I love this poem by Scottish poet, John Glenday. “…love furnishes the wings…”
I love this poem by Scottish poet, John Glenday. “…love furnishes the wings…”
I lean against the chicken-wire fence, hoof trimmers hanging
From my belt. In one hand, I hold your empty sippy-cup while the other
Shades my eyes from the setting sun. Until a moment ago, I thought
You were only steps behind me but when I reached the gate, I realized your
Short strides no longer crunched in the leaves at my heels. I turn
To find you yards away with a hand on Tee. You are grinning and Tee
Stands stoically. You, at his side, show no concern in the slightest that
I am not by yours. Behind you, Bunny lowers her large head and you
Turn, moving your hand to her nose the same way I always have.
The setting sun illuminates the chaos of curls around your
Sweet head and highlights flicking bugs swishing in the
Tick-tock of the donkey’s tails—the only part of them moving.
Little Foot, my darling, I’m beaming with pride. Surrounded by
Gentle beasts, you have no fear, no hesitation. As the sun sets,
I stand here leaning, watching, pondering from where you
Channel your bravery when I realize that it’s your
Wonder of the world around you. This place is an explore, a wonderland, a
Spell-casting and curious cauldron that you’ve begun to create.
You’ve befriended the beasts, they are loyal to you. Imagine where you’ll go,
Especially now, with those two by your side. They have stories to tell, you know.
Just look into their infinitely, brown eyes and they’ll tell you secrets that
No one else will ever know.
I call your name, just then, and you turn to me with a hand still on Bunny’s nose.
I say, never mind, sweetie and I continue to lean while you stand tall, the world swirling
All around you.
This morning, I am writing because I’m looking for something.
Over and over within the past week, I’ve sat down in the squeaky, blue recliner in my living room, opened my laptop, and stared at a blank document on the computer screen. I would start to type and after a line or two, I’d hold down the backspace button until I returned to an empty page and lonely, blinking cursor. I’m searching for understanding….understanding in my own feelings and in the world around me because honestly, I’m just bloody confused.
It’s like the time I circled the same two blocks of downtown Houston 8,000 times looking for an unnamed, upstairs warehouse where I was having a photoshoot done by my dear friend, Jessica. I had secretly booked a boudoir session with her where a team of experts would style my hair and professionally apply makeup and I couldn’t wait for the opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and explore the beauty and strength of my own femininity. Google maps barked at me through the speaker in my car telling me to turn right and your destination is on the left. I’d turn right and there was nothing to my left. I’d turn again and Google maps repeated that my destination was on the left.
I hadn’t the nerve to call my photographer because I knew that there were other ladies in there having similar photoshoots done and I didn’t want to disturb, be an inconvenience, or admit that I was just that bad at navigating. Houston, afterall, is my hometown and I felt silly for being so lost. I circled and circled and finally pulled off to the side of the road, retrieved my phone and drafted a text message to Jessica:
“I’m so sorry I can’t make it, something has come up. I hope we can reschedule.”
My thumb hovered over ‘send’ as tears of frustration started to flow down my cheeks which even further upset me because when I cry, I blotch and puff and snot all over. I was frustrated from the circling and the anticipation of being a big let down…to Jessica the photographer and to myself. I realized, in that moment of hesitation, that the guilt for backing out of the shoot last minute would be too much guilt for me to handle, so I deleted the text message and began to drive around again. After another several, loopy minutes, I finally found the small, wooden door tucked between two offices that would lead me upstairs to the warehouse and on to my photoshoot. Praise the almighty, I’d found it.
This week has been a circle around the same two blocks dozens of times where I’ve been tempted to just give up.
Between finding a perfect forever home for Simon and Beans (my last two remaining foster donkeys for whom I was *this close* to deciding to adopt myself), the screaming and angry election cycle that has just taken place here in the US, my anxieties over what Little Foot’s future looks like in a divided and scary world, and the cosmic shifts that I suspect we’re all feeling caused by that big ole’ supermoon…I feel ready to send that cop-out text that I’m done. Peace. Too many questions. Too many feels. It’s too loud and too fast and I swear to God if Google maps doesn’t quit telling me that my destination is on the left when there is nothing FREAKING there I am going to lose my sh*t.
And that’s just my own mind’s labyrinth: my own mind with it’s own, unique experiences, ignorances, sensitivities and expectations. I can barely hear beyond my own echo chamber of self-perpetuated fears over feelings I don’t understand how to handle to even know how to begin to relate to anyone else. I default to “be kind and be gentle” but even there, I feel slightly off the mark…like I’m missing something. I feel like I’m across the street looking in the wrong place for that photoshoot that I’ve been so excited to do because I’d feel pretty and confident and have on really cool makeup and false eye lashes and I just don’t ever get the chance to do that. So I don’t want to miss my destination but I am so exhausted in this never-ending not-so-lazy river where Jesus did that guy floating in the tube in front of me just piss in the water? Is this what it’s come down to?
I miss Simon and Beans so much but I’m so pleased with the home they’ve found. My goodness, I don’t know that I’ve ever met a couple who was so kind and emitted love so profoundly simply in their being. They felt oddly like family to me after only briefly meeting with them and is it weird that I miss them, too? What is that? I hardly know them and I want to have them over for drinks.
Maybe it’s because they’ve taken in two creatures that I care so deeply for and for whom I’m fiercely protective. My mom told me yesterday that in a strangely, mild way, she thinks that feeling is what it felt like to her when her children got married….that these babies that she loves more than words can say have now been entrusted to the emotional care of someone else. That’s difficult. Letting go (in any sense) is never easy, I suppose.
When I returned home from delivering Simon and Beans, my ranch seemed so quiet. Bunny and Tee were confused. The pasture was a space of ghostly memories resetting itself into a space of anticipation because in only two short weeks, we’re getting seven new adoptable donkeys. Seven more little souls that I will protect with all my being until I find someone trustworthy and filled with visible loving-kindness who can take those reigns like the couple who just took Simon and Beans. The circle of foster-life.
I’m slightly envious of the donkeys complete naiveté to what’s happening in the world right now. Despite the tectonically quaking plates of opposing sides and anger in our country, donkeys still need snuggling and are eager to share their affections if you let them. They still need saving and greener pastures and I just want to shift all of my free-time focus on that. But at the same time, I want to understand how to sort through all of these feelings of my own so that I can even attempt to understand the feelings of others because there’s nothing worse than feeling alone and misunderstood. I can’t quite seem to find that wooden door and until I do, I think I’ll just be frustrated and on the edge of deciding to not care. But I know myself well enough to know that if I throw in the towel, the guilt will be too much to handle and indeed, I’ll hate myself for it.
So on I’ll circle. The things I do know are as follows:
Peace is created within.
Other people’s happiness is not my responsibility.
We are all one.
Kindness is way cooler than bullying.
It takes work to understand one another and I think that’s an enjoyable effort because we’re stronger when we’re together.
I’m going to continue circling this block until I find that warehouse…puffy, red eyes and all. In the meantime, here’s me kissing a little ass.
Finally there’s a storm pushing through. The rain is falling in violent sheets as the trees flail chaotically in the directionless wind. A dark noon here at the ranch and I couldn’t be more grateful that the weather outside is finally matching the pandemonium that has been the last several weeks in my life. Sunshine has only more brightly exposed my recent, sour mood and made me a bit bitter.
Everything is okay, but for weeks, King Ranch and I have had one unexpected event occur after another, most of which have come with a very high price tag: scary medical procedures with burdensome bills, car troubles that they don’t make helpful DIY YouTube videos for, and travel for family events with unprecedented traffic jams and uncontrollable barfing out of the passenger side door, to name a few. Trickle in with that, the suffocating and raging behemoth that is the US 2016 election that is making everybody completely crazy and the lingering summertime heat and humidity that is bizarre even for native Texans and….well….it’s just been kind of crappy.
Behind the dancing trees, the midday sky is slate gray, swirling and seemingly uncertain about which direction the storm will travel next or how severe it may become. Still, the sky stands strong. The sky doesn’t need sunshine or rainbows to do its job or to feel validated or able. The sky’s the sky…rain, shine, tidalwave, whatever.
Later, I’ll need to brush caked-up mud from the donkey’s coats because that’s what they love most about storms: rolling in muddy puddles as soon as it’s passed. I’m especially looking forward to giving Simon and Beans (my last two remaining foster donkeys) a thorough brush (and taking the time to memorize the patterns of their coats and the depth of their eyes) because it would seem that they have finally found their forever home. Over the weekend, a couple from a town about 45 minutes away came to the ranch to meet Simon and Beans to see if they’d be a good fit for their family and from first encounter, it was clear that in fact, it would be a perfect match. The couple were tickled pink by the donkeys and both Simon and Beans were curious, affectionate, and eager to get close to them. Although there are details to finalize, it would seem I will be saying goodbye to those two very soon. It’ll be that bittersweet symphony whereby I’m thrilled to see them placed in a loving home, but will be heartbroken to say goodbye.
Outside, the wind has slowed and the rain is falling straight down in large splats. Perhaps the storm will be ending soon. That stealthy, slate sky…from her, I should be taking some lessons in patience, presence and perseverance. Sometimes storms are precisely what we need to sprout more fully. And certainly, this storm will leave us all cleansed and ready for anew.
For now, I’ll go stick my basil plant and my newly sprouting pumpkin plant out in the yard to take advantage of this natural hydration. And maybe I’ll take a nap with the window cracked.