Sunday, February 28, 2010

Last Day of February 2010, with a St. Bernard and a Goat

This has been quite a year so far. It came on with a fierceness like the White Tiger's pouncing attack and play. It came to my home and family, my neighborhood, my community, and my library work from many directions, from the snapping teeth of winter to the growling threats of something predatory lurking just beyond my door.

Oftentimes in such challenging days and nights, a person can feel shell-shocked and unsettled. I think of the Haitians and Chileans who look to the sky and sea and earth, waiting for the next strike. How many years will it take to feel secure again? How many years before the anxious worry abates enough to experience a deep, restful sleep?

Personally, a similar sense of fragility exists around my jobs' budgets. What once was accepted is now coveted. It seeps into my daily finances, and, as with all my neighbors, affects our future spending decisions regarding the new car, a vacation, how to afford our children's tuition. I work two to three part-time jobs and have no health insurance, and I consider myself lucky as I move from day to day, week to week, and look forward to a new month.

March may come in as a lion tomorrow, and with it, the promise of a calm, warm spring in just 21 days (well, I know that is the equinox, but it's nice to have a date to look forward to).

I believe that in these next three weeks something good is going to happen, and this is why:

This morning, after taking my puppy for a walk and getting the laundry going, I zipped to the store and then to drop in on a friend I hadn't seen in a while. I needed a shoulder to cry on and sound advice from this level-headed woman. After cups of herbal tea (from Seattle) and a good visit (thanks Joan!), I was ready to get on home. I took the back way; it is a scenic, Sunday drive road. As I moved past the apple orchard, I saw two animals crossing the road in the distance. At first I thought these were deer, but as I neared, I saw that the one in front was a St. Bernard and following, a dark gray goat.

The goat had stopped although the huge dog seemed to try to get the goat to follow it up the snowy drift. But the goat bleated and protested as it stood in the ongoing traffic's lane. Luckily there was very little by way of cars at this time of day on a Sunday.

I slowed and pulled up beside her and rolled down my window. The goat immediately turned and looked me right in the eyes and bleahed at me.

"Hey now," I said, always believing that animals somehow understand our tone if not our words. "Get off the road," said, shooing it with a wave of my hand. "Go on. It's not safe here."

"Bleah," said the goat with a tremolo effect as she took a couple of rapid steps toward me. So much for understanding.

Just then, the huge St. Bernard then lumbered off the snow bank and headed toward me at a trot. I immediately thought "Cujo." My heart picked up its pace and my hand reached for the button to quickly move the window up. By then another car was in view behind me, so I thought I'd just get going, that they had probably noticed this event. Sure enough, while I tooled on down the road I saw the silver Volvo slow down and come to a stop by the pair. It wasn't long before they, too, followed me down the road.