Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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©Katherine Dunn.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Aldo the Elder

He arrived with the name Kahili, a Hawaiian word that stands for a royal object-a stick with a fluffy thing on the end- that is used in ceremonies. I loved the meaning, but sometimes names don't fit a new life. I always feel like an animal soaks up the name we humans put on them, but inside, they probably have a term for themselves we will never know. Very T.S. Elliott, but I think he was spot on. A name is just one more contraption we humans seem to need for identification, where an animal goes by so much more innate senses like smell.

But, I finally found a name that I feel fits his life here–Aldo–which means "elder". He is also known by Mr. Magnificent, The Great White, Yama. I am really loving Aldo, although at the moment he and the puppy must be separated for safety which makes life a bit more complicated. Aldo and Scooby live in the orchard and seem content as clams.

When he arrived, I wanted to just examine every inch of him. I'd never seen llama feet. Oddest things, but then I guess they are odd only because I've never seen them. He walks very precisely and sort of in a feminine way. His lips are wonderful as is the one black eyebrow. Aldo gets that I am now the Feeder. He comes to me for breakfast and dinner and eats out of my hand if I have the time. When he eats, I pet him, and touch his eyes and face to tender him a bit. He has calmed since his arrival, when he spent the first day humming out of anxiety. I know llamas are not really prone to want lots of touching, but I need to be able to handle him. Within his short month here, we have made progress. And recently, I kissed him gently on his eyebrow, and whispered something in his ear. It is between him and me, but was a covenant of sorts.

I never would have sought out an elderly llama, but since I wanted to adopt Scooby Keith, I got the bonus of an elder llama. Sometimes things just work out for the better without even trying.