Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Tiniest Victories

If you haven't heard it yet - HAPPY NEW YEAR! And if you've heard it so many times that you want to take the new year and shove...well you know what I mean...but if you're in that camp, then sorry you had to hear it again. No matter how you feel about it, it's 2010. According to the Aztec calendar, this means we've got two years left. Make 'em count!

In honor of the new year, we spent the first day of 2010 at - you guessed it - the land. And it was a damn fine day, too. The prospect of some actual, tangible progess with the house planning re-invigorated both of us and Jeremy announced that we'd spend the day clearing the home site area; a spot that's been ignored for months, where we hang our heads when walked past, a gaping hole that seemed to lose purpose for a while. Suddenly, it deserved our attention and all of the trees cut in the area months ago that were left standing would now be pulled out, whisked away to fire piles, so that the whole area could finally take some shape. I was so excited that, for this one time only, I did not complain about a morning spent dragging trees and limbs backwards, up a hill. It was that big a deal.

Of course, I took a few breaks. First to have a chilly picnic by the pond. And second, to photograph Rooney who I found in the middle of the hay pile, taking advantage of the fact that the others were grazing somewhere.

Oh Rooney.

In the middle of his blissful gluttony he suddenly realized that he was absolutely and completely alone with The Human - an uspeakable horror for this tiny cow.

Before I realized what was happening, he sprang from the hay ring and bumped and slid down the road, frantically mooing along the way, "mmmoooooooooOOOoOOOaaaaAAAAHAHHDKFJDKJF!!!!!"

Suddenly, he heard something in the woods. He turned. "MOOOOWAAAAAAAA????"
He saw Seamus and headed towards him at top-Rooney-speed.
All was not lost.

Of course, I followed him, not because I condone the torment of miniature cattle, but because I find his wild, pissed off look when seeing me pretty hilarious. Click, click, click - I wasn't paying attention to my surroundings and focused only on the little cow when suddenly:

Chula appeared in the lens in search of carrots, apples, sweet feed, a piece of my shirt , a finger- anything that would come off of me when bitten. Turning to find this face in my face can be a bit unsettling. So I crept backwards (Donkey Rule #428: no fast movements) and took a look at the whole scene.

There was a time when standing here, along the back fence, was impossible without a machete and fairly heavy armor, since it was a tangle of cactus, mesquite, rusted metal...and now...

It's a narrow strip of pasture, hand cleared, the grass hand-seeded, the animals now grazing and using something that was before useless. It didn't happen in a day, not even close. It's only here now because of what we did piece by piece, one small project at a time. An afternoon here or there, a hot morning between breakfast and afternoon chores at our current house. I looked down the strip of land, at the donkeys, and then on my other side were the cows, eating the same grass we planted, on the same land we cleared.


This whole thing, whatever it is or ends up being, can't be done at once - this is clear. And that used to frustrate me like nothing else has ever frustrated me. But now I see that some things have to be broken down, done in pieces, taken apart. And when you do that you get a million, tiny little victories. Pretty satisfying, if you ask me.

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