Thursday, December 19, 2013

Finding Contentment

After a loose day at school that included lots of sugar and a little bit of work, I head up to Emily's to milk for her. I forgot to grab my chore pants this morning. The goats don't appreciate my favorite green skinny jeans that I swore were strictly for clean things. I am bad at keeping nice things nice.

I press my head against the goat's side, my hands working rhythmically, then clumsily, thinking about contentment, the theme of my week.

I find it here, cascading down my midline: the honest smell of manure, squishy beneath my muck boots, the child-like sneezes of the goats as they greedily submerge their heads in dusty, dry alfalfa. Out from behind my desk, my body rejoices. I close the gate to the gully, freshen the goat's water, laugh at the chickens, fluffing their rusty red feathers as they ready for another cold night in their perches.

The ever-shifting light plays off the mountains, glowing over the Uncompahgre Plateau. It touches the moisture and dust that hangs in the air, as if giving even the smallest particles a fond kiss goodnight. I fetch each goat and lead them back to the worn barn. As we head for the stanchion, I graze the rough, unfinished wood. Some boards are darker than the others, some longer, shrewdly hodgepodged together in a way that reminds me of my china plate collection, pieced together from various thrift stores across the West.

It is here that I know myself. It is here that the heaviness of this season and the darkness of winter take pause. Here, a hoof in the pail is no big deal, a hoof in the pail, no measure of my ability, no cause for self-beratement. Here, I see what is inside me and find peace.

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