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Thursday, April 23, 2015

DONKEY POWER

jenny eats her sweet grain

Yesterday, a brake line sprung a leak. Appointment for 1:30 today. Drove the eight miles carefully, plotted the route uphill the first mile, downhill four miles in a gentle slope requiring little brake activity. Downhill another mile, rather steep at the beginning, drop down into lower gear to keep from needing brakes, a gentle downhill grade levelled out for the next three miles with an fairly long uphill toward the end, a right turn at the top of the hill, no brakes necessary, and level for the next half mile. Made it with still enough brakes to stop when needed, like the time someone backed out of a driveway in front of me, unaware a car was in sight. I was glad for what brake I had to stop. If the brake had failed, I'd have used the emergency brake by foot. Found it and put my foot on it for the feel of where it was before I pulled out of the parking space. It would stop, but it was slow to stop. I had to start braking before I otherwise would. It was just a matter of being careful like driving on ice. I've passed my driving on ice test several times on as many kinds of ice. Driving on ice requires absolute focus of attention and knowing your car. I'm glad I'm able to take this front-wheel drive v6 Buick almost anyplace I can take a 4-wheel drive pickup. The 4-wheel drive goes on ice just a little better than front-wheel. A few years ago, I couldn't make it up a certain rise in the road up the mountain from Pine Swamp, almost, but not quite. I knew the 4-wheel I drove before could have made it, though barely. The new brake line required dipping into the well of credit card. I don't like to go there, but figure this is what they're for, necessity. Not that I mind going to amazon a few times a month. 

jack eats his sweet grain

Also yesterday, I took the sweet grain to the donkeys later than usual. They were grazing at the far end of the meadow. I always pour the grain over the fence, because they get rambunctious in their jealous anxiety. They're so excited they squeal, snort, kick, have a body language argument. 

Jack: I want it now, can't stand waiting, now, gotta have it now, please, please, now.

Jenny: Get outta my way. I'm first. Move it. Get outta here. Now. I'll kick your ass. 

Jack: Oh no, can't stand to see Jenny eat and me have none. Squeal. Grunt. Snort. Moan. I can't stand it another second. 

I pour his out for him, most of it bouncing off his head after he goes for the first grains to fall. He doesn't mind. He likes to feel it. Jenny, too, dives into it as soon as the grain starts pouring, liking the feel of it bouncing off her head. Sweet grain from heaven. Neither Jenny nor Jack like me to to talk to them while they're having their treat. They're busy not only eating, but guarding what they're eating, their back ends aimed at each other. This makes it necessary to pour their grain at least three donkey lengths apart. Less than a donkey length between their rear ends makes them anxious, ready to fight off the other, though there never is a threat, until Jenny leaves her grain and pushes Jack away from his. She eats his grain and he goes and finishes hers. It's how they do with hay too.  

jack and jenny

I walked out into the meadow quite a ways before they looked up. Both took off at a gallop straight at me, Jack braying, Jenny squealing. They were so excited they ran to me too fast to stop on the wet ground and grass, and ran by me, one on either side almost touching me with their sides. It was a rush of power. I felt the power in these huge horse forms running wide open within inches of me on either side. Neither one touched me because neither one intended to. It got my attention in a big way. They were huge and powerful. I thought of the Plains Indians riding their horses in a herd of stampeding buffalo, hanging on with their legs while they use bow and arrow with their arms. If they don't hit it just right, buffalo and horse running full speed, the buffalo will fall into the horse, horse and man hit the ground and are trampled to death immediately. The feeling when the donkeys ran by gave me a glimpse of the physical power those guys rode with, from the Comanches to the Lakota. I've not been around horses much. Their power overwhelms me. Two full-sized donkeys on either side of me in their power was like a gust of hundred mph wind for a second. They turned and came back to me, bumping each other, biting at each other, Jenny swinging around at Jack, Jack swinging around at Jenny, and me in the middle. I knew they would not kick me or step on me. The feeling of their power in a brief sparring match was strong, inches away all the way around. Jenny swung her rear end around at me. I put my hand on her rump to stop the momentum. The touch of my hand took the fire out of her. She calms all the way down when I put my hand on her rump like that to stop her. Jack calmed down. I poured the grain for them and got my puny human ass out of there. It was not my power that stopped her, but the gentleness in the gesture.

jenny and jack

My hand against the power of a donkey is no more than a gesture. First couple of times, I put my hand up reflexively to give myself leverage to get away from her. I found every time she quieted down at merely the touch of my hand. I can't stop a donkey from doing anything with one hand, not even with two hands. Jack and Jenny are evidence to me that gentleness works far better than force. I know that I cannot force a donkey. I do not ever attempt to force either one in any way. Their only experience with me has been gentleness and feeding them. When I touch them, it's not to control. I'm their waiter at the donkey hay restaurant and serve them carrots every morning. I talk to them in a friendly tone of voice. I never have scolded or barked at one of them. I'll let out a yelp when Jenny swings her rear end around at me. The yelp catches her attention and my hand on her rump calms her down. My feeling is that she recognizes she is in automatic sparring mode and the touch of my hand reminds her it's her friend between her and Jack. It shows me a great deal of caring and respect. I wanted to see what they would do with me holding the grain container in their midst. It's pretty wild. I stayed this side of the fence today. They get so rampageous with each other over the sweet grain, I don't feel comfortable standing between them while they're sparring. They don't even kick each other anymore. They make kicking gestures and seldom make contact with anything but their back knees. The power I felt in their midst, them jealous and fired up with ears back, swinging around quick as a cat, gave me a good sense of their immense bodies. That I am safe among such powerful beings gives me evidence that gentleness and respect train without training. 
    
jenny and jack


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