Monday, October 22, 2007

Along the Road to Lillooet

We came around a bend in the narrow road a few miles from Lillooet to find a small group of Dahl sheep standing at roadside. They were quite unconcerned with us and hardly even broke their chewing pattern.

Ian took this picture from the driver's side and they were on my side. I could almost have touched them. The baby was really cute and reminded me of the baby Saanen goat we had years ago, when we lived out in the middle of nowhere in the Columbia Valley. She was wild as a March Hare and quite untouchable when we first got her, as a "bonus", when we bought her mother.

The mother's name was Villanelle - which is a kind of complicated poem. A villanelle has 19 lines. The first and third lines of the first stanza are rhyming refrains that alternate as the third line in each successive verse and form a couplet at the end. I can testify from taking poetry classes that a decent villanelle is damn difficult to write, although many poets have taken a stab at it. The most famous villanelle is Dylan Thomas' Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night.

DO NOT GO GENTLE INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

We called the baby Geraldine, after Skip Wilson's character whose catch phrase was, "Don' chu TOUCH me! Don' chu DARE touch me!" Both goats were both sweet as could be but they climbed like monkeys. One day we found them on the roof! They also immediately ate the 100 foot row of raspberry bushes I planted.

Vill was huge, as big as a Shetland pony. One day we had some pesky folks visit. I won't say who or what they were but they often called to force religious tracts on us and try to convince us to attend their church. In those days we were too polite to tell them to push off.

This particular day they pulled up in a brand new Honda Civic, first year Civics were built. They came in and expounded on topics of no great interest to us, but a source of some excitement to them. After a very long while they got up to leave. We stepped outside to find both goats standing on the new car, Vill, the 250 pound sumo goat, on the top, and Geraldine - who was by this point a substantial goat herself - on the hood. Each goat was standing in a sheet-metal sinkhole. They looked up and said, "Maaaaaahhhh".

The gentleman said some most uncharitable words about our goaties and rushed at the car screaming blue murder. The goats bounded away like their cousins the antelope and resumed their observations from a safe distance. If it had been up to the caller he'd have had roast goat for dinner. Happily enough having the goats stand on his new car put an end to the persecution by pamphlet we'd been enduring. Saved, or at least rescued, by goats!

And all this memory sparked by one little picture.... By the time you are 1000 years old (much like I feel some mornings) there are a great many memories flying around in your head, as useless as single socks or flat bike tires. Oh well, if I download them onto a page then there's more room for important stuff that needs remembering, like where the heck did we put the paper towels?

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