Lulu and Fanny
It’s one of those really hot, muggy July days where it feels like at any moment a thunderstorm can come through and cool things off for a while, but it never does. Jon and I spent most of the day driving back and forth to Albany where he had a doctor’s appointment. We also squeezed in a sushi lunch and got home just in time to feed the animals.
This afternoon, the sheep were all crowded in the pole barn, catching the cool air that streams in through the spaces in the wood from the big barn the pole barn is attached to. The donkeys followed me out to the gate hoping for some treats, which I didn’t have, but promised them some corn husks and cobs after dinner. “It’s hot” I thought watching the sheep pant in their wool coats. Then I placed my hand on Fanny’s back and this time I said the obvious out loud, “It’s hot Fanny”. And as I stood there with Fanny, my hand on her back, I heard a voice in my head say, “It feels good if you just stand still”. And I knew the voice wasn’t mine, I knew it was Fanny talking to me, because it wasn’t just the voice that made me understand what she was saying. At the same time I heard the voice, I saw and felt what was being communicated to me. It was like I was seeing through Fanny down to her bones and could feel that the heat felt good on her bones. Then I got that soft dreamy sensation of being in a hot tub. Of course, I thought, if you don’t have to move, the heat feels really good.
In the past I might have wondered where that voice came from, thinking it was maybe mine, but now I have no doubt it was Fanny communicating with me. Because it wasn’t just the voice, it was the whole experience. I felt it heard it and saw it all at once.
And I don’t doubt it because I feel like I’ve gotten closer to the donkeys. More and more, I spend my time with them listening. And that kind of listening isn’t about hearing with my ears, its hearing with my whole body and opening my heart. I keep thinking of the story I heard about Mother Theresa. When asked what she said to God when she prayed, she replied ” I listen” and when asked what God said to her she said, ” He listens”. I’m not saying the donkeys are God and I’m Mother Theresa, but it’s the same idea about listening. It’s what I feel is happening between me and the donkeys. I actually think of that story and that kind of listening when I’m with the donkeys. It’s giving and receiving at the same time equally and it seems, from that, comes a true understanding between us.
For years Jon has been saying that I communicate with the donkeys. I never believed him, but eventually I could see it in the pictures he took of me and them together. For some reason, although I liked the idea of it, I didn’t want to believe it was true. But now, I don’t want to pretend anymore that it isn’t true. I think something special is happening between me and the donkeys and I don’t want to let it slip away. I guess I’m a little nervous about seeming like some kind of crazy donkey lady. But then I guess there are worse things to be known for than that. And donkeys can live to be 40 years old, so we’re going to be spending a long time together. We may as well get to know each other in what ever ways we can.