The Way of the Goat

         In most cases, I prefer goats to people. That’s no secret. As an insufferable introvert I get overwhelmed very quickly during busy social gatherings and often have to retreat for a breather of sorts (retreat, duck out, go hide, ect.) All the combined energy and the noisy din are beyond exhausting, even for someone used to living in a very small house with 6 children. Spending time just sitting with our herd is my favorite source of renewal. When the weather is decent I can often be found out in the barn, ‘communing’ with our goats. 

          Goats are just themselves, completely and unapologetically. If they’re hungry, they find something to eat; if that something just happens to be their peoples’ decorative shrubbery, then that’s just that. That $8 bale of pure alfalfa hay that you were saving for mama goats right after delivery? Consider it gone long before anyone goes into labor; they’ll find a way to get to it. They’ll enjoy every mouthful with wagging tails and happy hearts, because that’s just how goats are. All that matters is right now and consequence is, in fact, of no consequence at all. 

          There are no pretenses or hidden agendas. A goat will let you know exactly how he feels about you from the moment you step into his presence. You have about 30 seconds while he takes your measure to prepare for either a friendly reception (and cursory nibble of your clothing) or to brace yourself to be butted full-force in the thigh. You’re welcomed, or you’re not. You know exactly where you stand from the jump. 

          Every afternoon at 2pm sharp our herd heads back into the barn from the pastures. They find their favorite places in the straw and get comfortable. Laying in windrows in the bar of sunshine from the door or curled up in the bunk boxes, babies alongside their mothers. Their routine was written entirely by them; a long morning of grazing and yelling at the passing tractors could only be followed up by a long, relaxing nap. Their base nature is embraced at every turn. 

            Once they’re fed and rested its time to play. Mamas keep a watchful eye on their babies while they frolic in the pasture, jumping and butting and trying to outrun each other. The wethers and yearling does will play with the young ones and even the mothers join their babies sometimes. Anything can become a toy; tires, old wooden boxes, huge cable spools or even big sticks with their branches picked clean. Everything is suitable for jumping on and leaping off, climbing over or under. It doesn’t matter if we paid money for it or if we dragged it down out of the woods, whether it fell from the tree after the last storm rin ordered it online especially for their spoiled little  selves. Everything is fun and all of it is appreciated. 

            Goats are creatures who turn their predilections into perfection; their biological imperatives into an art form. Nothing is fake and nothing is taboo. Every moment of each day is spent on what truly matters to them, and spent well. They eat, sleep, breed and socialize. They raise their young and shepherd them endlessly, loving them every step of the way. Not a moment is wasted ruminating on their shortcomings, instead it’s just spent ruminating. Even among farm animals they have a flair for life and a panache for all things good in this world. There is no guilt among the herd, no regret, no worry. They are themselves 100% of the time, and they embrace it. I love them for that. 

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