Dear Goat

Dear Goat In The Pasture At The End Of The Street Where I Make a Right Turn On My Way to Work Each Morning:

I just want to say thank you for lifting my spirits on weekday mornings as I drive by your pasture. You cannot know that I look for you and your herdmates, or how the sight of you fills me with inexplicable peace. Perhaps it’s the idyllic setting, the pastoral scene with its inherent restfulness. Maybe it’s the continuity. Your pasture remains as it always has, while all around us fields are being bulldozed and sculpted for the coming of houses. The trees farther down this road are being timbered this very moment… I wonder: Had birds already nested in them? Were there any little eggs that are now lost? It’s possible; this is March. Isn’t tampering with birds’s nests and eggs a crime? I digress. I cannot help it, watching the trees come down even though I know the new houses to be erected will be homes where people will build their lives and live their stories, where children will grow up… meanwhile, on the other side of the world, a man is busily destroying people’s homes, sending them fleeing from danger like animals trying to outrun a raging forest fire, in search of a different place to survive…

Yesterday as I came through here I heard a bird calling and wondered if its tree is gone. Will the big, beautiful,snowy-feathered hawks soon be gone, too? I haven’t seen one for weeks now. I keep watching. And in all the years I’ve lived here, I’ve never seen skunks until last week when I saw two dead in the road and my son saw a third. We didn’t smell them, thankfully. Makes me wonder about them never seeing the end coming…

I don’t know why I should be telling you all of this, dear Brown Goat in your green pasture so often dappled with new morning light when I drive by. All I really meant to say is thank you. I see you grazing in the grass and a tiny bit of balance returns to the universe. Your placid nature spills into mine. You somehow impart the right and needed mood for the day…

I am grateful for you.

Sincerely,

An Admirer

P.S. I would deliver this letter to you in person but I suspect you would only eat it… I’ve had to eat my words before and it’s not a particularly pleasant experience… trust me.

*******

with thanks to Two Writing Teachers for the Slice of Life Story Challenge every day in the month of March.

22 thoughts on “Dear Goat

  1. This is a poignant slice – love how you weave the greater context into this daily meeting, plus the humour of eating your words. Here’s hoping reason prevails and the trees stick around. 🙂

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    • The deforestation around here grieves me so, thinking of the animals and birds having the right to live and be… I take heart where I can and try not to have to eat my words. I appreciate this goat and its friends. Many thanks 🙂

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    • There’s lots of horses around here also – I wrote some poems about them with a 4th grade class last fall and haven’t posted those yet. Have been hoping to get a photo! They’re so beautiful.

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  2. Fran, what an incredible start to the day, reading a letter to your corner goat. We are in the same boat. So much construction in this sleepy little county. You won’t believe this, but we saw two skunks dead on the side of the road last week too – both at the edge of Highway 362. I wondered if they were mates , though they were a mile apart. Maybe distant cousins. On the second skunk, I asked my husband if it was skunk season . Never in my life have I seen so many animals displaced – coyotes running everywhere, too. And I currently have a dog that has wandered up trying to take up residence. I feel so sorry for her. She stands in the window watching us throw the ball down the hall for the boys, longing to be a part of us in this home, but we can’t take in a shedder. The idyllic scene you describe is one of both peace and war, animals and humans. And a little goat munches away, reminding us that there are, at least for now, some peaceful meadows left.

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    • The poor skunks…I shall have to do a little research on them, I think. There are coyotes around here also, brought in to manage the deer population, I believe although I haven’t seen any coyotes yet this year. This dog-!!! Oh, my heart…but I understand about the shedding. We had a Lab whose knee-deep shedded hair almost killed my son. Yes – I seek peaceful meadows and contented goats each day with deep gratitude ❤

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  3. How fortunate to be privy to a pastoral view on your way to work! I used to catch glimpses of cows on my former commute, oddly just a few blocks from a train station–such is the landscaping of Texas. You weave so much into this post–suburban development and the loss of habitat, invasion and the loss of homes, the innate need for calm in the eye of the storm. And the humor of writing to a goat…we need that, too.

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  4. “dear Brown Goat in your green pasture so often dappled with new morning light,” thank you for being there for Fran each morning and bringing a measure of peace to her days. Thanks for bringing a bit of balance and Fran’s comforting words our way.

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  5. Fran, You had me in such a contemplative place, and then I read that P.S. and has to giggle. I worry about our planet and the unchecked sprawl and growth, growth, growth mindset. I’ve been reading a lot of climate literature. What is it w/ this desire to destroy—nature, others’ homes? Is it even possible to comprehend the scorched earth mentality so ingrained in our species? We need more goats like your morning greeter,

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    • “Scorched earth mentality ingrained in our species” – a profound phrase, Glenda. We don’t even realize what we’re bent on destroying… I cannot keep from grieving. The plump little goat does my heart good and I’ve been wondering: Will there be baby goats soon? Stay tuned!

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  6. I love this slice so much. I love that you’re dipping your toes into different forms and tones, and yet…the writing is still undeniably YOURS. What’s so interesting to me is the discussion around destruction. On one hand, I mean…GOATS. They tear and chew everything in their paths. In that sense, it’s natural, almost charming. But us as humans? We blaze a very different path of destruction, one that causes us to think about the birds, their eggs, their nests, all of the creatures put in harm’s way.

    Beautiful post, Fran. ❤

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    • I love playing around with form, Lainie. Once wrote a story from the POV of a wisteria vine. It’s fun to branch out – oh! What a metaphor, especially with wisteria! Too true about goats being destructive; they’re nature’s great lawnmowers. My grandmother said that when she was a child the family had a little goat that would pull the kids around in a cart. Can you imagine the delight??

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  7. What a clever approach to a slice! I love how you start with such a brief moment – this sighting of this animal each day – and, through a fun and imaginative letter, offer us such a deep, reflective muse about how we are caring for this world of ours, how we make changes to our environment at great cost to animal friends and more. Really beautiful slice. This line is so dear – “I see you grazing in the grass and a tiny bit of balance returns to the universe.”

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  8. Thanks again Fran, for your lovely goat slice! Such an unexpected main character! The goats in India never seem peaceful or at rest, but I guess they are never grazing contentedly in sunny green pastures, but always looking for something to eat, usually with a small girl or boy goatherd always trying to round them up and get them going in the right direction. I love how your thoughts take you through to all the stuff that is going on out there in the world and then we circle back to your delightfully funny PS…I can attest to the fact that both goats and cows eat a lot of words (mostly adverts stripped off building walls) when they don’t live in gourmet pastures!!

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    • Oh my goodness – the goats and cows literally eating words! Fantastic – as are the images of the children trying to round up goats in a frenzy, and the phrase “gourmet pastures”. What a treasure of a response – thank you. 🙂

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  9. Fran, so precious! I love that you chose to write a letter to this precious little goat. I appreciate your thoughtful looking and appreciation of this creature. Have you read the book _Cloud Cuckoo Land_? It reminded me of your post.

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