We've taken in a dozen very elderly sheep for the summer. Their farmer says it will be their last summer – most of them are the human equivalent of 80 years old. We've put them in the back pasture and they cannot be herded. Red went to check them out and kept a calm and safe distance and did not disturb them. Their last summer will be a good one. They have about 15 acres of grass, shelter from the sun and rain. They are very still, grazing in the morning. I find them eerily beautiful, they touch me in several ways and I am going out to sit with them get them used to the camera. First album on Facebook.
Maria's first wool sheep, Tess, is sick. Her legs seem to be giving out and she can barely stand up. We got her into the big barn today where she can rest and get fresh hay and water. We have to bring it to you. Maria wants to give her a few days in the barn to see if she gets better.
At dusk, the old cemetery in West Hebron looks like a painting, the light falling on the stones, the grass, the shadows. Lots of whispers.
This weekend I will shop, cook, visit friends in Vermont. Take photos. Read three books. Meditate for an hour each day. Walk with the dogs. Herd with Red. Walk with Maria. Talk with Maria (help stop her mind from spinning, which it does now and then). Do farm chores, move donkeys, water sheep. Go to a friend's showing at an art gallery. Go to dinner with George Forss and Donna Wynbrandt. Take photos using my 35 mm story lens. Rest up.
A friend told me he had $750,000 IRA in the bank and I could tell he sort of wanted to know how much I had. Well, I said, not a tenth of that. Not close, really. His eyes got wide – he works in publishing – and he asked me if I felt I was poor. I was surprised by the question. I said I have never been richer.
What do you mean, he said, dubious.
I gave him my definition of a rich man.
A rich man:
– Has someone who loves him so much she thinks he is beautiful, when he is not.
– Has work that he loves.
-Has friends that he loves.
– Is free to make his own decisions, live his own life.
– Is healthy in the most elemental way. He loves his life.
-Does not need senior discounts at Dunkin' Donuts.
– Does not talk to his doctor about Viagra, or need it to make love.
– Lives close to the natural world, and learns from animals every day.
– Does not need to be angry to be a man, or to dominate women or love war.
– Always has a good dog at his side.
– Takes photos of the light and beauty in the world and shares them.
– Does not need the news to tell him what is happening in the world.
– Does not need anger to express himself.
– Does not need to tell other people what to do.
– Can do what he wanted to do his whole life – write books.
How can you get any richer than that?
Red has his first real farm chore this morning. One of Maria's ewes was limping, and she wanted to get her in the barn. Red held her in a corner of the Pole Barn so Maria could get to her, and then walked her and her lambs down the hill and into the barn. He was great, he figured out what we were doing, was appropriate. He walked the ewe down into the barn, then got her ewes out and pushed them back up the hill. Good work, Red Dog.