I walked almost two hours in midday heat to a goat farm (I know, I know, but I’m unemployed, ok?). The owner is also a priest. I’m in rural Colombia, Zona de Cafetal. The courtyard is filled with greens and blues, ivy and potted plants in full bloom. There are at least 7 dogs, a parrot, multiple chickens and hummingbirds, goats of course, and even a peacock. There’s two songs playing simultaneously – one slow, traditional flute, the other reggaeton “dance for me, dance for me, dance for me.” Battle of the generations. There are chickens pecking at pots in the outdoor kitchen, manos de bananos hanging by a string, murals of Jesus, locally sourced coffee beans for sale. Cowhide purses, artesanal pots, five identical white sombreros hung in a line. One of the chickens just shit on the tile of the outdoor kitchen. I’m not sure what happened to it, but all its feathers are stuck out like an electrocuted cartoon.
They serve me a salad of aguacate, tomates, cebollas, parsley, aceite, celery for crunch. Slices of mango, sopa de mariscos con crema, limonada, arroz con pollo, frijoles, maduros, y plátanos con una salsa de queso. Que rico!
I ask about the electrocuted chicken and turns out it’s “de Chino”. I ask if los huevos son diferentes, pero no, son normal. Just looks different on the outside. Go figure. One of the dogs puts its front legs on the bench beside me and rests its head on the table, avoiding eye contact, coy but hopeful. I don’t feed him, but don’t shoo him away either, though I’m not keen on perros. I ask about los productos, and there’s aceite de marijuana, crema de something I don’t understand para piel, y por supuesto, café. I’m so full, but have heard how good los postres are here and can’t say no. It’s fresh goat cheese with fresh guava salsa on top. Divina.
The pastor has grandsons here to help him – they’re showing him videos on his phone and laughing heartily together. Wholesome. I hope my living parent lives long enough to laugh with his grandkids. I pray for the timing of my life, sin attachment. I learn to love that I’m on this cliff of my life, learning to breathe, holding nothing tight, not even my breath. The dogs here look happy and well cared for, and so am I. It is such a gift, a necessary gift, to care for yourself. I marvel at the birth of new lines sprouting from my eyelids, seeds of new wisdom. I trace the lines of my hips, wondering when they too will sprout new seeds. I pray for all my beloved seeds back home, lament over how much I am missing while I am here among the goats. There was no menu here, they just kept bringing and bringing and bringing, like life. A mug crashes on the floor behind me, a constellation of ceramics. My phone screen broke yesterday too, for the first time in my life. This is how it goes, broken things are better than broken bones and souls I suppose, but what is it to break? We will all break over and over and over. We will sprout if we water our seeds. We will remember the shape of our souls if we bother to listen, learn to value this over the shape of our bodies. We can keep cupping our dreams in our palms, or search for the moment of release. Tension and release. Pause and play. Recuperate and fly. The blessing is, we decide the speed, the size, the sacrifice. It’s all right here. It’s all right.