Here to there and back again
So here we go, eh? Take a weekend away, a momentary breath from it all, and take a day or so to stand up straight and let your bones and brain cells settle back into their proper places.
It was the right thing to do, despite the boredom and tedium of driving from here to there and back again. A weekend at the Geek Farm, out east of Atlanta, will do just about anyone good.
Especially when it's dark out and Suzan's donning her work boots and carrying milking implements and saying, "All right, who wants to walk out back with me to see the baby goats?" Certainly I'm as much of a sucker for cute baby animals as the next twentysomething female, so I pulled on my shoes and jacket and followed the pale circle of Suzan's flashlight down the path to the barn. It's been a bit of a banner month at Eastwind Farms, with five kids (of the goat kind!) being born this month. The first three, a set of triplets, arrived on the 15th; since their pen was closest to the house, I saw them first.
They were…cute. Who knew? I've never actually equated "goats" with "cute" before, but those three could make a believer out of even me. They were smaller than I expected, perhaps the size of not-quite-half-grown puppies, and afflicted with the same sort of wide-eyed terminal cuteness that frolicking puppies have.
Suzan provided them with their milk, and we headed back to the barn. She had a bottle for each of the new babies, whom I learned were seven and three days old, respectively. The week-old kid finished his bottle first and showed a rather avid interest in the new kid's bottle, so Suzan scooped him up and handed him over the railing to Thomas.
"Here. Just hold him for a few minutes."
Thomas looked around at Jessica and I and took the kid with a smile and shrug that conveyed, "Sure, I'll hold the … um, goat." The kid nestled in his arms and spent a good bit of time rather avidly surveying the world from this new, higher vantage point.
I didn't quite understand why the kid was looking behind Thomas until I felt a soft, almost-stealthy brush against my right side. I turned my eyes away from the nursing doe to see a very large, unblinking eye staring into mine.
It only took a small moment of fright before I realized that it was Dixie, the horse, trying to see what was in the pail I was carrying. (Alas, it was empty—no treats for her!) After realizing the pail was empty, she took a deep, pronounced sniff of my hair, decided I was friendly, and tried to nose her way closer to the goat pen to see what Suzan was doing.
It was all so normal, so comforting, that the little worried and tense nerves coiled into knots in the pit of my stomach finally began to relax. There's something about the serenity and routine of going out in a soft nighttime rain to feed the animals that made the world seem to be spinning on some kind of rational, comprehensible axis once again.
There's something about the sound of the wind and the rain dripping slowly through the trees that made it feel more than a little like the home I moved away from a few years ago.
As we drove back today, I felt the weight of the world settling, soft and fine and snow-like, back upon me. I reclined the truck seat back and closed my eyes, allowing the motion of the wheels upon the road to lull me into a quiet, motion-induced stupor.
Like gravity, life can't be permanently escaped. The higher you jump, the quicker your descent back to solid ground.
Tonight I made my packing list. Tomorrow morning I'll rise, pack, go to a local store to have my cell phone service changed, and begin the drive to Arkansas to help Mom out. (If you are new to this site and do not know why this trip is taking place, see the entry 'Be There On Monday' for an explanation.)
There and back again, I suppose. Back to Tull, all three hundred souls, nestled in an area of the country so remote that on any cloudless night, the Milky Way lies like a faint stain upon the sky. Where the last curve before the house has to be taken carefully at night so as to avoid the small herd of deer that live in the woods behind my parents' house.
For everything I left behind, which now calls me home.