When I was a child, a rainy day was always an unexpected pleasure. We would beg Mom to let us play outdoors, and after much nagging, she would usually give in. We would then don our red, rubber boots and run outside, tromping through the puddles. As the water receded, the thick, gooey, black mud would emerge and suddenly we all became expert mud-cookie makers. Sprinkles of pea gravel, dandelion seed and crumbled sticks decorated our fancy creations. We would dry them in the sun, and the next day there was sure to be an argument over who had made the best cookies. My brother often took matters into his own hands by smashing everyone’s creations but his own, and then running off, laughing in a taunting manner… and the fight would be on!
The winter rains have just arrived here recently, keeping me inside more than usual. While observing the dreary weather outside, I certainly did not understand the reactions of Daisy, our orphaned deer fawn, and Holly, an injured, yearling deer to the cold, pouring rain. They insisted on staying outside in the elements when there was a perfectly cozy barn to seek shelter in, and even a small canopied area to keep them dry. I guess lying in the rain might not be so bad when you have a thick, fur coat, but when it’s a wet AND cold day, why wouldn’t one seek out the shelter of a roof overhead, and a bed of soft hay?
After the rain ended and the sun broke out, FD looked out the front window to find Daisy dancing around in a crazy manner, frolicking in a puddle of water. We watched Daisy gaze at her own reflection in the puddle, then paw madly at the liquid, dispersing a wave of muddy water in front of her. This seemed to delight her immensely, because the hoofing became more frantic and she was soon leaping, twisting and throwing her head around like a Native American war dancer. Then, she would stop suddenly, gaze into the water and, once again, the hoofing and silly boogie dance would start anew. This provided us great amusement for half an hour or more. Not caring to partake in Daisy’s crazy display, timid Holly watched the splash-dance from a safe distance.
Panting, and covered in splotches and splashes of brown water, Daisy the dancing Swamp Donkey, strutted around proudly, oblivious of the muddy mess she had made of herself. She minded not the muck and dribble, and every so often she would return to the puddle to stare into the depths, then give the glorious liquid a good hoof, and get after it all over again, dancing her crazy jig!
Later that afternoon we found our tired hoofer bedded down in a dry area of soft grass, with Holly lying nearby. Their coats had dried, and the muck had disappeared from Daisy’s body. Beautiful and elegant, they rested; ruminating, and watching alertly.
I see the forecast is calling for more rain next week, perhaps even some snow. I wonder how many more Swamp Donkey dances we will witness, and I wonder about Daisy’s first snow. What will she think and how will she react to it? Our time of keeping her is swiftly coming to an end. In less than a month she and Holly will be free. I know that I will long for these comical moments, observing Daisy and laughing at her silly deer nature. Yes, I know I will miss my little rain dancer…
© Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…