Fortunately, the Bearded One is downstairs and hears the knock. He calls my name several times, and I stop Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Pride and Joy, which is cranked on my computer speakers.
I peek over the railing and the Bearded Rocker smiles and whisper screams “turn that sh*t down!” I hoot with laughter, and he answers the door. I am not a rocker. I don’t listen to much music — I like quiet — but I need to get wild sometimes, especially after lunch when my tummy is full.
When I find out that it’s our 8-year-old neighbor Hansel and his father come over to borrow a ladder, I’m a bit mortified and hope Hansel isn’t scared of us now. The Bearded One assures me that our neighbor was amused and that Hansel just wanted to help carry the ladder.
Several hours later, we are up feeding the goats when the whole neighbor family returns the ladder. The 3 kids — Hansel, Gretel, and Batman — farmsat for us last month when we went to Texas, so they are familiar with everything and, after their parents release them, they come racing up the trail toward the aviary.
“There are 6 eggs in the nests,” I shout to them, “two for each of you!” They veer onto the aviary path and Hansel, who is tall for his age and plays first base on his baseball team, opens the gates. They rush to the nest boxes and shriek. Batman, age 4, manages to get the two green eggs, which he quickly deposits with his mother, before he is off to the next attraction. Root cellars!
Batman stands beside the root cellar lid. He wants desperately to see inside it. Again. It is the very essence of darkness and mystery, this 4-foot-deep hole in the hillside with a plywood lid and a rope-pull handle. Its spell draws in Hansel and Gretel as well, and the three request a viewing. The parents roll their eyes, but of course they want to see, too.
I pull back the lid and Batman clasps his hands to his chest in awe. Everyone leans in to see the earthen hole, empty as Jesus’s tomb, except for some old seed potatoes that I should compost. I bought new seed potatoes this year, and I just covered the 4-5 inch sprouts this week — to build up the soil around the plant as it grows to prevent sunlight on the growing potatoes. Which need dark. A hole is a sacred mystery, I think, truly awe-inspiring.
Just then, our three 4-year-old Pygora goats stampede out of the barn, bellies full of grain. Clops of matted, butter-soft light brown fleece hang from Sage’s neck and chest.
He has rubbed off great patches of the cashmere from his shoulders so you see the shorter, coarser dark brown guard hairs. LaLa looks just as shaggy and wild and unkempt. They deposit the fleece on the fence and trees, about 2-3 feet up. The fleece-line, we call it, from their endless habit of leaning heavily, forcefully, into a fence or tree as they pass by.
The crows love it. These goats have never been sheared and aren’t “tame”; I’ve read that taming wild goats is a dubious prospect.
The Bearded One, it turns out, though, speaks goat. He is incredibly patient and now Sage, after being here 4 months, lets him scratch his whole head and chest. LaLa and Pearl watch closely. We’re thinking that this year instead of tying them to a post and hiring a shearer, we might just comb the fleece out as it is shed. If we can. That’s actually the preferred way for cashmere since the cashmere sheds first and very little guard hair comes off in the comb. We’re in no hurry.
“Yee-haw!” I sing out. The goats kick up dust as they begin a Wild West show for our neighbors. Sage rears up and then Pearl rears up and then they come down and clack horns. LaLa jumps onto Goat Mountain, and Sage butts him off. It’s incredibly exciting.
The kids can’t just stand and watch forever. They are propelled by their own wild excitement to the grand finale of every visit — the trampoline. They jump and run widdershins (counterclockwise) and hoot and holler until their parents rein them in. Wild is good, I think. Probably it’s necessary in order to be fully human, to feel deeply.
“Christi!” six-year-old Gretel calls to me as she steps down from the trampoline, “Look! I lost my first tooth!”
Sure enough. Her cheeks glow and her bottom front tooth is missing. She is dazzled as she tells me the Tooth Fairy came, and guess what? She left glitter on Gretel’s pillow!
I am enchanted. They leave and the Bearded One and I walk back into the quiet house in a daze of…there’s no other word for it…love. The wildest thing of all.