"If providence did beards devise,
To prove the wearers of them wise,
A fulsome goat would then, by nature,
Excel each other human creature." - Thomas D'Urfey

Thursday, December 13, 2007

On Being Helpful

Helpful. Yes, goats are helpful. In fact, in that regard, goats are probably some of the most auspicious individuals living. They are so auspicious, they could be Buddhist symbols. Of course then there would be nine auspicious symbols instead of eight, but you get my meaning.

Take for example this morning. Someone, I don't know who, has been trying to eat the bark off of the bottom of one of the big trees by the barn. Well, you see, we goats, by nature, are browsers rather than grazers. So the goatmother, being the accommodating soul that she is, made sure we have access to both a pasture and a 'brushy' area. It is in the brushy area that the trees reside. Now, I wouldn't want to point any hooves, but I do think that Ella is the culprit. After all, I've actually seen her peeling the bark off my stump.

Anyway, this morning the goatmother noticed the 'damage' and decided she better do something about it straight away. Most of the trunks are covered with chicken wire already, but someone, had managed to dig the dirt out enough to get to the bark at the bottom. Well, she entered the area replete with all manner of paraphernalia...wire cutters, a hammer, staples, gloves, wire. This is good, yes? This is good, NO! - at least according to her. What can I say? We aim to please. It is just a very minor detail that the 'pleasing' also extends to ourselves. I mean there just has to be something in it for us, doesn't there?

So the chore was accomplished, but not without a lack of true appreciation on the part of the goatmother. Really! I can't understand it. Ella was right there the whole time dutifully shielding the goatmother from any unnecessary interference. Boo and Peanut both tried numerous times to help her carry the sack with the staples in it. Watson tried to carry the wire cutters and her gloves. I, myself, tried very hard to help her cut and fold the wire. And, of course, we all tried to help her get it into place and hammer it in. I fail to see the goatmother's frustration, but frustrated she was. Well, I suppose, in this day and age, people are just in too much of a hurry to truly appreciate the benevolence of individuals willing to offer supportive, valuable and utilitarian assistance when needed. It is a mark of our times. If the goatmother were a little more philosophically-minded, as am I, she would understand that in the end there is no need for frustration. After all,
"All things come into being by conflict of opposites, and the sum of things flows like a stream." Heracleitus (Diogenes Laertius IX. 8,9)


Yang said...

Thank you, Marigold for another instructive post. Many a time I have been frustrated by the assistance offered by the goats who let me live here with them. I now realize it was not necessary and all I need to do is breathe deeply, repeat my mantra, and be thankful for the help.

deconstructingVenus said...

Yes, now that I see it from your perspective, I can see how incredibly helpful goats are. I distinctly remember my angoras "helping" me to milk that first night. Our goats also "helped" us gather firewood a few weeks ago. We would put the sticks and kindling in the bucket, and they would nibble at the bark and then remove them from the bucket for us. God bless 'em.