This was originally published 01/13/2011 at Darkcargo.com. It is reposted here with the gracious permission of Lady Darkcargo.
The sun was sinking behind my shoulder as I walked to the lower pasture last night to let the goats up. They were all there waiting for me, anticipating a dinner of alfalfa for the evening. I kept my eyes mostly on the sodden path. The snow has not melted and there is ice and mud beneath my feet; rocks and roots and gopher holes and tree stumps under the snow. I glance up here and there to look at my little goat herd of 20. Goats make me happy.
Another glance, and there is the heron. A large, gangly, glorious bird that has lived in our valley for years. She was on our pond, no more than 30 feet from me. My breath caught as she rose up with languid strokes, flying up the river along the mountain, and quickly disappearing into the deep shadows of evening.
This was a small moment of joy.
Catching my foot on something under the snow and doing a face plant in the field, to the amusement of 20 snickering goats, is NOT an instance of joy.