Dark Storm Donkeys

It was a dark and stormy night—the kind old, bearded sailors would recall while sipping on a potent drink from a silver mug, staring off into the distance, remembering the night their ship capsized on the high seas and in the flashes of crackling lightning, battled mountain-sized squids with their bare hands. They barely made it. And they’ve not sailed since.

So of course I was out in the shelter with the donkeys.

The three of them, Bunny, Tee and Tink, have all become lovely friends. I’d had separate stalls for them in which to hunker down, but they prefer to be together (and I prefer it, too). I sat in the soft hay rubbing Tink’s enlarged ankle (this is not abnormal for him…it’s permanently swollen due to his injury) but still, I imagine it’s often sore, so I run my fingers around it, pressing it gently. Tee stood on my other side and leaned his weight into me while Bunny was near the door watching the storm.

The lightning was getting closer—it flashed like a strobe light and the thunder roared and crackled like a million, great trees snapping and falling at once. The donkeys flinched every time. I’d initially come out to the shelter to take Tink’s boot off of his foot—I keep it on most days and let his hoof air out at night when he’s not as active, but when I saw their frightened, searching eyes, I couldn’t leave them alone in the storm.

I watched the sheets of rain tumble down beyond Bunny and outside of the door with fury—the mud splashed and the wind whipped the sides of the shelter with howling strength. I felt like I was in a cave: like suddenly I was way, way back in the olden times. Back in the times when we’d seek shelter in caves from night-roaming predators and I found myself feeling very protective of my four-legged companions.

Lightning struck very close just then with a painful boom and Bunny backed away from the door with a wide-eyed grunt. I stood saying, “It’s okay, girl,” and hugged her large head into my chest and rubbed the insides of her furry ears when I noticed that I was actually a bit nervous myself—of what, I’m not sure. I felt oddly vulnerable, as if beyond the doors of the shelter, danger awaited me. I felt like prey.

Through the heavy rainfall, I heard King Ranch calling to me.

“Jess?” he yelled from the house. “Jess, you coming in?”

I leaned outside of the shelter to respond but as I did, lightning struck again, this time very close. It exploded with a flash and I jumped back into the shelter.

King Ranch yelled again, “Jess!”

I gave each donkey a kiss on the nose and said to them, “Stay in here. You’ll be safe.” Then I pulled the hood of my jacket over my head and ran out into the storm.

“I’m coming!” I yelled back at King Ranch who was about 100 yards away on our covered patio. Lightning struck and thunder crashed again and I squealed.

The mud splashed beneath me and the rain pelted my face. I felt as if I was being chased by something angry and hungry while my heart thudded heavily in my chest. I reached the gate with a stumble and with shaky and slippery hands, fumbled with the lock and the latch. Lightning struck again and I heard King Ranch yell something, although I’m not sure what. I was breathing heavily and blinking the rain and the fear away from my eyes when I finally pushed the gate open.

I closed it and locked it behind me and then ran to King Ranch, jumping into his open, dry arms and he held me close beneath the awning of our back patio—the rain falling all around.

I panted and shivered as he held me when he said, “It’s okay.” As we walked inside, I looked over my shoulder to see all three donkeys dry and safe in their shelter. They stood in a row, Bunny, Tee and Tink.

Of course, after I changed out of my wet clothes and relaxed in the dryness of my house, the storm subsided into a floating, directionless drizzle. I stood by the window sipping a potent drink out of a mason jar and watched the donkeys come out of their shelter and begin to graze on the grass just outside of it. They were fine. We were all fine. I smiled and sipped my drink.

I think next time we have weather like this, I’ll just bring the donkeys inside our house. Don’t tell King Ranch though. That’ll be our little secret. *grins*

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6 thoughts on “Dark Storm Donkeys

      1. Mariana Greene

        I do not remember reading the cause of Tink’s injury altho I remember he came to you hurt. I remember you are cleaning, dressing and massaging his wound, diligently. Have you used any of these homeopathic remedies? If any of these might be applicable, I would be happy to go to Whole Foods to buy the supplies and mail them to you. The imagined image of you gently massaging his foreleg and Tink closing his eyes stays with me.

        Healing Salve:
        Steep 1/4 tsp. of golden seal powder + 1 tsp. of calendula (any part) in 1 cup of hot water for 1 hour. Strain and mix the “tea” with 1/8 Cup of aloe vera. Use as a healing salve on scrapes or sores.

        Healing Wash:
        Steep 1 tsp. calendula (any part) + 1/4 tsp. golden seal + 1 tsp comfrey (any part) in 1 cup of very hot water. Strain “tea” and cool. Pour into glass container and keep in the fridge. Use on a compress or soak for any type of sore or abscess or flush gums with the cooled tea in a syringe. I warm the liquid before using.

        Hoof Disinfectant:
        Mix together in a large bottle: 1 litre Listerine Mouth Wash (the “original” one) + 10 ml Betadine (tamed iodine)+ 1 Tbs. golden seal powder + 1 Tbs. Gentain powder or root. Fill a squeeze bottle with some and apply to hooves after cleaning them first – white line area and frogs. You can use a toothbrush to work it in. Will cleanse, disinfect and encourage new tissue growth.

        Healing Salve:
        Steep 1/4 tsp. of golden seal powder + 1 tsp. of calendula (any part) in 1 cup of hot water for 1 hour. Strain and mix the “tea” with 1/8 Cup of aloe vera. Use as a healing salve on scrapes or sores.

        Healing Wash:
        Steep 1 tsp. calendula (any part) + 1/4 tsp. golden seal + 1 tsp comfrey (any part) in 1 cup of very hot water. Strain “tea” and cool. Pour into glass container and keep in the fridge. Use on a compress or soak for any type of sore or abscess or flush gums with the cooled tea in a syringe. I warm the liquid before using.

        Hoof Disinfectant:
        Mix together in a large bottle: 1 litre Listerine Mouth Wash (the “original” one) + 10 ml Betadine (tamed iodine)+ 1 Tbs. golden seal powder + 1 Tbs. Gentain powder or root. Fill a squeeze bottle with some and apply to hooves after cleaning them first – white line area and frogs. You can use a toothbrush to work it in. Will cleanse, disinfect and encourage new tissue growth.

        Like

  1. Pat Azlin

    I really like this story, especially the theme of basic elements water, fire (lightening) wind and night. The beginning with the sailor was terrific and the end the end, mentally inviting the donkeys into your home as “a safe haven in a storm” was just lovely. I often think of Tink and what a trooper he is, and how lucky to be among great donkey and human friends. Your stories are magical…. Thank you for another one!

    Liked by 1 person

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