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Miniature goats have taken up residence with us. Tawny and white, black and white, black and brown. They live on the side yard, fenced in by chicken wire. They run free inside the fence.

There are two does, one buck, and three young ones, one of whom is nursing. All, a mystery to me.

When they see us in the yard, the screaming begins.

So equal. So individual. It’s every goat for him- or herself. Each one wants to be high on the mountain of hay, at the top on stumps, high on carts—placed there for that purpose, of course.

The trees within reach have been trimmed by them. And, with long handled clippers, we trim other trees in the neighborhood to give them a feast of leaves. (Willow tree and magnolia, not included.)

Goats lean against the fence and scratch. The playful buckling goats butt each other. When eating grain or leaves, snouts are down toward the meal, tails up and happy.

I can’t tell you how pleased my husband is that they are here. Instant love.

He retells stories of how he and his younger brother would milk the goats as they grew up. His memories include squirting a dog with milk and booming laughter around the goat pen.

Here we are.

It’s all new for me, but not new for my husband. The little boy inside of him is already connected to the goats.

I arrive home from the Baptist Home Reunion in Monticello, Arkansas, and there they are. We’d talked about it, of course, but it was not real to me, not yet. Just interesting words before I left, just interesting words over the phone. Seeing is what makes it real.

Did I say I still have a lot of city in me? It shows up now and then.

My husband’s behaviors say, “Welcome, guys! Thanks for coming to live with us.” Mine say, “Okay, how do we do this thing? Are you and I going to get along? I see your horns.”

I am highly aware that we live on the edge of the forest with bear, deer, skunks and other critters. We lend each other our presence.

Now, goats. God has brought us goats. All I know about goats is that you must feed them. Browsing for leaves and vines is not enough.

I suddenly want an instruction book. My husband’s sense of it is far keener than mine. He seems to have a secret knowledge, almost entirely hidden from me.

I expect nothing, always.

It’s like watching a circus—acrobatics, tightrope walkers, jugglers, clowns, a ring master.

My decision right now is to wait and take my good time, learn to read the sounds and the movements.

It’s not much of a plan, but I figure my ears and eyes will teach me.

If I can just wait this thing out, it will probably even out.

If not, perhaps I, too, will fall in love with goats.

God bless,

Pat Durmon


P.S. If you have suggestions or comments on miniature goats, I’m so ready to hear them. (Oh, just to clarify: We are not milking these goats.) Comment section is below the photo. Thank you.

Zach Jimerson took this photo on June 20th at his grandparents’ home near Norfork, Arkansas.

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