We are breaking through with Rock and the donkeys. Rocky and Simon were out grazing within a few yards of one another, and when I joined them, all three donkeys came rushing up to me. They seem at ease together and Rocky shows no wariness of them at all. What have I learned?
To be patient, move slowly. To give them an opportunity to work out their differences. My life with animals has always been marked by diverse creatures living together – my idea of the Peaceable Kingdom. It involves accepting the true nature of animals and learning from them. In the world outside, it is shocking when our leaders speak to one another and put the public's interest ahead of their own ideologies. This is why I am drawn to my life with animals and to telling their stories. Here we have a blind pony, a protective donkey doing his work, a border collie who seems to take the pony under his wing.
In this sense, they are superior to us and we can learn from their acceptance, ritual, instinct and sense of community. Rocky was trying to survive. Simon was trying to protect his flock. Red had taken Rocky on as part of his work. The role of the humans was to observe and respect and, where possible, to protect. A big step for the new farm. Life has become simpler, easier. I make mistakes. I make good decisions, a blend.
Once we understood the dynamics, this one was well handled. I have learned a lot about animals – not to emotionalize or romanticize them, not to offer them a perfect life without trouble. They have so much more to teach me and I am eager to learn. Knowledge begins with accepting what you do not know, not by arrogantly asserting that you have the answers.
And yes, I did communicate with Simon. I did come to see how much he needs me and my attention, how closely he watches me. Last week I kicked him in butt. This week I kissed him on the nose every single morning and led the way, showed him Rocky was a part of us, not a danger or intruder. Maria did the same. This week he got the message. The new farm is taking shape, or ethos emerging.