I guess I felt the need to re-read some of the stories I've collected - stories that I measure my life up against, the ideas and inventions of others that accord with my own conscience, and guide me through the labyryith of the present.
So - here in the present, I'm at one of those eternal t-junctions, about to make a life-changing choice on the question of whether or not to acquire a pair of donkeys.
Yes, donkeys. And the jenny is pregnant. Do I take on the responsibility of three demanding, gregarious and utterly mesmerisingly beautiful creatures, or continue on with life as I know it.
We've been imagining these donkey's for a while, ever since Geoffrey wrote this lyric;
Got bag of sticks, I got donkey,
got red cloth hat on a dry hillside.
It's some old fashioned painting.
Every time I hear it, the old fashioned painting pictures itself in my head, complete with Geoffrey, props and donkey. Then, just recently a new image has emerged:
Come all ye pretty poesy maids
Enjoy the bed that Spring displays
You know what the wise man said?
So lift your dress for donkey rites
we might as well stay up all night.
And another, about the retreat of an army through the eyes of the camp follower who is;
riding out of victory
on the back of that donkey.
It's been a recurrent theme, and now I'm infected with it too since he started singing it into creation. Then the phone rings. The woman over the western ridge has a pair, and she'd heard on the grapevine that we were thinking of getting a donkey to replace the tractor for steep hill work, like snigging log thinnings and carrying tools and wire to repair broken fences. I think the idea of a companion out in the field appealed to Geoffrey too.
Now the reality of concept donkey is at my threshold.
In order to make this decision, I'll do what I always do when confronted with a choice between desire and commonsense. Back to the web to find out everything I can about their care and training, and absolutely anything else related to the topic, and again I'll hit the books because I want most of all to know about how people 'feel' about these extraordinary creatures; why they have been given such a central role in our imaginings. Christ rode a donkey as did his mother. There are films with talking donkeys, Pinocchio turns into one, Sancho Panza rides Dapple.
So, if you've come across any literary Donkeys in your reading, please let me know.
I have begun research into the pros and cons of keeping donkeys, this has become a major consideration in our deliberations.