WEST FORK KICKAPOO - Yesterday morning, after feeding the pups in the basement, I was carrying laundry up the stairs when I heard a loud buzznearby. Instantly, under my right arm, I received two sharp stings, causing me to drop my basket. Wasps. Not a biggie, but hey, it was early and it seemed rude.
Minutes later, still in my pajamas, I went outside with apples for the donkeys, pig and goats. One of the apples for Diego and Carlos fell outside their fence. As I bent over to get it for them, my head bumped the electric wire. Nothing like starting my day with a little shock therapy to go along with my hornet stings.
Nevertheless, I was feeling good when I left for work. I like to think of being stung as healthy juice going in and aiding any arthritis I may have. And, as I told Dane, maybe the head shock unscrambled a few cells up there.
When I arrived and starting walking with my client, I looked down and noticed my pants were on inside-out. This was after dropping off my car at Bindl’s for an estimate on some fancy alignment work–meaning the car guys had seen my ginormous rear end with my tag and seams hanging out.
Despite rumors that Highway 56 from Viola to Richland Center is now open, after being closed for construction, it’s not, making for a 55-minute start-and-stop ride home from work. Normally, my drive on 56 is just shy of 30 minutes and pleasant. But now, because they were dumping gravel and blacktopping, my windows stayed up, air conditioner on, and the dust turned my black car brownish. My nerves were in a tangle.
When I got home, my dear pig Louisa came running across the yard to greet me. It turned out she had escaped her new ‘long playpen’ by using her weight to push herself under the fence.
Although she was unharmed, after a full day of being on her own, her poor back was sunburned. Pigs have skin similar to ours and she’d been without access to her protective mud hole, in her pen, where she ought to have been.
I’m happy to report that my ducklings and goslings are now free-ranging, tick-eating, creek-playing, feathered teenagers. It took them only two days to master coming down their ramp from the Duckhall. Getting them out of the creek and back into the Duckhall has proved to be another story.
At the end of this awkward day, with the aid of my trusty rubber boots, a brightly colored pool noodle in each hand, and the ‘help’ of two of my three dogs, I started walking the creek bed toward the flock, calling, “Nighty night, let’s go home, bedtime.”
Sushi, the oldest duck, freaked out and the rest started squawking, following her lead and rushing past me. Even though I held the noodles like gentle bumper guards in my outstretched hands, they hurdled right over them with feathers flying and wings flapping.
I was crabby and tired by then, yet as I watched them head down the creek awayfrom their overnight housing, I found myself smiling as I absentmindedly scratched the stings under my right arm.
Somehow, standing in the middle of the creek, with my right boot filling from a new slow leak, I became vividly aware that I am alive and living. And isn’t that what life is all about?
It would be easy to fall down, start crying, and not get up. But we don’t, do we? We get up, we carry on, we hold our heads up, and we share our stories. Because that is what brings us together as what we all are: imperfect human beings.
Nowadays, it’s more important than ever to take things in stride. Laugh a bit. Look for the silver lining and let our brain cells get unscrambled.
After all, Mama said there’d be days like these, and tomorrow is another story.