Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Apology to the Goat Boys

A week after the fire that could have taken everything that we love, I made an attempt to apologize to the goats. I've felt so awful about the fact that we left them here and even though everything turned out well... it could have been a disaster.
I believe that life should be lived vertically and in the moment but my beginners mind is still feeling guilt for leaving the goats that day and I have wanted to discuss this feel with them.
When I went out to the goat house this morning they rushed in thinking I was going to feed them but I told them that I wanted to tell them something.
This was the response...
Murphy looked at me and said, " No food? Then what is it you want ?"
"I've come to apologize." I said.
"Why Farmlady?"
"Because we did a terrible thing. We left you when the fire was here and I've felt so awful that I couldn't even talk about it before now."
I got a lump in my throat. My eyes got watery. "I just need to talk about it."
"It's not necessary Farmlady." They walked outside and away from me.
I went around to the fence...
"Murphy, please come over here."
"OK Farmlady. I'm coming." He walked with a halting movement that I interpreted as reserved and resentful.
He took his time...
He stopped for a minute, switched a fly away and then walked over to me. The others followed Murph' and  finally they all came over to the fence and the red feeder.
Murphy spoke first.
"Are you going to feed us again. The Prospector already fed us this morning but we won't mind if you want to feed us too."
"I wasn't planning on giving you food, Murph'. I wanted to say something about why we left you last week, when the fire was so close."
Murph' looked up and me and said "OK."
"Well, I'm trying not to make excuses but the fire was very close. We needed to evacuate and it needed to be done fast. In those moments when these decisions were made, we thought that there would not be enough time to try and load all four of you into the back of the truck. We thought you would panic and we didn't have the right equipment to make this happen fast and efficiently. I'm so sorry we left you here. It breaks my heart to think what might have happen to you."
Murph' gave me that "magic goat" look and said, " But it didn't happen. The fire didn't come and what might have happen didn't. You are damaging the present by letting something that didn't happen, or could have happen, make you sad today."
I looked at Murph' and Freckles, who was standing there moving his head up and down in agreement.
Murph' continued...
"Farmlady, you don't have to apologize to anyone. The circumstances of that day were just what they were. No amount of feeling bad will change what happen and what you did in response was what you needed to do. We are fine."
I looked into those amber eyes.
There was no animosity.... no what if. No anger.
There was  only NOW.
"Do you have any food for us?", Murphy asked again.
Bart walked over when he heard the word 'food'.
Brownie kept his distance and then started walking toward us.
I went into the goat house and took a half flake of hay from the corner of the shed. I brought it out and stuck it through the fence into the feeder. They started eating.  Brownie dived in even when Bart pushed him away.
I rubbed each head and each beautiful ear.
"I'm so glad that you are OK."

"I'm trying to live in the moment but the flames of the fire come back to haunt me. The "what ifs" worm their way into my thoughts. I watch for plumes of smoke on the road below and constantly look out the windows checking for fire.
I can't answer questions about why we didn't do something to save the goats. Why we didn't open the gates. Why we left them. I can only say what we did in that moment of stark fear. There were no choices that we could make at the time.
My heart is still sad even though everything turned out all right.
So, I listened to Murphy... the small voice in my head that carries the commentary that constantly speaks to me... that makes up stories... that gives words to all the creatures in my life. This never goes away.
I could hear the small noises of satisfaction and the munching of the hay in their mouths. Murphy pulled a bunch of hay to the ground and ate from it. None of the others bothered him.
He is the wise, magical goat that speaks with astute understanding of the inept human beings in his life.

And this human being knows that her life without these animals would not be what is it... a joy.
I still apologize to them. I still think about the "what ifs". I still think that the circumstances could have been so different and horrible but.... I can't stay in that place anymore. I need to move on.

My shadow will be gone from this place someday...
So I'm going to live every moment. without regret or anger, breathing in and breathing out, so that the "journey" itself  is more important than where I'm going.



  1. I can well imagine how you've been feeling, but those sweet goats don't have a clue what happened, nor are they aware of the terrible choice you were required to make in that instance... No judgment, anywhere. Enjoy them being in your life and let that bad dream go. Now.

    You're a very cool lady and I'm so glad we've "met."

  2. Instead of your going to the dogs, you have gone to the goats. Great presentation.

  3. Murphy is wise beyond his years. He knows how lucky he is to have you and the Prospector in his life. Peace to you.

  4. Oh my gosh, you were TRAUMATIZED to the bone. Of course you were paralyzed with fear, but LEARN GOAT WISDOM. Stop flogging yourself and worrying about what could have happened. Thank goodness it didn't and you are all fine. But yes, in California I constantly worry about fires. I remember waking up at 5 A.M. because I smelled smoke. I saw a line of flames advancing down the hill and I thought, "this is IT."

    Sending love and cool, foggy breezes your way,


  5. I am so sorry to hear that there was a fire, that it could have been devastating. My thoughts are with you. Your goats, they forgive you, no regrets.

    Cheers to you, my friend.

  6. i think the goats will forgive you...we never know how we will act under pressure until it happens...it is ok to reflect but dont beat yourself up...and if it happens again you know better how to handle it...

  7. I'm glad you talked about that.

    However, the goats accept whatever happens.

  8. 1. You were scared silly
    2. You did the best you could with the information at hand.
    3. Nothing bad happened. God took care of your goats. Sometimes we have to let Him handle things that are too big for us.
    4. You are wiser now and will no doubt devise a plan for future emergencies which will include the goats.
    5. You are human. This is how we learn, by falling forward.
    6. Your goats still love you and so do we. That's all that matters.
    7. Accept unconditional love; and give it to yourself.
    8. End of lecture.

  9. You know Farmlady, I get you
    sure we want to live in the moment
    but we are spiritual beings, loving beings
    we have outward lives and loves
    I would have gone to confession too
    Goat absolution, that's what you got
    now go and sin no more...until the next time
    grace is always there

  10. That is one wise goat. Someone needs to listen to his voice.
    xo, Cheryl
    (great post!)

  11. That darling Murphy is an extremely perspicacious goat. LISTEN TO HIM! ~Dawn

  12. there is a terrifying gap between vision and reality. In the eyes of the universe, both hold the same weight. When you admit to your fears and the things that you know you did wrong, you give us all a gift! I'll bet your fears will never stand in your way again.
    And P.S. - your goats love you

  13. I love that you can "hear" & understand what your animals communicate to you. I am trying to become more skilled at this. Your goats understood everything at the time of the fire and again when you came to them to apologize. They get it.

  14. Thanks for this post. I'm sure that Murphy doesn't hold anything against you. But it did make me realize that I really ought to have an emergency evacuation plan for our critters.


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