Vanessa hopped off the back of the quad where she was perched behind her dad. She stood shyly looking out at the horses in the pasture while Al and Brett talked about trees. I had been napping on the porch (the dr. says it will be a month before my energy returns) and slowly pulled myself out of my chair and walked down to the others.
I asked her name and I thought she said Finessa.
Wow! That's the name of one of our donkeys. Do you want to go meet her?
As we walked over to the donkey pen, she asked me my name. I paused a minute, thinking. I know some eleven year olds are taught to always address adults as Mrs. or Mr. and she is a very polite girl. But, her mom wasn't there to interject and I could also tell she is a kindred spirit so I said, Annette. She smiled at me, a quiet smile that softly lit her eyes.
The donkeys were happy to get attention.
As we walked past the barn to visit the goats she asked me if I knew that there are baby birds born in the barn in the spring. I said that I had seen the nests. She said that this year she rescued two that fell from their nests.
We sat for awhile with the goats. She wanted to know their names, of course. Nobody except me can tell Whiskey and Cowboy apart. Vanessa had it down immediately; I told her once, with no explanation of how I tell them apart, and she never confused the two. Whiskey stood next to her, leaning into the back scratch she was giving him. She marveled at how "social" our animals are; quiet, calm and very friendly. Vanessa fit right in with their energy.
Flash came over to investigate.
He has TWO blue eyes!
Yes, I said, its not common to have two or to have them in the bay part of the face. Usually, there is one blue eye and the face is white over the eye. We agreed that blue eyes on a bay background are stunning.
Oh, she said, what happened to his neck? She had noticed the old scar, a dent, on the underside of Flash's neck. We don't know for sure what caused it, but we suspect it came from a rope.
Mufasa was standing between Flash and Winston, watching us. I told her that Mufasa is a bit head shy and we think someone must have hit him. She walked over to him and softly introduced herself. She whispered, He wants me to pet him but he's afraid. I caught my breath. Exactly. That is Mufasa exactly.
I told Vanessa that she can come visit the animals anytime she wants. I hope she does.