Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Just Goats

When you live on the farm you know firsthand that there is a time for every season. And right now we are in the middle of a season of sadness. We know it will pass, but that doesn't help today. Four years ago there was a similar time. Two of our old horses died exactly a month apart: one was 32 and one was 29.

The older one, Mo, just didn't want to go on living when his old friend died. We always try not to have favorites, but Mo was everybody's favorite horse. On the looks scale, he was just about a zero: a scrubby old pink-eyed appaloosa with a tail like a bottle brush. But there was never on this Earth a kinder horse.


Mo was so kind that he lived an extra two weeks so we could get ready to live without him: when Mo stopped eating, the farmer brought out a bucket of warm mash every morning and every evening and fed him by hand, one handful after another. He was too kind to refuse to eat it, even though he didn't want it.

But even that sadness felt right, in its own way. Mo was 32, after all, and horses don't get much older than that. And he loved almost every minute (he didn't really like the parts where he got wormed) of his long life. And he was ready to go.

This sadness is different. First we lost Stacy, out of the blue. And now my two grandsons, Charzan and Orzbit, have been killed by dogs. A group of dogs, just out killing for fun. Their owners allowed them to run loose.

Charzan and Orzbit were twins. They were ten months old. They were very much beloved. They may have been, as we sometimes hear people say, "just goats," but they were also gentle and silly and fun-loving. They were our friends. We miss them very badly and we feel sick when we think about the way they died.

Don't worry, boys, we won't forget you. Even though you were just goats.