How did you spend your Memorial Day? Pete and I drove up to Hacklebarney State Park, hiked through the woods and along the creek banks in the mossy cool of a sun-dappled morning. The air smelled fresh and green. We met people walking the other way on the trails and everyone smiled. Leashed dogs capered in the creek to the frustration of fly fishermen. One of the most striking elements of hike was that people of all kinds greeted us with the same unguarded eyes. We took pictures like this one, rested on benches, and hiked off trail up rocky embankments. It was a test for my hip that my hip passed, then we ate sandwiches. On our way home, we stopped at the rose garden for a sunny walk, then we ate sandwiches. At home, we sang along with Pete Seeger while we prepared dinner, which turned out not to have a speck of meat in it. Essentially, we communed peacefully with nature, then ate it. Hooray!
Between the hike and the rose garden we stopped at a farm store. Pete got out and walked toward the building. I ran for the goat pen and stopped short. About twenty feet in front of me stood two benches. One one, a teenage boy slumped facing away from me, completely oblivious. Between the two benches stood a fully grown male goat, staring at me. I turned around and said, “Pete, get the camera.”
The goat trotted off to this tree, climbed up and started munching on the leaves about ten feet to my left. I’m just out of the frame here. I was overjoyed! A family of picnickers grabbed its little children up off the ground but nobody panicked. I looked around to see if employees had noticed the escapee but for a while no, I was standing there on the lawn between the stray goat, the picnickers and the parking lot, laughing like the goat was wearing last season’s cargo shorts. I mean, really. Finally, an employee appeared, walked past me and lunged at the goat, who appeared to say, Whoa, dude. Like, dude! and bolted for the chicken enclosure. I said, “That goat appears to know you.” He nodded and took off after the goat. For the next ten minutes, the goat bolted here and there and the employee gave chase. I almost swallowed my tongue! Inside the pen, baby goats capered with other kids. Their frenetic little tails gestured madly. I turned back toward the parking lot and realized the teenage boy on the bench was playing a video game and never noticed the goat standing next to him. I was at gamboling distance, but the boy was two feet away and saw nothing. Then we bought spinach.