Sunday, March 7, 2010

Abiding Winter In This Mountain

Abiding winter in this mountain has been difficult, especially these past two weeks. You could see it in the faces of the girls, the longing for snow-free pastures, the restlessness of self-imposed confinement, the shifting of herd alliances. In my small foursome, two of my llamas were born cria mates, so when I made my first purchase, I kept them together. Why separate best friends (Rev and Tess, l. to r.) . At that time, they traveled with a loaner llama, an older aunt who would teach them etiquette since they were young learning llamas. When I added a fourth, I selected a reserved sophisticated lady whom I love, like the three, to over-the-moon heights. But winter on this mountain has made some changes, or perhaps it was pregnancy, or both.

Two of my girls, Rev and Miss Ciera (to the left), are pregnant. Tess, the cria mate to Rev, did not take on two separate attempts. Et Cetera is the baby of the group, a yearling. Miss Ciara, the reigning queen of the paddock, is a guard llama, not exactly anti-social, but always wary, of everyone and everything. She never relaxes. Rev is her buddy, because both are quiet in their pregnancies. That made Tess and Et Cetera best friends, not to the exclusion of Rev, but in forays in the chute to the beckoning snow-laden pastures and mindless antics, these two cause sharp intakes of breath.

Today, after several consecutive fifty-degree days, the girls headed to the mountain. There they remain, on the highest plateau, munching all day, and I suspect, bedding down for their first winter night outdoors. They belabored the decision; you could almost see them go or not to go.... Much could be learned from llamas; they never, unless frightened, precipitously rush lemming-like into the future. Rather, they seem deliberately rooted in the eternal now, living in the moment, with only a pea-sized eye toward the future. They ask little and give much joy in their own happiness. Feed them, love them, care for them, spend time with them. Aha, but life is very good indeed--winter reflections and vernal equinox longing.
And just in case you did not notice in my conflated title, I am again reading Jan Karon's In This Mountain, moving closer to Shepherds Abiding. Thank you, Jan, for the presence of Mitford in our lives.

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