One of the consequences of living in the country is that neighbors are spread pretty thin. Human neighbors especially. Any kind of gathering is turned into a social occasion, whether it be a funeral, elections held in the fellowship hall of the local church, or a work day at church to do some cleaning and maintenance. My mother-in-law once complained about the narrow county roads in the area, asking, “What do you do if you should meet someone while driving?” The reply was you slow down, wave, and if you are acquainted, stop and visit in the middle of the road. No opportunity to enjoy human contact is lightly passed up.
Even taking advantage of those times, humans are not to be seen often. I found when I was driving back and forth to work on a daily basis, there were other chances to make acquaintances. Taking the same path, at about the same time each day, started to reveal some patterns.
These two lived about 2 miles from our house, hanging out with a large herd of goats and the occasional cow & calf. Most afternoons, they would be grazing along the fence which faced the narrow road, and I came to miss them if they weren’t. Then my Lovely Bride discovered them on her travels to & from town, and made a point of looking for them. Once they realized she was infatuated with donkeys, and routinely carried plain granola bars in her car just in case she happened to meet a hungry donkey along the way, they started looking for her! She would slow as she approached their pasture, and then stop at the same place each day. If they weren’t already waiting, they would usually come at a trot when they heard her car. Ears would be scratched, noses rubbed, and granola bars consumed. Fingers might be nibbled if someone wasn’t careful.
Donkeys were lightly spoiled, workplace stresses forgotten, and the last bit of the homeward drive was a time to reflect on how lucky we are to live where we can enjoy God’s creation and his creatures.