She’s a spare donkey. No longer useful, laid off her last job fighting coyotes and protecting calves. She’s displaced, in rescue. Not eating but not a victim, she’s fostering me. I mean fostering with me. My farm has a spare pen for a decrepit longear. I’m nervous for her frailty, I have more issues about my age than she does hers. Nearly worn out, her eyes are fading. A gray coat has felted to steel wool, her teeth expired to nubs, and there’s a serious hitch in her step. She’s had a spare life with few luxuries, not that she minds. Prairie old. Prairie tough. I see a little roundness now. She is gaining a belly; I serve a pan of pellet mush a few times a day. We’ve got food to spare; this little life doesn’t ask much. She’s shy and she hates dogs, kicking anything within her range. She has a bray more like a roar; deep and full, as if she must be heard above the yap of coyote adversaries. Maybe they have spared her; she’s no threat now and the prairie would be less without her. When I take her to the sweet grass, she slowly rubs her nose back and forth, bruising the grass to a finer smell. Lifting her ears, she wobbles, step by step, over to look me in the eye and tell me a story. I’m working on her manners or she’s working on mine. Her fossil heart blooms with curiosity. She assumes her position at the edge of the family herd, tilting her head slightly to benefit from the venerable warmth of the morning sun.
Anna Blake, Infinity Farm.
(WordPress Photo Challenge is a weekly prompt to share a photo–I enjoy twisting these macro prompts to share our micro life here on the Colorado prairie. My photos are taken with my phone, on my farm. No psych, definitely not high tech.)