I think it’s been over two months since I last wrote a note down here. Or maybe it was two weeks ago? Who knows. This time of year always scrambles the days together between Thanksgiving, Mom’s birthday, my birthday, Hannukah, Christmas, and the finale of New Year’s Eve. This year went out with more of a quiet fizzle then a bang. Jer’s been laid up since his return from a hog hunt out in the hill country. He came home pekid and puny like a translucent version of himself, and it’s been quiet around here ever since. Jeremy, sir if you’re reading this, I didn’t realize how often you whistle and hum. It’s still as the winter inside our house right now.
Although we were gifted lots of lovelies this season, the best present was – hands down – the 10 days straight of vacation we both enjoyed since December 20 (does anyone else think back fondly of their first day of vacation with a tear in the eye and the sound of tiny violins playing?). 10 glorious days spent lavishly doing absolutely nothing except eating Christmas cookies or thinking about eating Christmas cookies, and waking up late (7:30! AM!) in order to leisurely eat Christmas cookies. Jer’s hunting trip and subsequent illness allowed me lots of free time here to take long walks with the goats out in the big pasture where the cows and donkeys and bucklings live in (almost) complete harmony. The two girls, Willy Boots, and all of the dogs spill through the pasture fence, greeted by two bucklings who spend their time alternately crying sadly towards the goat pasture and head butting violently. For them, guests are always welcome. As soon as we all make it in, the littlest buckling – Atlas – generally starts springing off all four hooves at once. First he springs to the round bale to demonstrate the fine art of Hay Bale Jumping – a sport worth petitioning the Olympic committee for future inclusion. Based on the height of the bale, he usually manages to make it halfway up the side of the thing without a running start but just by springing off the ground from a complete standstill – flinging his body ferociously into the side of the 1500 pound ball of grass, his white, Nubian ears flying freely above his head, hooves pointed delicately downward, his little tail an exclamation point off his back-end. There’s a lot of joy out there in the barnyard. Once we make it past the hay-jumping, the little herd of goats and dogs trot down trails in the woods or make their own. I find a rock, sit on a log, pick up a few Indian tools, pat the heads that pass along by, lift up branches, and always wander down to the back fence overlooking the ranch behind us that’s had a faded For Sale sign up for so long. The goats usually run up to the fence too, stick their heads through the barbed wire momentarily before running off in search of a delicious cedar tree. It’s such pretty, feral land.
|The bucklings enjoy the round bale bed.|
Walking along with the goats – I don’t take this stuff for granted – not the luxury of the free time or the solitude we still have in these last few weeks (days? hours?) before the kids are born. The girls are distended and uncomfortable, although still able to jump creeks like gazelles, those bellies swinging heavily below them. It makes me wince to watch. I’m losing sleep about what’s coming but, well, it’s coming and there’s no stopping it now. There are empty pages here for those stories.
Vacation highlights all of our contradictions. In just one week I stocked up on alfalfa, shopped in downtown Austin at such intensely “cool” stores that only my sister would know about them, trimmed hooves, hosted a wine and cheese for those women in my life who have been my sisters since the pre-pre-teen years, milked a cow, and spent the last few minutes of 2012 under a disco ball and strobe light dancing to Milkshake in a friend’s backyard. Such a strange, strange assortment of pieces to this life. 2012, you started with a sucker punch, but you ended with a “I don’t give a sh*t who’s watching” dance under glowing, spinning lights (I win). This year beat us down: a potential lawsuit, a new broken house, flooding. And this year propped us up: a herd of baby goats, a long front porch, a million dollar view – a lot of empty pages.
It’s an introspective time. A time to bag up the self-loathing and make shiny resolution lists that serve as a beacon through these dreary months of winter. I’ve thought a lot about my own list, added all the usual suspects like eat better, exercise more, worry less. Blad-y blah. Then I scratched it all out ’til only two lines remained. Just two, maybe they’re all we need?
And the Oscar Wilde quote I found on the Fabulous Beekman Boys site where the boys did some of their own end-of-year soul searching: “If you are not too long, I’ll wait for you all my life.”
Think about it. Cheers to you and whatever’s worth waiting for. Happy New Year!