Saturday, March 1, 2014

What's Food Got to Do With It (Got to Do With It)


I am blogging literally…from a goat pen. Pups and goats are ON my body as I write. The air is nice. I think I hear crickets (surely I am not hearing crickets…Ok. Maybe frogs…but then again, frogs?)
Bottom line: it’s cool enough to observe; warm enough to write. I may just toss a spool and call it a desk…Who can say?
So I come in from a long day of …basically nothing but catch up. Saturday in a small town for a small town gal is…well…classic Saturday. Folks who own their own shops, will work it til dark, but once they unplug, well… there’s a difference in the air on Saturdays…A sorta “if it gets done, it gets done” sorta vibe. The rest can wait. After all, all of corporate America has unplugged from Friday rush hour on… getting an ever so slightly head start (but not nearly so guilt free as their small town counterparts) …Still and so, as the rest of the world slows down, we get to catch up a notch…(but only a notch) ...one notch at a time... here in the country.
My day started as always ~ early, but kinda mixed (emotionally speaking). I’ve been sellin’ off  pups...now down to two…Doing my best to ask the basic questions (having been one to volunteer on rescues, and having asked these things of adopting parents in other settings) …
1)   Have you ever owned a dog before?
2)   How much land; is it fenced?
3)   Are you familiar with this breed? (To the lady in the condo, “No. I'm sorry. Crates in your bedroom, not the answer here. But I DO so appreciate your tender heart”…)
Bottom line: there’s a fine line between wanting to move on and resisting because your gut says to ask one more question after all, everyone loves cute puppy pics (and who can blame ‘em)

            I’ll spare you the parts about the many rescues established (day after day after day) for Pyrenees alone…After all, it’s a big ol jump from “How precious are these faces?” to “ Are you friggin’ kidding? The dogfood bill is WHAT?”)

            Point of this blog is lying beside me, on top of legs, next to me…Point of this blog is: Since when did food not matter?

            So I came in from errands that ran way too long…only to start the feeding thing post darkness. No biggie. I have flood lights. Everybody’s fine. Nobody’s being abused. (Don’t call the media.) But in the haste of my wranglin’ up pups, chopping up grub; opening up gates…yada…yada…yada… I spotted something, well, curious about the process that before now, I had not made note of.
            Before… come feeding time for a bunch of 7 week old pups (tummies and appetites for which are, (can we agree) always in “churn” motion) I began tonight's ritual. It started with me opening a door (now a gate) and singing our little first-grader-ish tune words for which go “Everybody-Ready-for-the-‘BREK-Fus” pen?” (substituting “Supper” of course, for evening feedings like tonight...I’d love to tell you I thought this all out. Not that brilliant. These things are mostly created out of heart and in the moment...)
Goal the first time I did it was to keep the babies following my voice and somehow tying it to the smell of the food I’d chopped up, and hopefully, tying the rest to the ritual, and yes (selfishly) to me: the nice lady who is not our mom, but who has opposable digits to open things like food and gate latches….(Yes, I know I overanalyze. All I can tell you is that pups come running when I come out the door with food.)
            All this time…I assumed it was the food.
            But tonight (a full 2 hours past when I normally feed them…guilt for which, will consume me at least until tomorrow’s morning feeding) I spotted an odd thing…
            Where normally these pups plow in, chow down, heads together, until all is consumed….This time (did I mention I was a full 2 hours late?) …they ate for a bit…but then they lifted their little heads as if to say “You aren’t gonna rob us of our cuddle time, are you?")
            Maybe it’s me..growing way too maternal in my old age…But I honestly think (no, make that “feel”…she writes with three puppies  strewn across the legs of a writer who is sitting in goat poop so as to capture this moment) … I honestly think/feel….It wasn’t the food they were alert and eager to absorb, but the energy (food being a significant part, make no doubt)
            But when these 7 week old puppies…new to life, food, sensory perceptors, etc…When these remaining three pups stopped…and looked up at me ….leaving food in their bowls for the moment…and sat up as if to beg...Well, may I just say, It was a Pavlovian moment…I think for me more than them.)
            They didn’t jump for food and food alone. They jumped into the process...the very ritual of being fed…(“fed” meaning more than their bellies)
            I can honestly say I have never seen a 7 week old pup leave food in a bowel. But when they saw me leave their side (to go inside to warm food for their mommy and Uncle Teej…I’m just saying…)
            These souls are so much older than I or anyone ever knew…
            And like Dorthy in the Wizzard of Oz…
            I knew I wasn’t in Kansas anymore.
            Goodnight Moon…
            Goodnight sweet puppies…
            Goodnight farm…
            (FYI…Here’s what it looks like from laptops in goat pens on a Saturday night in Tennessee…)
            Again, may I just say… Goodnight Moon.

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