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

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Tuesday, June 03, 2014

How a crippled goat puts perspective on my midlife waistline

Stevie, on the right, rests on his knees due to his permanant handicapped condition.

As I mentioned last week, Stevie had a few falls, leaving him cast on his left side-a dangerous predicament for a ruminant, often a deadly one. I immediately suspected Marcella, but after observing for a day or two, I realized Stevie's left side is simply getting weaker, so if he does fall, he isn't able to use that left front leg to get up. One of his falls was in the barnyard, and he might have been banging his head on the ground trying to get up, and we suspect this led to the hematoma.

The vet just left. I didn't want to lance it on my own and wanted to make sure there was no infection. I had thought that it might be infected, which was causing inner balance issues. But there was no infection, but we treated for it anyway to make sure.

My vet also agrees that Stevie is not 'ready' and is still a strong goat. What a fantastic goat! Here he is checking on Little Moose.

Some people ask me how it is I can do what I do-helping the more disabled animals, and elders that often come in compromised, and die, even with intervention. I don't consider what I do heroic. It just seems to be something I want to do, or I wouldn't continue. Every time an elderly goat would die, my mother would say,

"Now that is enough of these old goats." She simply felt it was too hard emotionally. Each time one dies, I do suffer, some more than others. It is just one more loss in a life. Maybe somewhere in me each death still helps me grasp life, I don't know.

I think there will come a turning point for me in what I choose to do here. But for now, I continue to just try to help the ones that are still able enough to have good days. It feels good to help the elders. The older I get, the more my body changes, my perspectives on my own life changes-what is most important now wasn't really the case in my 30's or even my early 50's. Somehow, working with the elders and disadvantaged Misfits makes my own aging body more understandable, it helps me see that even if you eat well and are active, eventually, your bones get then, your muscle tone loosens, your chin swags-but you know, it really doesn't matter as long as I can still do something in life that makes me feel passionate.

I have been struggling of late-trying to lose 10#, trying to come to peace with my sags and 56 year old body. It is still a good body, a vessel that takes me around, lets me see beautiful sights, ride my horse. My body requires nourishment, and I enjoy the earth's bounties. I have come to a time in my life where the passion to lose 10 pounds feels less important than soaking up a good day of work, and then tasting something wonderful to delight my senses. I am not sick, do not have cancer or a multitude of things that some have to suffer with. It feels embarrassing that I still even have to have an internal conversation that it's ok I'm carrying more weight than I did as a young woman.

I'm sure I'm not alone. If someone is really overweight and they read this, they will roll their eyes, as they look at my weight and body as not that bad. But we all grow up with invisible role models-carved from years of magazines, friends, media, family, genes and the inability to really see the beauty in our own flesh.

So when I get down about a bunch of pounds, and thicker middle I can't seem to rid myself of-or it just keeps going on like rolling the boulder up the hill only to watch it roll down, and then I have to start all over again-when I feel somewhat depressed by that, I make myself look around and realize I never once question an elder's beauty due to their elder state. I never look at anyone I love and question their waistline. My muses never ask me how much I weigh. It would physically feel better I think to have one less inch off my middle-but the consequences of getting there right now seem almost insurmountable. Hormones or lack there off–the 5# I could shed in a month and keep off in my 40's, is now countered by eating an olive, God forbid, and blowing up like a tick for a few days.

When I'm dying, no matter when that is, I'm not sure it will matter if my waistline is what it is today. And I certainly don't want to be lying there craving olives. So my new counteract to feeling badly about loss of control of weight, is to smile, smile even when I'm standing around alone. Smiling feels radiant, doesn't it?


quiltcontemplation blogspot said...

love this post. and i love olives too. why are we so hard on oursleves and more importantly how can we let go of those old ( and expired) expectations?

Anonymous said...

I think what you do for the elders is wonderful. Just because their time here is short does not mean their lives are any less valuable. You are helping them to "live" while they are still alive, rather than just exist, and giving them the best possible quality of life until the end.

pencilfox said...

love this post.
and i think you are one of the most beautiful women i know!

Anonymous said...

As someone who lost #10 which was really hard at 58, I have come to accept that this plump body(another 25# could go and probably won't). As I spread 20 bales of mulch hay over bare ground at the farmhouse yesterday I realized this older body works pretty darn good as long as I keep working it....animals can be such a blessing for us humans, their acceptance of who they are teaches me alot, that's for sure. Every time I watch Ryder move like the wind on his three legs I realize the limitations are all in my head. xox

Katherine Dunn/Apifera Farm said...

Martha- for me anyway, it seems a daily seeking of self acceptance-sometimes daunting. Thanks Anony-that is the goal here. Fox-well thank you!Corrine-so many can't move, are in pain, etc, so I know this is true-being able to keep moving and active is key, and a blessing.

Susan said...

I love this post also. I think what you do is amazing !! I love animals but I don't know if I could do what you do so I admire you greatly.

I've been thinking a lot about "elders" as my own mother has recently been hospitalized and I planned a visit - it's a long story but we had been estranged for years, for good reasons, so I hadn't seen her in a very long time. I'd been warned by family that she was very thin & frail. She was thin & frail but also sparkly & sharp & funny. It makes me cry to think of it - elder woman, elder goat, elder donkey, cat ... they all deserve peace & comfort & love at the end. That's what you're providing, what we all want and deserve - so hooray for you !

You and I are nearly the same age & I too struggle with the extra 10-20# my husband adores me the way I am, I'm healthy, active and happy, I feel good about myself and I've been thinking also lately that maybe it's finally time to let that weight "thing" go ... & have as many olives as I'd like ;-) xo Susan

sorry for such a long comment

Katherine Dunn/Apifera Farm said...

It's a great comment, Susan- and made me a bit teary-since i miss my mom so after only a year since she died. I think seeing your mom must have been bittersweet, but I know you will hold onto that moment[s] shared that day. I once was sitting with an elder guest who came to pie day, and I said my dad used to always say, "Getting old ain't for sissies." And she said "Life isn't for sissies!" So true! We all carry around our little wounds. Your husband is a gem-we are both lucky to have mates that married us for ourselves, not the body. I know what you mean about the letting go. And health is more important, activity, health, enjoyment. Let's eat olives tonight!

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Thank you for reading! The farm and my art/writing keep me hopping, so might not respond immediately. Thank you for understanding. ~Katherine & Apifera ~