At the Carpenter house across the road and into the trees, we were aiming to watch a movie after dinner. Judy and I went to a Cuban restaurant in West Jefferson, Havana Café, for lunch. It was in the zone beyond good, delicious Cuban cooking, finished with a fine cup of Cuban coffee. It was the best meal I've had since last time at Havana Café. We bought supper, too, because the food was so good, and carried it back to the house in doggy boxes. Lucas had wounded his back and was laid up at the house with heating pad and a book. A Latin family sat at a table next to ours. They had three darling little kids. Judy and I talked quite a bit about how beautiful the children were, radiant faces, charming personalities. Their movements were free-flowing like dance, beautifully behaved by excellent, loving training. It was a joy to sit next to the family, the spirit among them, a family together happy, or seeming so. The atmosphere in the place, what I felt stepping inside the door, was open and clear, light, warm and receptive, the aroma in the air of Cuban food, an olfactory cello vibrato. Makes me want to be born in Cuba next lifetime. And even better, was seeing Selma again. The feeling inside the restaurant is Selma's spirit.
I came back to the house after supper, before dark, to see if Caterpillar had taken to lying on the warm road surface when the cool air of evening came in. She's taken to lying on the road since her fur was shaved. I understand her purpose, but wanted to be sure she was not in the road before we settled in to watch the movie, Fast and Furious One. She was not in the road, so I called her, and gradually she came into view from wherever she was napping. I took her inside, put down some fresh food for her, and left her inside the house. Headed back up the road and saw Jack and Jenny grazing the grass beside the road. Exactly what I did not need just before dark. I backed down the road to the house, went in and put grain in their bucket and walked up the road after them. I walked Jack into the gate by the road, and he turned around and bolted out the gate, looking back at me with a laughing eye, you can't catch me. I walked back to the house and returned in the car. They were gone, out of sight. I had not been more than five minutes and they were nowhere in sight. I went to the place the bear leaves territorial markings, a good 180 degree view of the landscape. No donkeys. I brayed for Jack and called their names. No response. Only an echo. I thought I heard Jack snort twice. Jack cannot resist braying back to me when I call him with my version of a bray. We sing together and he loves it, as do I. No response from Jack. The last time I saw them, they had an attitude that they were not paying me any mind. I gave up looking at dark. Lucas came down to the road looking for me, wondering what happened. We went and watched the movie.
I woke up this morning and went for a walk calling for them. No response. I thought I'd do better staying at the house. Somebody would see them and call me. The call came. Lucas and Judy had left to go home. They found Jenny near the Parkway, a mile from their meadow. Judy walked Jenny back to the first driveway, surprised at how readily Jenny stayed with her, where they waited for me. On the way there, I saw Jack in the road looking lost. I knew they'd have a different attitude in the morning. I let him be, and went on up the road to find Jenny. She was waiting next to their car. I gave her some carrots. They drove on. I stayed with Jenny, let her eat several carrots to relax her. I felt I would have better success with her relaxed, bring it home to the two of us. I gave her a handful of grain, which she ate out of my palm. I went back to the car and drove at donkey pace with Jenny walking behind. I did not want to hurry her, especially did not want her to slip and fall. It was a downhill grade, slick on pavement with hooves. We found Jack. I gave him some carrot and grain. He was visibly relieved to see Jenny. I stayed with them a few moments, a few more handfuls of grain, talking to them, touching them, relaxing them, myself in awe of how easy this project turned out to be. We weren't home, so I was not yet in celebration mode. It was a half mile to their meadow left to go.
I drove slowly, at donkey walking pace, watching them in the mirror. A few times one would be distracted by something growing beside the road that looked worth checking out. I'd hold the grain bucket out the window and shake it. They know the sound. It distracted their attention every time. I crept along, allowing them to walk at a comfortable pace. I was thinking how glad I am they walked two miles on pavement. Now they are comfortable with the texture. I felt like it would work on their hooves, which could use a trimming, file them down a bit. When I saw them close, they looked like it might have helped a little. Jack has been working on his hooves digging at the dirt. His hooves were needing a trimming, then he filed them down himself. They are back to just right. I felt like it was good for their hooves, good for their leg muscles to go for a two mile walk, good for their minds to spend a night away from home scared all night not knowing where they are. I pulled the car into its parking place. Picked up the bucket of grain and walked through the gate into the meadow, donkeys following, picking up their pace walking through the gate, visibly glad to be back. I poured the remains of the grain for them. They took note with a nibble, and Jack walked in a bee line to their bedding places in the shade of the rhododendron, Jenny close behind. I walked back to the house happy this dilemma was so easily resolved, even glad it happened. They had crossed the creek the first time ever. The gate to the other meadow beside the house I had open for next time moving them back. They followed their donkey curiosity.
donkeys behind bars