Sitting the Sanctuary was no exception - amid the feeding, the pooper-scooping, the hay-wrestling, the animal shenanigans, and the cursed falling gate, was a kaleidoscope of Magic Moments. They often began at sunrise as I watched the sanctuary awaken, and ended when I said my final goodnights to the cats while the rest of the sanctuary slumbered. And they occurred all through the day.
Some were simple pleasures, like seeing specific animals who had previously been somewhat aloof or shy learn to trust me as I became became part of the fixtures (and food trucks) in their lives. Or hearing the donkeys bray noisily as soon as the food appeared, or roll around in the dust, their long legs sticking up in the air as they wiggled with delight and tossed their heads from side to side. Or watching the ducks and geese take their baths - in water, not dust - meticulously washing each feather, each body part, then splashing and rinsing before hopping out of the pool to shake themselves dry.
|Sergio: "OH WHAT A BEAUTIFUL MOOORRN-INNG!"|
|Sarah: "He could have at least cleaned the tub!"|
|"Why does the littlest one always get to bathe last?"|
Some were quiet whispers in time, like seeing Simon, the always-in-motion, always-in-your-face goat, nodding off beside the fence, head bobbing up and down, unable to keep his eyes open any longer in the warm afternoon sun.
Some made me chuckle, like the time I left the hose filling a water dish while I cleaned the next one, and glanced over to see a pig drinking from the nozzle like a little kid on a hot summer's day.
|Slurp Slurp Slurp!|
Or when Simon used the wheelbarrow to reach the elusive but tasty leaves of the fruit trees, and the look on his face when he lost his grasp on the elusive branch. And, finally, when he figured out a way to reach those branches after all!
|S t r e t c h !|
Some were more subtle moments of magic as I watched squabbles break out and get resolved, or watched ducks and donkeys and cats greet my little dog Mitzi and accept her as one of their own, or as I looked around the pens and pastures at so many animals of so many species living cooperatively, many sharing shelters and bowls and pools by choice. We humans have so much to learn from them.
It was magical - and often amusing - to watch Bob the Rooster with hens Natty and Cher, Sergio with Sarah, and Splash with 'the girls' (Splash fancies himself quite the ladies' man - er, duck's drake?). The males were ever attentive to the whereabouts of their female friends, calling to them if they wandered too far, keeping others away if they were nesting quietly. And yet there was also an independence among the females, as they ignored the call of the males and went, or stayed, wherever they chose. Each farmbird had his or her unique personality, strong personality, and a full and fascinating social life.
|Bob and Natty, Sergio and Sarah, Athena and Splash|
And some, well some moments were so magical they felt like gifts from Mother Nature, and they made me smile from deep inside my soul. Like this little interaction between Sergio the goose and one of the pigs:
|Sergio and a pig (not sure which one this is) were lying side by side for much of the afternoon, with Sarah not far off.|
|Sarah got up and said something to Sergio, upon which he got up.|
I'm betting she told him to quit being lazy and get to work on that honey-do list!
|Sergio meekly followed Sarah, but as he went past the pig.........|
|"Hey, we're going now! You coming?"|
And lastly, there was the Magic Moment with Cher and her ever-so-fancy topknot of feathers, as she tried to enjoy a cool drink of water:
|Well, here I go.......|
|I hate that!|
|That's the price you pay for vanity.|
It is all too easy, in everyday life and in animal rescue, to see the glass as half empty - there are always more horrors to hear about, more animals to be saved, more tears to shed, more 'what ifs' to worry about. But those Magic Moments, they provide the balance. There are few things more wondrous than when something beautiful catches the eye and you find yourself standing completely still, muscles relaxing, deeply breathing, and you whisper 'Wow!' - so thankful to be alive, to be witness to the amazing world of nature, of animals, of these richly diverse and incredibly intelligent beings with whom we share this earth. It is the Magic Moments that make the glass seem not just half full, but overflowing.
I'll close this series on Sitting the Sanctuary with collages of some of my favourite photos from that week - many of which reflect more magic moments: