Love & Other Souls.
As a child, I always knew that no matter what body any of us are in, our souls are all the same. So, when this wonderful opportunity came up, I couldn’t wait! What opportunity you might ask. Well, as I said in the previous blogs, when I was in Portland, some days were so special, they needed their own posts. So, Welcome to the third installment of my travel blogs about my day at a rescue farm.
Initially, upon coming to Portland, I had planned to take the train up to Seattle so that I could get my grungy, rainy day, coffee filled, market shopping, Kurt Cobain loving fix; however when I made this plan, I didn’t know that my little Portland life would be so full. Not that I don’t love Seattle, but this was something that my little animal loving heart wanted to do for so long. I had just finished my first week of my animal law classes and my heart was filled with so much love with my new friends. I had had lunch earlier in the week with the lady who awarded me my scholarship and she suggested that we go out to volunteer at one of the many farm sanctuary’s in Oregon. Being a follower and huge lover of the Gentle Barn Tennessee (Google it), I brought it up to the girls and they agreed that it would be great. We tried to get the whole class involved and some of our classmates joined us.
The Saturday morning of our trip to the farm, I woke up and looked around my little room. The sun was bouncing in with the cool breeze. It was a beautiful day in the Pacific Northwest! I laid there for a while and thought to myself, how different things were from just a few days before when I arrived. I had been so miserable and so sure that it was a grave mistake coming to Portland and now I was about to go to a farm to spend the day with friends. How wonderful is that?!?
As I got moving, I watched a little Netflix, ate a few snacks, and got ready. Soon after I had gotten myself together, my sweet friend Marta* messaged me that she would be on her way soon. When I got into the car, she and her sweet husband greeted me with smiles. We drove down to the law school to pick up Randi*. Once we were all loaded into the car, we were off to the farm. The farm was about an hour away, the scenery of Oregon was beautiful; lush green and mountains! During our drive, we chatted and laughed the whole way. It was already one of those perfect days and I don’t think that it was even 9:00 a.m. yet.
When we got to the farm, I was beyond excited, it was like I was at Disneyland. I eagerly hopped out of the car and was greeted by a lovely turkey who had been saved from Thanksgiving. As we walked up to the entrance gate, there were furry chickens running by, bunnies hopping about, piggies lounging in the mud, and silly goats bleating at us. The woman who owned the sanctuary asked us who wanted to work with the pigs. I quickly raised my hand as did another girl who was in my class named Kim*. Kim* was from Canada and lived near my cousins who I visited last summer (Be sure to check out my travel journal from that trip). I was so thankful for the chance to get to know her. The lady informed us that we would be scooping piggy droppings from the pig yard but we didn’t care! We were both so happy to get to pet piggies.
As we walked into the pig yard, we spotted some little pigs sitting in a dog igloo. We went over and started kissing them and taking selfies with them. The lady told us that they had been tested on and had had a horrible life prior to being rescued. My heart broke for these precious souls. I looked into their eyes and I was filled with so much love and gratitude that I was given such a beautiful gift, the gift of being afforded the opportunity to sit with another soul and just love it. They were shy and sweet but every now and then, as we were scooping droppings, a little chub would run by and it was adorable! There also was a sweet, big white, dog there who warmed my heart! She kept coming around me and the little pigs and giving kisses.
After we had finished scooping piggy droppings and sufficiently loving on the pigs, we wondered around the farm in search of other animals to love on. We first came to the silliest goat that I have ever met. He was standing on a wooden box at the entrance gate bleating at anyone who walked by. I decided that I wanted to kiss him and take a selfie, however, he wasn’t having it and I got headbutted by a horn as I proceeded to get close to him. It was my ding-dong moment of the day. LOL. After that, I went in search for other babes. As I was walking alone, I noticed a relatively chubby and very adorable little donkey standing next to a red barn. I walked over to him and said hello. Though he couldn’t speak, he looked up into my eyes and shared heart-hellos with me as well. I bent over and kissed his face and he closed his eyes. I stood there with him for the longest time petting him. It was one of those moments in life of pure perfection. I was surrounded by the sun, the cool breeze, and kind souls. What more could a girl want?!?
After a while my girls came over we all loved on the little donkey and took pics together. We also wandered over to another larger barn and loved on goats, sheep, lambs, llamas, horses, and large pigs who were saved from a factory farm. I said it already but I will say it again, the goats were beyond silly. They refused to eat carrots that had been dropped on the ground or that had been tasted by another goat. Lol. Such whimsical little creatures they are. Since the goats had their finicky ways, we gathered the “unwanted carrots” and walked out to the field where a loan buffalo was.
Her name was Helen and she was nothing short of magical! It was exhilarating to stand next to her. She was big, beautiful, and majestic. I had never stood next to a buffalo before. I loved listening to her breathe. She took long, deep, deliberate breaths and I was in awe of her. It was something I will never forget. She was blind but very sweet. I fed her the goats unwanted carrots and pieces of fresh watermelon which she seemed to enjoy. After a while, it seemd that she was getting tired and she kind of gently “shooed us away” and we knew it was time to let her be. It is my understanding that there is a mom cow and her little boy calf at the farm. (We didn’t see them that day because they were way in the back of the property and I felt like I wanted to respect the mom and baby so I didn’t go looking for them). Well, Ms. Helen and the little boy calf are the dearest friends who sit together and kiss each other. It just goes to show that animals are so filled with love and stardust.
Anyway, It was starting to get later in the day and we needed to head back to Portland. I made one last round to bid my new animal friends goodbye. I stopped by the little donkey and kissed him and hugged his neck. I could have taken him with me. I love him so much and think of him daily. We thanked the lady for allowing us to be part of her world for a day and we headed back to Portland. On the way back we stopped at a Safeway and picked up Kombucha and other snacks for the ride back.
This day was, without a doubt, one of the happiest days of my life. A day so perfect and care free, I could not have dreamed it up even if I tried. Nothing I ever say about this day will ever do it justice. The magnitude of the perfection and magic that this day was filled with can only be felt in your heart. So, I hope that you guys can understand just a bit of how wonderful my day at the farm sanctuary was.
Stay tuned for the next installment of my travel blogs. I had another adventure of a lifetime. Just a little hint, I went from having mud under my shoes at the farm to having sand between my toes… Til next time.
*Names changed for anonymity.