23 May

Knowing Rocky

by Jon Katz
Plans For Rocky

If all goes according to plan, Rocky will be ours sometime in July. We are beginning to figure out how to deal with this new element in our lives with animals, a blind 34-year-old Appaloosa who has lived alone in his pasture for more than 15 years. I believe the transition will be relatively simple.

Donkeys are intuitive creatures, and the animal vets and farriers and others who know them all think they will figure out quickly that Rocky is old, blind and no challenge for them. He may like being around other equines.  Horses are herd animals. Or he may not. Just to be sure, we will build a fence in the pasture and seal the donkeys off for a month or so, just until everyone is used to one another. Then, they will all work it out. We will rearrange the barn so that Rocky has access to a stall inside if he wishes. Also put a hay feeder in so he can eat off of the ground in winter. He knows Maria and I well, and he is comfortable around Lenore and dogs generally, more than Simon. We plan to do rotational grazing at the New Bedlam Farm, moving sheep, donkeys and ponies around three or four lots of pasture.

If we have the money, we will convert the collapsed barn in Rocky’s pasture into a three-sided Pole Barn for shade and shelter. We are looking forward to having Rocky in our lives every day.

23 May

A Warrior. In The Army Of Light

by Jon Katz
Warrior For Light

I’ve run away from home,

to enlist,

in the Army Of Light,

to wander the world,

prowl the dawn,

to look for the dark corners,

where light is forgotten,

or blocked out  by curtained windows,

and closed and angry minds.

To chase the shadows,

and light up the dark holes,

and chase the darkness,

and tell all the people,

of the power of light,

to lighten our hearts,

and brighten our souls.

I am a Warrior,

In the Army Of Light,

Fighting in the real battles of the world.

23 May

Fox News: Reunion. Special Bond

by Jon Katz
Fox News: Reunion

It is quiet on the fox front. The detente between us and the fox family seems to hold. We see the adult foxes walk up and down the hill next to the farm, see their leavings on the path, see them crossing into the meadow. But they seem to stay away from the chickens. Perhaps it is the donkeys, who remain vigilant. Or maybe there are plenty of rabbits and mice for them. The kits are still up in the den, but will probably move away in the summer.

My own sense of it is that once we accepted their presence, they altered their habits, sensed it somehow, and just began hunting away from the farm. We went up there the other day and saw all kinds of bones lying around. Perhaps they came across a dead deer.

For awhile, it seemed clear that they were hunting us. Now it seems they just co-exist with us. Some things are not really known to us. It was touching to see Fran and Maria re-unite a bit. Meg just walked up to her in the driveway and took some seeds out of her hand and they two seemed to be communicating with one another, perhaps reminiscing about those days after the fox assault where Fran was hanging on. Fran is very easy around me and Maria. She loves to eat out of Maria’s hand. Maria loves to feed her. These two do have a special bond.

Fran looks thinner these days and is losing some energy. She hangs around with the other chickens most of the time, but is often off by herself.

23 May

Fear And The Small Life

by Jon Katz
Remembering Izzy

A lived lived in fear is, by definition, a small life, I believe.

Most of us feel fear at one point or another, but for me, self-awareness has come to mean stepping out of that mindset  – turning away from the fearful world and the fearful people and institutions that run it – and learning to trust my life and the people in it. That is sometimes lonely and isolating. If you watch the news you will see right a way that this is not the way much of our world thinks. Don’t expect to feel part of the mainstream.

Fear and anger are first cousins and decisions made in fear are small decisions, decisions that are about advancing our illusions of security, rarely about living your life. The meaning of being human is larger than that, asks of us more faith, offers more creativity and purpose, challenges us to live our lives out of fear, and not inside of it.

Someone close to me is torn about whether to take a job that pays a lot of money or to pursue her heart, follow the magic in her head, listen to the fairies and spirits, and do what she loves.

We have gone back and forth a few times. But it pays well, she says. It offers insurance. It is safer.  There are regular paychecks. I know these voices, I have heard them all of my life. Almost everyone she knows – everyone but me – is urging her to take it. I don’t give advice unless asked. But she did ask and I told her I hope she finds faith in her talent and follows her heart into work and a life that she loves. Even she admits she doesn’t really want the job. And do we really accept the notion that that we ought to spend our lives enslaved in obligation and anxiety? It seems a small life to me, to accept it on this narrow and soul-draining terms. But other people are not me, and I am not them.

To some extent, I have been dealing with this myself and so has Maria. We are going ahead and purchasing our new home before we have sold this one, and the prospect of carrying two mortgages and two properties has definitely brought out some of the old voices in my head. Even the realtor says she isn’t sure what we should do.  But I am going forward – we are going forward. I believe there are a lot of things bigger than me pulling us towards this place – an independent and admirable woman, an aging and dutiful pony, Maria’s work, a call for rebirth and renewal. I am not easy, when all is said and done, sitting on my hands waiting for the world to come around to me. In our culture, following one’s heard is incompatible with the complex and expensive ways in which we are supposed to live, the things we are supposed to need. The fear that is instilled in us every time we watch the news, see a doctor, talk to other people. Fear is viral. It travels faster than anything and there are no vaccines. But life is short, and life is precious, and at the end of it, I want them to say of me that he lived his life, not in fear, but in purpose.

I guess I would rather live a poor life than a small one.

Email SignupEmail Signup