Wednesday, August 19, 2009
My Heart Swells
It's been almost 20 months since I first took you into my arms. You were just hours old and all legs. I remember holding you close and smelling the top of your head. You smelled like the earth and were so very tiny. I barely listened to the excuses of why you were taken from your mother.
I remember that first night--I was so worried for you. I set you up in a small laundry basket with the best soft blanket daddy had. He wanted you to sleep outside but you didn't. You slept right beside the bed, my hand on your head so you wouldn't feel alone. You went to sleep after I fed you and woke up around 2am for another feed. Remembering your little whimpers and mews makes me smile. You took to the bottle and your little tongue curled around the nipple--I was in love.
I suppose I could write a note about every day since then, but I will only say this--you have changed my life. I have spent more time in a pasture than I ever expected. Countless days I've watched clouds slowly pass overhead, you and I side by side; in the sun during winter, the shade in summer. Oak trees whispered their memories of past seasons and the resident vermillion flycatcher performed his aerial gymnastics to catch seemingly invisible winged insects, then land within the oak's protective branches. Killdeer have passed us by as they foraged in the pasture grasses for ground dwelling insects.
You and I have laid side by side against a huge round bale of hay on a winter's day and napped, sun barely warming our bodies as the winds whipped across the pastures. Head to head and often nose to nose, I breathed in your earthly smell and I suppose you memorized mine. Your coat grew thick and I would leave with brown fingers and palms from scratching your skin. My hands were soft for days after with all of the lanolin they absorbed.
I have taken probably thousands of pictures of you, some I have shared but many I keep for myself to slowly go through and remember. I have listened to your language change from a sweet baby's call for food to an adult sheep's deep call of recognition. I have one of your baby teeth and some of your wool from your first shearing. I hold these as sacred as much as I do my kid's treasures.
I love you, Rocky. I really do.