Mercurial

Not the planet … the adjective. Our fall is serving up a little bit of everything. Last time I dropped a post we were wading through a fresh snowfall. Since then we’ve had torrential rain – nice mild sunny days – and a windy night that shook the rafters.

Today was a calm break in that weather roller coaster. I was watching the chickens pick out sunny spots to lounge in – and wondered … Do they KNOW it is fall? That it will be winter again soon?

They might not give it a thought … is their brain complicated enough to go there? Their brains are smart enough to manage all kinds of memory tasks. And they certainly are able to distinguish people one from the other – flerd mates – their spot in the pecking order – where the best treats are… They can figure out that where the ducks live there might be food, water and good nesting spots. And I am pretty sure they do all that without words.

What about the donkeys … do they note the change in the seasons? And think ahead to what comes next? The squirrels and the chipmunks are frantically gathering every seed and nut they can find to bury them for later. Can they imagine the winter to come? How the heck does all this get sorted out in their minds? Without words?

My brain is not so good at sitting still without words. I do try – often – to clear my head and go underneath my thinking to just be. I once read that it might be useful to think of it like going underwater. You know – looking up to see the sun and sky on the other side of the surface. I wonder if the flerd lives with underwater silence in their heads?

It is tempting to think they simply live in the zen of the moment. When it is sunny – find a way to soak it up. When it is rainy find cover. When there is food – eat it – or store it. If something looks like you – it likely eats what you eat – follow it.

Then I do something like ask Jill (donkey) if she likes carrots. There was no mistaking her reaction – she knows exactly what that word represents. She was delighted when I showed up today (finally) with a handful of chopped pieces as an offering.

Any critter that has seen snow before recognizes it when it returns. Those that are youngest and are heading into their first winter are wide-eyed when having to decide whether to walk on it – eat it – scratch it … Doesn’t matter if they are goats – donkeys – or birds.

I swear that when I sit with any of them and watch them as they are relaxed – taking in the day and being watchful of what surrounds them – they are thinking. I can catch someone’s eye and we can share a glance. I can raise my eyebrows when I catch Dottie’s eye and she will blat in response.

And I will see – as they watch me – and wonder what is she thinking?