Just when a calm sets in, a pastoral scene of sheep serenity and blue skies, the heart receives another blow. Our sweet guardian llama, Lily, died Wednesday evening. Even knowing that she was declining, even expecting her not to last much longer with her tortured, arthritic falter, the grief is vivid.
From her arrival at the farm, she knew her job and was a diligent guardian. She would sound that strange llama alarm whenever anything was amiss. Even when our neighbors were babysitting benign, miniature donkeys, she sounded that alarm. Anything to keep her sheep charges safe.
The sheep were comfortable with her right away, too. I wish I had a picture of her reaching her long neck down and sniffing each new lamb, greeting and accepting them as part of her flock. The lambs would even climb on her back to nap.
Lily would hang out in the sheep shed when it was too windy or rainy or snowy, often having "sleepovers" with the sheep.
Yet she certainly didn't mind the snow.
She was never friendly with us, never seemed to get over an early fear of humans, from long before we had her. Yet we couldn't help having a deep affection for her. She was steadfast, ornery, magnificent and sweet. We will miss you, Lily.
Some sheep chores are hard on the body, and some are hard on the heart. Not wanting to have surprise lambs in January, we moved our young ram lamb, Jolt, with a wether buddy, Rowdy, out of the ewes' area into the lambing shed area. Hopefully, Jolt will be finding a good home, with someone who wants a gorgeous, lilac ram. For now, he is old enough to need to be away from temptation. Both lambs were easy to move, spent their first half hour in the new area thinking they were at summer camp with a private buffet, and then realized what had happened.
It broke my heart to see their forlorn faces and not be able to explain to them why we were doing this.
The moms, too, took awhile to notice their babies were gone, but then began to express concern. Ayita, Jolt's mom, looked to me for an explanation.
Ariel began to hear Rowdy's desperate cries,
went into the shed to call him home,
and expressed her grief to the others for the rest of the afternoon.
They will all be fine in a day or two, but my motherly empathy kicks in during this time each year.
Woke up a tad after four this morning to a significant jolt of the bed. Three more rumbles and I was checking on the computer: 3.4, 3.6, 2.6, 2.2 all within 6 miles of here.
This was after a surprisingly deep sleep of vivid dreaming, after an evening of thunder and lightning strikes that set off 3 significant fires across the valley from us, to the northeast and southeast. This one, above Arlington Road, was the second one I spotted.
And this one appears to be above North Valley Road, near Stampfli Lane or Diamond Mountain Road.
My compulsive fascination throughout the evening with this alarming power of nature was further astonished by the contrast of an elegant rainbow (look right).
Fire season is a perpetual threat, lurking in my subconscious and reminding me to be vigilant, as well as grateful for the natural beauty I am privileged to share here. Fire and earthquakes--what spiritual lessons of these elements are presenting themselves?