Monday, July 16, 2007

Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone

Despite my mother’s exhortations to the contrary, we all have a job here at MisFit Farm. In a Maslowe-ian sense, I am in charge of primal needs: physiological, i.e., food and shelter. It isn’t always sexy, but it’s my job, and I think I am reasonably good at it and I like it.

On a good, aspirational day I can bleed over to the secondary needs: safety and security, if only because I am one crazy little chick who will mess you up if you mess with my family. When a wild critter ate our chickens, I tore through the barn like blazes reinforcing walls, doors and ceilings to prevent further carnage. On some level, I share this role with the dogs. My mother commented the other day that she would come to visit more oftem, but she is intimidated by all these dogs. When I told my sister this story, she guffawed and said, “I didn’t think anything intimidated Mom.” Suffice it to say that the notion that an unwanted visitor would dare breach the threshold of our space doesn’t keep either of us awake at night.

As we have pointed out in other places, the goats’ job is to keep us from being enveloped in overgrowth. Charlie and Miss May, the cats, keep the barns free of rodents and snakes (mostly). Trinity makes everyone feel welcomed and loved. Mercy keeps us all in our paces. Coffee gets me to work every day. Skeeter alerts us to impending foul weather. Emmett holds us up with the sheer magnitude of his lean. Azure; well, she keeps us on our toes.

K is the “higher order” needs satisfier. In Maslowe’s hierarchy, love/belonging, esteem, and self-actualization are in her realm of household fulfillments.

K is chief dog treat-er. K is the head ice-creamer dish-er.

She praises the dogs as they all take their morning pee breaks. She calls me in the middle of the day to remind me that there is sanity in the world.

K signs “good dog” to Azure with such an alarming frequency and intensity, I worry she will rub a spot off her jawbone. (I can’t ever tell if this praise is delivered as an affirmation or as an aspiration.) She reminds me that my belief that “we can do better” in this world is not a criticism, but a statement of hope.

K’s creativity and sense of aesthetic keeps us in ready supply of matching leash/collar combinations and reminds me to do silly little things like brush my teeth, put on deodorant, and stain-treat the shirt I was wearing when the goats jumped up on my back.

So what happens when there is a vacuum in those higher order needs?

We take our walks like we always do. We run and splash in the pond. We get our twice-daily kibble, sometimes with a special addition like scrambled eggs. We perfunctorily deliver our animal crackers and raisins to the goats. We pick vegetables from the garden that just aren’t as much fun to eat without her, so we can or freeze them. We joke about eating buffalo wings and beer, but really, that is dinner. We mow the lawn, water the garden, clean the house and do laundry the old-fashioned way: looks like enough to make a load, toss ‘em in there! Azure is willing to tolerate my presence, since it means she can sleep in the people bed, and as long as I keep the kibble coming.

In other words, we survive until that time when she comes home and she smiles and fills this place with her sunshine, her scent and her softness. Then, we thrive.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have this image of the "K" love fest that ensues once she walks in the door! I bet the energy of the room changes completely and feels like those images of kids running down the stairs on Christmas morning, with their smiling faces. Heck I was missing her now just typing this?! Some people just make everything "better" because that's who they are in the world. Thanks for a great blog as always. Ev.