My house, tucked into the corner of a cul-de-sac, has a yard that backs up to a mostly empty double lot. On that lot live two goats and one pig.
I’m not kidding. And y’all, I don’t live in the country. These creatures are living in the middle of traffic and noise and chaos.
The goats are large white beasts. One has a long beard that honestly makes you want to ask deep questions of him. Like, “Mr. Goat, why exactly is it that we humans insist on destroying each other?”
My two rescued hounds, Dolly and Skye, are not fans of any of the three residents on the other side of the fence. Dolly is terrified of most things and so mostly just stares in anxious curiosity. Skye, my prison-trained dog, is far more aggressive and pushes her stocky body as far as it will go into their space, barking angrily as she does. The goats and pig both just look at her, chewing whatever they’ve scavenged, quiet and unmoved. They are, in some ways, the epitome of “non- anxious presence.”
I took Dolly out for a walk this morning, and one of the goats was munching along our fence line. The bearded one. Calmly, slowly, but with great intention. The sun is shining today, a rarity in Kentucky in February, and his bright white coat stood out with such gorgeous contrast against a blue sky and the very beginnings of green grass. We watched each other for a while, and I thought how odd and lovely he was: all that surrounds him modern and fast-paced, but here he is, being his goat-y self, happy and grounded.
Y’all? I was a little jealous.
It’s dark when M and I leave our house for our commute to her school. We live east of the main loop around Louisville, and she goes to school downtown. At 7am, it’s roughly a 25 minute drive.
The whole world starts to wake up in the time it takes me to pull into the parking lot of her school, drop her off, and pull back out onto a crowded street in Old Louisville that takes me back to the highway.
And then it’s not.
Across a city riddled by potholes, poverty and violence the sun rises as I drive home. This morning it rose creamy orange, like the push-ups my great-grandfather used to buy me at a little country store in Adamsville, Tennessee.
There’s a street -Magnolia, it’s called – that I turn right on as I weave my way back to the loop, and it’s lined with old homes, people walking their dogs before work, and a few shops that will open later in the day. I see it almost entirely still. And I marvel at how it feels like a corridor between dawn and full-on morning, like a soft passage between the night before and the day ahead.
It’s full of possibility, and even as my mind races about the emails waiting and the appointments pending, I try hard to savor the few precious minutes of in-between.
She was crossing the street just as I turned.
Barely five feet tall, draped in multiple too-large layers, face bent down towards the street, head nodding as if she were in another place far from here, matted gray hair bobbing along. She matched the not-yet-daylight tones of the cityscape around her and she clearly had no idea my RAV4 was so close. She scurried, almost like an animal, diagonal across the road and oblivious, her wizened face knotted up from either poor mental health or a substance. Maybe both.
I’m thankful I was paying attention. A few seconds looking at my phone or elsewhere and the morning might have gone quite differently.
As it is I cannot get her out of my head tonight.
She is someone’s child.
And at some point, even if long ago, she was newborn. Untouched. Innocent.
It’s Monday. Mine was long and held a lot. Maybe yours did, too. Maybe you’ve got loved ones on your mind, and financial stresses front and center and the reality that it is going to be spring before we know it and these dark evenings will give way to cookouts and mosquitos and sunscreen.
Maybe you mark your days by oncology check ups. Maybe by your child’s school events. Maybe you’ve got a wedding or a vacation you’re looking towards and it’s giving you life to do so right now. Maybe you’re grieving a person, a place, a dream.
Maybe, in the midst of a cold and dark and volatile Kentucky winter, you, too, need a reminder of life outside the rat race.
So, silly as it sounds, I’ll hope your week includes the delightful stare of a billy goat, a sunrise that reminds you God is at work, and another human being who humbles you, enough that you’re able to give thanks for all that has been, and all that will be.
May it be so.
One thought on “A sunrise, a goat and a broken woman.”
I needed that today. Love your heart! So glad you are in my life
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