Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Harmony and the Polar Express

Q: Can't We All Just Get Along?

A: Yes, if it is cold enough.

Around here we are used to the Pineapple Express. It comes in the winter from Hawaii, dumping gallons and gallons of rain and bringing a clammy unseasonable warmth, sometimes even 60 degrees in January. Occasionally during the Pineapple Express a bunch of flies will wake up, thinking it is April, and flutter around groggily until the Express blows out of town.

We are not used to the Polar Express. Last night was an all-time record low of 8 degrees here, making Monday's 30 degree snowstorm a pleasant memory.

After the snow the sky cleared ominously, north to south, turning a bright bitter blue and bringing in the Arctic wind from Canada. That is not how we like it here. We like our wind from the West, even if it means the Pineapple Express. That is what we are set up for.

The farmer has been stamping around babysitting the pipes with wraps and heaters and every tap turned to dripping and half the time on bended knee praying to the God of Plumbing: dear Lord, please help the pipes and keep them whole in their hour of need amen dear Lord.

As far as us goats the farmer does not seem too concerned, although Izzy did get rescued and plunked into the Nigerian refugee stall with the rest of us.

That's ok because we have our own system. When it is 50 degrees or 40 degrees or 30 degrees we keep to our usual hierarchy. When it is 20 we start to make exceptions: for example the night before last we allowed Cherry's daughter Bing to sleep in our pile even though she is only half Nigerian.

When it got down to 10, we abandoned the hierarchy completely. All the goats from the snow-filled cabana piled into the barn together into a single heap. Pinky, Jr. (the lamb) was lying by Brandy (the lion); Wronny pretended not to notice that Jimmy and Jimmy Jr. were invading her space; Winnie turned a blind eye to the appearance of Betsy, whom she normally cannot tolerate.

Meanwhile one of our flickers fell out of a tree, stone cold dead and frozen solid. So sorry, little flicker, best to travel with a herd during the Polar Express.

By midnight last night Penrose, being a Swiss goat, had to get up and move closer to the door - she was getting too hot in the pile. "Excuse me, won't you," she asked politely as she tiptoed to a new spot, taking care not to step on anyone and freeing up a heat pocket in the middle for Xie Xie to roll into.

Sometimes, we are the world.