Monday, May 18, 2009
I am happily distracted by goats.
I need distraction right now.
There are many things conspiring in my life at this moment to teach me about patience. I’m still waiting to find out if I get financing to buy my dream house (hey...I understand that being self-employed in a field as capricious as publishing might make the underwriters a wee bit nervous in this current climate...but that doesn’t mean I have to like it!) and I’m still waiting on my edits on novel number four, feeling stuck in limbo land.
I don’t do patient very well.
So how perfect is it that I have goats to distract me? Or, rather, one specific goat named Humphrey.
Have you ever been around a goat? If you have not, you should try to remedy this as soon as possible. Goats are good for the soul. I firmly believe that if everyone had a goat in her life, anti-depressants would become obsolete. Goats are very very good at BEING HAPPY IN THE PRESENT MOMENT...which is something I need big doses of while I’m in waiting mode.
Humphrey is a stout pygmy goat with beautiful markings on his impish face. Humphrey greets you with a thin, warbling bleat when he sees you approaching his pasture (his voice is eerily childlike and once prompted the neighbor’s construction men to inquire if “that baby” was all right (what? you mean the baby locked in the barn who’s been yelling all afternoon? that baby?). Then, he comes trotting to greet you, switching his tail and throwing in a click of the heels, just for the fun of it.
That’s just it—Humphrey does lots of things just for the fun of it. When you’re near him, you can’t help but smile. I’m especially fond of the act of joy we’ve dubbed “the happy goat dance” in which he skips down a low stone wall as nimbly as a gymnast on a balance beam, then leaps off the end of the into the air, putting in a buck or two upon landing.
He is very playful. You can convince him to chase you—but be careful, as it is often hard to convince him that the game of chase is now OVER.
Once he’s good and riled from chasing, he’ll start with the head-butting, a personal favorite of mine. He rears up on his back legs, angles his (horn-less, ind you) head at a rakish angle, then lands and rushes in to butt you with his nubby forehead. He has twice knocked me down when he headbutted me while I was crouched to pet Ethel, the barn cat.
And the tail. He’s so expressive with that little switch of a tail. When he’s playful (contemplating a head butt, perhaps), it just switches back and forth, back and forth, giving his mischievous intentions away.
He has a charming burp.
He loves to scratch himself on fences, branches, rocks, and people and will often contort himself hilariously to do so.
Goats are clever. They’re every bit as intelligent and personable as dogs. Something about the way they mince around like women in high heels is highly entertaining as well.
It has struck me that there are important goat characters in both novel #4 and #5. Hmm...
Since I’m a Capricorn, it makes perfect sense both that I have trouble with patience, and that I’d be so fond of goats.
Capricorns are known to be tenacious, which is not at all the same quality as patience. Tenacious means that while I’m forced to wait, I stubbornly decide I will write an entirely different book in the limbo months—and do so—but fret about finishing book number four during every single day of the entire process. Tenacious means that I’m already scoping out cool houses to rent if I don’t get the loan.
I wish I could be more caprine about it, however.
Do you know the word caprine? I only just discovered it. Caprine means, you guessed it, “Of, relating to, or characteristic of a goat.” Just like equine means of horses, bovine of cows, feline of cats, canine of dogs, etc. Caprine is so obviously the root of words such as capricorn, caprice, and even capricious (which I used earlier to describe the business of publishing). If I were caprine, I wouldn’t fret. I wouldn’t necessarily be patient, but I wouldn’t waste energy stewing, either. I’d be happy in this moment. I’d know that when the edits come, I’ll be better able to tackle them, having been given the objective eye of distance from the manuscript. I’d know that if I don’t get this house, it means that something better must be out there.
So...I’m taking deep breaths. I’m trying to use Humphrey as my role model. Perhaps it’s time I start to develop a “happy goat dance” of my own.