Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Laying-On of Chins

My Herd

There are peak moments in our lives when we know that something has profoundly changed; whether it's an understanding, a circumstance, or a glimpse of a larger truth, those moments stand larger than life, and take on a significance that transcends mundane reality.

I know I go on about the goats.  I love them; I'm thrilled to be able to interact with them, and I find them infinitely entertaining.  I've been with them through births and deaths, through cavorting in the grassy fields and huddling in the winter hay.  I know my goats.  Or I thought I did.

Yesterday, they brought me into the herd.  That's right.  THEY did it.

"Are you ready?"

Last year when we bred the does, a handful of them didn't conceive.  Though it was mainly the smaller, younger ones, my Nubian Faith was among them.  This little group watches the milkers come to the stands every day, and waits patiently until the last one is finished for their personal attention.  Yesterday, as I finished for the day, magic happened.  Goat magic.

I finally removed the plastic chain collars from the last two does, and had returned their full, fresh water buckets.  As I was standing among them, they began milling about, coming close and staying.  They were sniffing my legs, nuzzling me; though they do this individually, this was the first time that I was the focus of the small unbred herd.  I bent down so my face would be on level with theirs, and they came in close: sniffing, puffing back, lip-nibbling (no teeth) and looking in my eyes. They were uncharacteristically gentle.  Goats are a boisterous bunch, most days.  This day was different.

 I can't describe the feeling of the moment, except that it was transcendental; time stood  still, and we were one herd, one trusting group.  Faith stood back until the smaller does had welcomed me, tasted me, experienced me...then she stepped in and did the same, though with her it was different.  We had already bonded, Faith and I; she gave me a sniff and a nuzzle to say hello and welcome, then lifted her chin and laid her head on top of mine, holding me still for a moment.  It was a blessing, a goat-sacrament, nothing less.  The laying-on of chins. She was my godmother, my patroness, and I was one of them now. 

I have known these girls for over a year, and though I've tended to their needs and loved them daily, they waited and watched, through each season to claim me.  I'm theirs now.  My herd. Their human.

My "Goat Mother", Faith

1 comment:

  1. You can see Faith and the girls in action here: