As the snow on the Simcoe Mountains begins to melt, the long-awaited spring—or has it jumped straight to summer?—is ushered in by spontaneous outbursts of yellow daffodils and bright, red tulips. The hornets and the bumblebees make shy, stumbling entreaties onto our garden; they’ll soon be out in full force, dominating the air with their buzzing. One of our goats gave birth to two healthy, happy kids who are already running around, launching themselves off any surface they can find, each one trying to outdo the other.
Spring is a time of renewal, a time of new beginnings. My younger sister called me just the other day to tell me she’d eloped with her boyfriend. It was a surprise to us all, as elopements often are. We all knew she liked the guy; she’d told us so. His family is from Wyoming, he’s in the military, for recreation he enjoys hunting. What’s not to like?
We were happy for her. Things were not always easy for my younger sister. Her teenage years were diffi-cult, as they are for so many of us. She fought with her father, my stepfather, often. She’s 10 years younger than I, so I was old enough to bear a somewhat concerned witness to these times. I was happy to see her taking this new step forward, happy to see her happy, smiling in photos with her husband, a young couple with the future ahead of them and endless possibilities.
Speaking of difficulties, when our goat gave birth, we were all happy, all of us except for one. Our moth-er goat had given birth to a kid the year before, and this little yearling goat was not happy to see that she was being squeezed out by the two new babies. She was aggressive toward them, and the mother in turn became aggressive toward her. Such is the way with goats.
We were able to manage the situation and slowly reintroduce the yearling kid back into the herd, where she is now running around, back with the pack, happily munching grass. It made me think about how, sometimes in life, it seems that getting into arguments and fights is a way for us to develop, to change, to shed our proverbial skin, move forward, and move on. My younger sister had to argue with her father to let him know that she was no longer a little girl and that she was ready to become a woman. Maybe she had to fight with him so that she could understand that herself and be able to accept it.
And my mother goat had to fight with her kid to let her know that she was no longer the baby of the family, that it was time for her to become a mature member of the herd and make room for the next generation of kids.
Winter is the time when we must suffer through a period of dormancy so that last year can die off, and we can make way for the renewal of the new year, the new growth, and the new world being born before our eyes. It can be difficult, but in the end, nature has a way of sorting things out, and most of the time we find ourselves better off than we were before.