A stressful move away from the only state I’d ever called home. A long trip that included winter storms, hotel-room goats, and frantic searches for the nearest available Starbucks (I’m really not used to them being so few and far-between). A new state that is sometimes different enough to feel like a foreign country. What I need is time to acclimate, a handful of Valium, and to get my stuff unpacked and put away. What I don’t need is another goat.
So…maybe it wasn’t a good idea to visit the Boer goat farm (Boers are meat goats) and play with the bottle-fed kid that was going to market in a few weeks. Maybe it wasn’t a good idea to go back to the farm a few days later with a dog crate in my car and cash in my pocket. Then again, maybe it was a great idea. It’s kismet.
Or, rather, she’s Kismet. Soft and fluffy in her baby fur, she’s adorable and sweet. She needs time to adjust to her new home, just like I do. Instead of her huge herd, she has two big sisters who want to chase her. Every aspect of her life has changed (for the better, I hope!) from what she eats to where she sleeps and how she spends her days.
When I think of all the different threads of my life that were tugged and snipped and knotted in order to get me here, to this place I now call home, my mind reels. Fate? Random chance? Who knows. We can imagine what might be ahead of us on this journey through life, but we can never be sure until we take those steps forward. I rounded a corner and found Kismet. How lucky am I?
Parts two and three of my trip were better weather-wise. Instead of cutting through the middle of the country (what I know refer to as the “Blizzard Belt”), I took I-10 to I-5, and vice versa. I drove the rental van back to Washington, and then my dad and I drove my car to Texas. Aside from Oregon (top-to-bottom ice and snow) and the worst hail storm I’ve ever experienced—with lightning strikes close on either side of the highway as I drove—in New Mexico, the trips were long but uneventful. With the goats safely ensconced in their Texas pasture, the hotel stays were amazingly simple. I didn’t need to leave a tip and an apology note for housekeeping after staying in a room with my dad.
I’ve done the mental exercise before, “what would you save if your house caught on fire?” After rescuing animals and people, what are the main objects you’d grab? What’s irreplaceable? I had limited space in my car, after our suitcases and road snacks and coats and maps were packed, so I had to choose what to send—and possibly never see again—and what to take with me. Things I loved or valued enough not only to bring in the car, but to lug up to the hotel room and back every night. I thought I’d share the items that made the cut.
1. Memorabilia. Although the items chosen will vary by person, this category is probably universal. I had mementos from beloved pets I’ve lost, two boxes of photos, a handwritten book of family recipes, and an Elmo. A piece of jewelry—a gold horse pin my sister bought for me when we were kids—was tucked into the boxes as well. Nothing of great value to the world, but priceless to me.
2. Valuables. Most of the (relatively) expensive items I own are horse-related—saddles, bridles, show clothes, etc.—and were too bulky to take with me. They’re in storage or with my parents. But I carried my three delicate instruments, not trusting them in the jostling moving box. An acoustic violin and viola, and my lovely burgundy electric violin. I also—to my dad’s chagrin since he had to help me carry everything—brought my pricey and beloved compact (but very heavy) OED.
3. The final category was comprised of important objects. Maybe not irreplaceable, maybe not overly valuable, but things that mattered. Like the notes and collectibles from my current work-in-progress. I could have recreated most of them from files saved on-line, but there’s something about those pages written in my sloppy scrawl… And the going-away present from my nieces (a limited edition squishable stuffed-animal goat). And my book about horses around the world, written over a century ago (one of my most cherished gifts). And my ratty old cowboy boots.
It was a car packed with love. My dad, a phone to stay in touch with the rest of my loved ones, the few prized objects I’ve collected over the years. Everything carefully stowed, and just as carefully put on a luggage cart and brought to each hotel room. It was a lesson in value. What I value, not what the world values.