Jack's head and ears go up and she looks to see what caught his attention. He will watch me turn toward our hay station. I call out, "Donkey Jack," and he breaks into a run, braying all the way. I harmonize with him. I've found a way I can sing along with him. Instead of attempting to imitate his voice, I sing in my voice. Where he says Honk-Honk, I say Oh-Oh. He brays longer when I sing with him than when I don't. He splutters and snorts at the end of a bray, coming down out of the mild trance a bray brings over him. He's slow to re-enter this reality. The snorting ends when his lips reach for the carrot. Jenny walks behind Jack, a slow, steady walk, in no hurry, but with a destination. She arrives at the fence ready for carrot. Handing a carrot to Jenny is something like handing a hotdog to a dog. A watch your fingers moment. As eagerly as Jenny goes after the carrot, her teeth touch my finger and she automatically withdraws to the carrot. They do it by feel. 

jenny and jack

I don't recall the last time I felt ill at ease walking between them out in the meadow. Putting down the hay this morning, I was loosening the hay for them next to Jenny. There was a time she did not like me nearby when she was eating. I tore the hay up in front of her while she ate from one of the square wafers I was tearing up. I waited for the one she was chewing on last. I picked it up while she was chewing on it and shredded it for her. She kept on chewing. Her eyes showed no apprehension or threat. A few times in the past she has growled at me with ears back for being too close while she was eating. I had to remind her I don't eat donkey food. This is the most recent measure of trust, allowing me to take hay from her mouth while she's eating. She knows I'm making the hay easier for her to eat. She's in a quiet mood. She follows Jack at her own pace. I feel like it is a phase of her pregnancy. She is four months along. She has an inward awareness that holds her attention within. She leaves wariness to Jack in his role as Alpha. Jenny's demeanor now is relaxed. She lets Jack be the lookout, keep his attention alert to surprises. At siesta time, she lies on the hay, head and ears up, still like she's in a meditation. Jack is especially alert for his baby doll. Jack adores his Jenny. I'm glad, too, to know them well enough that I can see the love between them. It is a mutual love they have. Jack would lay down rose petals for Jenny to walk on if he could. And walking on them, to Jenny, would be the same as making love. They know each other so well, they're becoming as one. 

jenny kicks up the hay with her nose

Turns out I was the match-maker in the donkey slave trade. Brought them together by buying them. I don't think of them as bought so much as found. My prayer is they will be kept together for life. They are such beautiful spirits, peaceful, calm, quiet, with deep inner stillness, I'm in awe standing beside them in the meadow, walking around among them. I know they're sensitive when eating, and I give them plenty of space. It is recently I've seen Jenny is no longer jealous of me while she's eating. We bonded deeply in the time she lost her baby. The two of them bonded more deeply and both bonded more deeply with me. I felt their pain and sorrow with them. We connected in the heart. It seems like every day we know each other one step better. I backed the car down to the hay barn today and brought them three bales in the trunk. They know what it means when I roll the bales down the hill to keep under the blue tarp. It's a happy time to see new bales of hay. It's a happy time for me to provide for them. In the hardest mornings of the winter, I felt no hesitation and no discomfort taking carrots and hay to them. I was glad to be doing it. Even when my fingers were freezing and feet slipping and sliding in mud, it was what I was doing at the moment, seeing to it my friends had something to keep their insides warm. If I were being paid to feed the donkeys, I'd feel like it was a sacrifice to suffer cold fingers. Taking their day's food to them in the morning is my love gift. It has no feeling of sacrifice about it. It's what I want to do.   

jack


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