In two weeks we will move the donkeys to the new farm. Then the barn cats and the chickens, along with us. We will move gradually, slowly and in stages, hoping to be in our new home by Halloween. There is hay in the barn, the fences are up, and all we need are some electrical outlets for the heated water buckets. In between a book tour. Exciting time. For all the intensity, for all the cost, for all the decisions and good hard work, I would not trade it for any other time in my life. Saturday, we scrape the studio barn walls.
Nate Walrath, Florence Walrath’s grandson, came to Northshire Books to hear me talk and meet Maria and I. Nate is a personal trainer and lives in Manchester. Florence Walrath bought Rocky for him, and Nate saw him born and walked with him all over the farm. He said Rocky was always social, loves to be with other animals and was smart and affectionate, more like a dog than a pony. He used to stand near the fence and talk to the cows on the other side. Nate thinks he will love the donkeys. He thinks Rocky has cataracts and I’m thinking we should have a vet take a look at his eyes. If it is cataracts, we might be able to help him see better.
Nate said his grandmother loved Rocky, brought him apples and carrots and loved having him on the farm. He talked about her independence also. When her license was taken away because of her failing sight, she rode her lawn mower miles up to the road to get to her daily swimming group so she could take a swim. The family had to tell her the mower was broken to keep her from riding it on the road again.
I appreciate Nate’s coming bye. He will come over soon to see Rocky.
I had a reading/talk for “Dancing Dogs” at Northshire Books in Manchester, Vt., tonight and I shared my beliefs about communicating with animals. In my mind, we talk to animals by not talking. By listening to them. By not putting our words into their head and struggling to understand their messages. By listening and listening and listening some more. We are an arrogant species, and whenever we love something we assume it must be just like us. Taylor seems to know better, I am touched by her ability to communicate with Red.
I smiled when I saw this photo of Todd Mason’s daughter Taylor reading my second children’s book, “Lenore Finds A Friend.” I wanted to share the smile, as smiles are precious and should be passed along instead of argument, alarm and judgement. Perhaps this is Taylor’s mission in life, to spread smiles. Just like the dog she is reading about.
I am having some success at dealing with fear this week, the convergence of moving, trying to sell Bedlam Farm, dealing with a lot of financial and construction projects, caring for animals and publishing a new book has pressured me, brought up some old issues and helped me see them clearly. I am coming to see fear as a disease, often one that is virally transmitted. The spiritual counselors say that what comes in during the day comes up during the night, and for the first time, I am seeing very clearly that fear is a symptom, a disease unto itself, and when you see it that way, you detached yourself from it, and you perceive and react to it differently.
I wake up afraid of things – money, finishing the work on the new farm, the details of moving, address changes, my mind scanning for trouble. And then, I see it from a bit of a distance. This is a symptom, this is a kind of illness, this is a reflection of so much fear and worry in the outside world, it leeches in all day. So I am sleeping, getting back to sleep. A confidence in myself is growing, a sense that things will work out, one way or another, and that I can take some breaths, slow it down, let others help me.
This is different for me. For most of my life I always saw fear as the reality, alternative thinking a delusion. Now I see that fear is the delusion, and if you bow to it, it will just gobble you up and make you its snack. As it has so many of the people I see around me.