10 February

Saving Simon: Brighten Up. Winter Color Initiative From Bedlam Farm

by Jon Katz
Months Ago
Months Ago

So this is what life is like, truly, and I can either be stunned by it or in awe of it. A few months ago – it seems like years ago – Simon helped me launched the book tour for my new book about him, “Saving Simon: How a Rescue Donkey Taught Me The Meaning Of Compassion.” Connie Brooks of Battenkill Books got hold of hundreds of these book bags and gave the to every person who bought the book at her store. Simon sold more than 1,100 books there.

Simon had a gleam in his eye when I asked him to pose with the book bags, he did have a sense of humor, as many donkeys do. He seemed to get things, and he loved human attention. Then, one Saturday morning, I looked out of the bedroom window and saw him standing oddly near the feeder while the other animals ate – I’d never seen him ignore food before.

His head was shaking, and the second I looked at him, I knew he was having a stroke. I messaged a video to our farrier Ken Norman and he cried the second he saw it. He knew also. Two hours later Simon was dead.

So that’s life in a nutshell, really. Light and dark, triumph and loss, connection and emptiness. The challenge lies in how I respond, not in how much I lament, mourn or complain. Every time I look at a photo of Simon I smile. He was a piece of work, I am grateful for every minute of our great ride together. I had always wanted to be one of those strange writers who hung out with donkeys, and Simon gave me the chance, too short a time, perhaps, but I’ll take it.

(Connie Brooks is still selling copies of “Saving Simon” and I am still signing and personalizing them (517 677-2515). We have run out of things to give away, I think, but the book and the story lives on, as it should. In a week or so I will be resuming the “Saving Simon” Orphans Book tour, going to libraries in the Northeast. I’ll keep you posted.)

8 February

Winter Color Initiative: Hey There, Rose.

by Jon Katz
Rose And The Sheep
Rose And The Sheep

Looking for my color and light photographs, I came across this photo of a joyous Rose, standing with her sheep in the big pasture on the hill at Bedlam Farm. I loved Rose and loved the first Bedlam Farm, and both are gone from my life now. What does this mean to me?

It is easy – simple – to be grateful for what you have, it is quite another thing to be grateful for what you have lost. How I loved learning about nature and herding and beauty and animals with Rose, my partner in my evolution to a different kind of life. She made so much of it possible.

And here, today, more loss, of course, Simon and Lenore. And more life – Red, and soon, some new animals to come here for us to live with or learn about. I have never understand why I should feel badly about all of that, even as I acknowledge the pain and struggle of it. This, of course, is life itself, what shapes my work, tests my soul, teaches me the true meaning of spirituality and life.

Hey there, Rose, I hope you are free now, I hope you are sitting in your endless pasture, your golden fields, sheep stretching as far as the eye can see. I hope you are living your wonderful life, as I am living mine.

Bedlam Farm