Goat herders share their pursuits, struggles and inspiration.
“A symbiotic relationship with ruminants opens an unguarded back gate to Eden… For the farmer, food is necessarily the product of labor. For the herder food is a gift, eternally regenerating itself.”
Jim Corbett, Goatwalking
HER NAME WAS EUNICE
This first entry for GOAT WALKER, is both a tribute and my gratitude to the goat walker that inspired this series. There are days when one ponders where one’s affection for goats is derived.
I discovered an answer to that question, in a rather unexpected manner. My mother had finally arrived at our farm. A visit that was years in the waiting. Upon arriving, I noticed she struggled with strolls of the property, but she was immediately taken in with my herd of goats. Regularly, volunteering to help walk them, and feed them. Enthusiastically taking it upon herself to go into the woods for their daily field time. I watched in amazement, as she hobbled her way through the trails, and as to her level of comfort and confidence in handling our fledgling herd.
Over coffee one morning she surprised me. I knew Mom was born and raised on a 110 acre farm on the island of Puerto Rico. But new to me were the memories she shared that day of her childhood romps, and barefoot escapades with her sister Dinah and their favorite does tagging along. These were fond recollections, that seemed to pour out of her like hidden gems kept in a tattered bag. I was rather bewildered, yet comforted all the same. At that moment, having realized I’d inherited Mom’s affinity for goats. I responded by sharing with her the consolation that life is much like a circle. Where one begins, many times, is where one in the end returns. She was pensive, and quiet.
My words were prophetic in a sense. As Mother’s stay with me was short-lived. She passed away three days later. For many months I felt cheated as my nurtured dreams of the two of us goat walking seemed to have vaporized before I had time to breathe it in. Yet Mother knew her time left was coming to an end. Still, on her way home she imparted a stoic vision. This beautiful soul is the one who gifted me the panache and enthusiasm she had cherished as a child. That of nurturing goats.
GET YOUR GOAT ON! LET’S GO FOR A WALK
NATHAN PUTNAM – GOAT PACKER
Check back soon, to read about Nathan’s goat packing pursuits in an upcoming post.