Swift, Silent Donkey
That was my mantra last week early one morning. My Main Man was out of town for a week doing some firefighting training and I had the farm to myself. This meant that I needed to get the animals out to pasture in the morning before I headed off to work. Here, in my little corner of the world this time of year the sun does not crest the mountain until 830ish, way past when I want to be in the office. Luckily, the donkeys are highly motivated by food. It makes it easy to carry some hay down in a hamper with them trailing me to the pond paddock.
The weekend before I had visited the neighbors. They had been having some night-time visitors – of the bear variety. Including a little cub. Bears are not uncommon here. Every year one neighbor or the other has some minor bear stories – them getting into stored grains, the trash being spread all over, minor damage to fruit trees, and the inevitable bear poop. In fact, that was what was bothering my neighbors so much about the visiting bears. The poo they left was in the most unwelcome of walking paths.
So, here I am, up way to early with a hell of a long day ahead of me, marching down to the pond paddock, lugging hay, in the first grey light of dawn. And I hear crashing just on the neighbor’s side of the fence through the willows and wild elms. I went into my Swift Silent Donkey mode. Normally I chat at them while walking down to the lower pasture, but not that morning. I was just another donkey – nothing to disturb or aggravate a bear and her cub.
The crashing could have been caused by cattle. Dogs, coyotes, pumas, and wolves don’t crash around like that. Humans, cattle, perhaps horses, and bears crash around.
But I was not going to chance it. I was simply a swift, silent donkey that morning.