Monday, February 15, 2021

You're On Mute

Two goats eating ivy.

Days of grey light here, the kind of color you might see as you wring out a used dishrag. This is February this year, each day a new shade of blah. At least it isn't a long month. 

Two feet of lingering snow has left us with challenges to overcome, problems to solve. No door to the barn opens easily, as each one is banked up with snow. Icy sheets periodically hang off the barn roof, then slide off (thankfully none on our heads), to bury what path we've shoveled out, and unfortunately, the shovel as well. We have one shovel, still. We didn't solve that problem yet.

The snow dampens sound and obliterates detail. The first few days of it are magical and playful, everything a new, sparkling whiteness. A celestial landscape. I marveled over the path of animals on our property, all their prints revealed, or one feather gentled on top of the crust of snow, something I'd never notice without the blankness.

It's been cold for days and none of it has melted. One day it melted a bit, then refroze, and turned the landscape into  a torturous board game for middle-agers: Luge of Potential Broken Bones, Slopes of Trudge, Overhang of Conked Noggin, Ice Shard of Bruised Shins, Icicle Fangs of Avoidance, Rocky, Frozen Underworld of Nope-That-Fencpost-Won't-Go-In.

The goats are in a new paddock against the barn, about the size of a one car garage, with a tree in the center. The door to their stall is open and they can come and go freely, but they don't. They are restless in their new winter space, thankless. Imagine! After all the work we put into it the other day, sledgehammering fence posts into rocky, frozen ground, carrying 16 foot cattle fence sections across the tundra, and zip-tying those sections to posts while ornery goats prodded our butts. The nerve. 

They are sensitive creatures. This is the first they've experienced snow in their lifetimes. They live for detail. Bright foliage to munch is the unmuffled, unmuted life they love. We've been taking them for walks and in some places the snow comes up almost to their bellies. They find a nibble of chocolate vine here and there, and get to sniff the hoofprints of deer, but it's not the spring or summer or fall landscape on which they thrive.

Spring, you're on mute. Please turn your mic on.

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