Channeling Virgil

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Mr. Newman Goat has been particularly evil lately.  This morning,  I administered antibiotics to John the Duck (or as I like to call him, John the Duckist) and he released all of his nightly digested materials all over my dress in one big gush; I was perilously on the edge of being late for an appointment, and my mood was a fou(w)l one that did not include goat management.  I was also combining incompatible morning chores, trying to be the three-armed farmer again, which is a fantasy I can’t seem to let go of, and multitasking – another fantasy proved impossible by Ludwig Wittgenstein in the last century (a duck cannot simultaneously be a rabbit), and my mood deteriorated to loud and irate exclamations as Mr. Newman handily let himself into every pen I was visiting, requiring my sodden, duck-poop laden and most thoroughly crabby self to physically haul him out.

Newman goes through phases, you know, just like all of us.  He’s sometimes very affectionate and will touch noses with attractive females, and he likes to rub up against pretty much anything that is warm (I’m not implying anything here, just stating the facts).  You may recall that some time back that Mr. Newman related to an animal communicator, “there are too many ducks here.”  As it would happen, not 2 weeks ago we brought in 8 domestic ducks who had been dumped on a local lake.  He hasn’t been this bad for ages…. Could it be the quackers?

Then again, I heard from a friend whose goats I shear that she’s starting to have “a little trouble” with one of her baby goats. He’s jet black, very cute, and escapes without any visible signs of exactly how he did it.  Just like Virgil.  Apparently this baby business started shortly after Virgil passed away, not so long ago.  I’ve seen with my own eyes that animals pass the torch of their responsibilities when they die, and Virgil was a larger than life character: a  great, white, handsome, obnoxious and loveable Angora goat whose second helping of personality caused his human companions no end of grief.  There were no boundaries for Virgil.  Fences and pens were invisible.  Lids to feed bins levitated in his presence.  He was so terrible.  He was so handsome and so charming. Shearing him required two large adults to hold him down, and no one got away un-bruised.  Everybody loved him.  I loved him.  He was a good guy, and obviously he couldn’t possibly leave his humans with a bunch of boring and law-abiding goats so I reckon he is channeling all that excess energy; to all appearances, this little black baby goat has got some big shoes to fill and is doing a fine job.

Oddly, Virgil was also a car guy like our Newman.  He liked to hop on in and rummage through groceries and any other potentially edible items contained in vehicles, and now I wonder – who is channeling whom?  The fact remains, however, that since Virgil’s demise, Newman has had an extra jolt of personality and wickedness. He’s once again taken to tormenting Tetsuro the pig at dinner time, and has resumed his habit of performing a full body rub on hay bales not meant only for his personal consumption (if I were a sheep, I’d be composing complaint letters right about now).  And he taunts our young volunteers, poising his large frame directly above piles they have dutifully raked up, just daring them to try to reach under, around, move him, or otherwise tell him where to go.

While Mr. Newman is still very much in my face and present, I will miss Virgil.  But I take comfort knowing that there are just some beings, some spirits, whose force is so great that they seem to infuse the breath of life into others, who carry on their mission.  They make us stomp our feet in ungodly irritation, curse, and then guffaw so heartily that we know we are among the very, very lucky to have brushed against their powerful love of life.

Till next time,

Farmer Anne
Star Gazing Farm 501(c)3
A haven for retired farm animals and wayward goats

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