Change is here.
Breezes; yellow and falling leaves; earthy scents rising from the forest floor.
Cooler and darker and wetter days.
And moments of exquisite clarity.
This morning as I watched the old goat limp to her trough to eat the remnants of yesterday’s pellets – tan, dormant grass under hoof – I remember the feel of her thick tongue on my fingers.
Clinging a bit too tightly to the apple and alder leaf treats I’m feeding her so she has to nudge and nibble my thumb, I speak in quiet tones.
Hello, Clara. How you feelin’ today? Do you recall the agility of your youth?
I’m sure she does not comprehend the words, but my gentle tone works for her. She “maaa”s, asking for more leaves while she rubs the side of her chin on the fence, on my hand. Clara puts her fat lips around my fingertips but the one snaggle-tooth in the front of her mouth never breaks my skin.
She is so very old, with coarse and wiry gray hair; her body is full of lumps and bumps, and a constant goo that afflicts her left eye.
I waved to her this morning from my office window, as I often do while I work; she responded by staring back, and – once - by maaaing. Solidarity – the goat and me.
When we let her roam the yard during the autumn, this goat feeds on the crisp fallen leaves - alder and maple snacks: potato chips for ruminants.
I believe Clara senses the change in the air, the scent of something else coming on the winds of autumn.
Like the goat in her hay-filled shelter at night, I nestle into the cozy safety of my home: aware that change has arrived. I swallow what I can of it, saving the rest for another day.