Maria was the first to notice that I was sad, even before I did. The donkeys are moving from Bedlam Farm to the new farm today. Ken Norman, our friend and farrier is coming to get them around 10 a.m. It is hitting me that this is close to the end of my time at Bedlam Farm, a place so entangled with my life that I cannot really see it, even if I feel it. I came here in 2003 to write about animals, rural life, my life, and I have cranked out seven books here, thousands of blog posts and photographs, children's books as well. What a creative and fertile place it has been for me. I got divorced here, fell apart here, met Maria here.
I never imagined owning a donkey, let alone three, and they have become as powerful a symbol of my life and farm as the dogs. Maria and the donkeys love one another so much, it has opened me up just to see it. Carol was the first donkey to come and she died up in the pole barn. Then Fanny, then Lulu, then Simon. I love these intelligent, intuitive, idiosyncratic creatures. They sense something is up and are skittish. So are we. This morning, we will lure them into the barn with grain and then a difficult and anxious day for them, a lot of change and acclimation. They will also meet Rocky, and that will be an adjustment for all of them. Animals are nothing but adaptable, so I am confident about it, but it will not be simple.
So I am feeling a river of emotion. Vigilance, thinking about how we will pull this all off, sadness, the reality of moving really hitting home with me, and excitement for the future and our new lives. Where the donkeys and dogs are is home, and the center will shift today. We are also moving a bed and dresser and some clothes over, and might spend our first night there tonight, we'll see how it goes. We are not moving completely for a few weeks at least, the new house isn't ready, and I am not quite ready to leave. But today is a big step that way. I want to step back and cry a bit, I think, feels like that needs to come out.