I have two folders of goat registration papers. One is thin and slowly growing thinner. But goats grow old.
The thicker folder is filled with papers of goats who have died. These papers go back over the forty-six years I have had Nubian dairy goats. I rarely look through these papers.
On occasion I need to look up a pedigree and sort through these old papers. I read each name and try to pull up memories of each goat. It’s easier to pull those memories up if I look through my pictures of goats from the past.
Even seeing the pictures often doesn’t trigger memories unless there was something special about that goat. High Reaches Jennifer was my very first goat. I wrote about her in “For Love of Goats”. High Reaches Miss Patience was standing far up the ravine, much farther than I thought the goats ever went, by a fallen tree with her triplets.
High Reaches Isabelle went down with a bottle jaw from anemia from worms and had to be drenched with our special fortified liquids. She was five months pregnant and I pulled quadruplets. All of them survived. She lived for years after that.
More often I am so involved with the day to day of goat care, I don’t stop to remember. But goats grow old and make me remember.
High Reaches Daisy’s Trina has been in my herd for many years. She has grown from a rambunctious kid to a mature doe and is now thin. She was never a herd boss, but is now the bottom goat lagging behind the herd as they go out and come in.
Goats grow old and so do people. How many times do we think about the people of the past? They too disappear into memory snapshots.
Those goats now in my herd are the last. As these goats grow old and die, my thin folder will empty. And I will be left with my thick folder and memories.
Hazel Whitmore’s class does a class project writing about the soldiers who died in various wars, many of them almost forgotten, in “Old Promises”.