I had taken off my hat and mittens, I was warm from my walk with Fate in the woods and not ready to go inside yet.
Fanny and Lulu hovered at the gate to the back pasture. The frozen ground, soft from the sun, was too damp to sit on, so I squatted next to Lulu facing the sun.
Fate was a few feet away, looking at the sheep waiting for me to tell her to “get them”. Lulu’s ears shot up at a sound I couldn’t hear behind us. She turned, in guard donkey posture, her ears swiveling, ready. Fanny paid no attention, picking though the winter grasses, nibbling on the tastiest ones she could find.
I watched Fate’s eyes closing as she laid on the ground, warmed by the sun, forgetting what she was waiting for. Slowly Lulu turned and came back to my side, even Fanny lifted her head, her back hoof cocked as she became still.
I could hear the drone of a neighbors chainsaw, a car on Route 22, distant gunshots too evenly spaced to be anything but target practice. But I was listening to something else.
I was listening to the silent ease between us four creatures, all doing the same thing. Want gone, for those moments we were content with the cold ground beneath our feet and the warm sun on our faces.