Take me to an animal sanctuary and I am a pig in mud. Ooohhh! I hope there are actual pigs in actual mud! My husband surprises me with a trip to Animal Acres. I’m barely able to contain myself. I’m all smiles. I’m a kid in a candy store. I’m a visitor in heaven.
There are chickens and turkeys, and they have names and demeanors. I meet the cows and I want to bow because they’re statues of magic. My breathing slows around the baby calfs. And yes, the pigs are dirty! And yes, they are funny too! And I feel it - something cosmic, something connected, something maybe even holy.
Eric is trying. He’s trying to feel the way that I do. He’s trying to adopt my outlook, copy my opinions, because he knows it would make me happy. But all I need is his trying. I almost explain this to him, the lastima moo'ing and oinking inside me, but I’m too distracted by Jane, the goat. She nudges me and bats her long lashes, and I’m lost in our blooming friendship. Just two beings being. No words.
Next thing I know, I hear him off to my left. The 9 year-old boy talking to the donkey. He says, “Billy, you’re my best friend,” and puts his small hands around the donkey’s neck. They stand this way for a while, holding each other. His mother turns to Eric and smiles sheepishly. “It’s true,” she confesses. “We come every weekend so he can see his friend."
And Eric melts. There’s nothing else I need to say. There’s nothing else I could do. He gets it now. He feels it now. And I’m just glad to be here. So I let myself go. I make out with a pig and we roll in the mud together.