This morning I woke with steaming hot buckets of water on my mind.
Crunch, crunch, crunch went the snow under my boots, as I walked towards the barn, breathing in the cold air. It took some extra muscle to slide the frozen barn door, but with one good heave, there I was again. Bright light in my eyes, welcoming hooves clanking on wood, fresh straw, and one deep and comforting breath. I had done this familiar moment hundreds of times, yet I am always surprised by my delight.
As I scooped a little extra grain, I chatted with the goats about the unbearable temperatures and our mutual feelings of being cooped up. I unlocked the wooden gate as I shook the container of grain, and they stepped aside waiting for the ritual to unfold. As they argued over the best side of the dispenser to eat from, I ran my work glove over their fuzzy winter fur and their happy tails flickered back and forth
After several trips back and forth from barn to house, the buckets were clean and full of hot water. Both goats immediately dipped their mouths into the steam, sucking and slurping, and then shaking off their wet beards and chins.
Pushing away fears of mice crawling in my pants, I plopped down in the straw. I closed my eyes, took in the beautiful quiet, and realized that I was actually warm. I then felt the love nibbles on my hat tassels and jacket buttons, and reached out and scratched their cheeks. Areida nuzzled her face into my arms as I scratched her neck and there she stayed for several minutes. She would occasionally peek out, re-adjust, and then back in her face would go, nestled into my arms. She was just about to settle herself down next to me, when the yipping began.
I jumped to my feet, listening as as a surge of adrenaline rushed through me. Oh my god. There were coyotes very close by. As their calls grew louder, I scrambled to open the locks on the gate, grabbed a broom and peered out the barn door. Nothing…Quiet… More adrenaline. I smacked the broom against a tall metal ornamental rooster that stands just outside the barn, hoping to scare them off. I again peered around the next corner. There was nothing, so I embarrassingly broke into a full-out crazy run with a flailing broom at my ready. As I approached the house I turned for another look, expecting them to be right behind me. There they were, all 5 of them, running in the field away from me and the barn.
Very suddenly, this all went from frightening to exciting and I defiantly ran back out towards the barn, watching as the pack bounded in a straight line through the deep snow. They all stopped several times, looking towards me and the barn. They quickly ran out of my sight, yet continued to make noises that raised hairs on the back of my neck. I’ll admit I was relieved they were gone, but I also wished I could see more.
The little red barn never disappoints.
Thank you to the yipping, beautiful and frightening coyotes for making my heart race and for allowing me to see you in your element. And thanks for not eating me.