*This post was originally written on July 12, 2017 on a different blogging platform. I’ve since made the decision to move to WordPress and am bringing those early posts here for continuity.
I could hear Yri calling me from the yard as I brought the sheep back in, sounding excited. I latched the gate carefully, dusted my hands off on my pants and started up the hill to the house. As I passed the well I stopped to pull a bucket up, noting by the thin streams leaking from it that it was time to make a new one. The path between the well and the house was always lusher when the pail was starting to fail. As I approached I could see Yri standing at the gate, hopping from one foot to the other with the restless energy of the very young forced to stay inside on dreary days. He opened the gate for me and I ruffled his hair affectionately.
“What is it, ‘Ri?” I asked, smiling at his fidgety impatience.
“Brisi bought a pig!” he exclaimed with delight.
I laughed. Yri loved bacon and ham almost as much as he loved our parents. We’d been saving for a pig over the winter and apparently the purchase had been made. I am grateful he’s the kind of child that could be excited about future pork rather than disappointed there wasn’t bacon currently frying on the hearth. I sent up a brief prayer to the hundred little gods that he retain his delightful anticipation of future experiences as he grew up. They all knew how much we basked in his joy.
“That’s great, Yri,” I grinned. He grinned back. After a moment he stopped, looked concerned, and darted into the house. I raised an eyebrow, shut the gate behind me and made to follow. He emerged a moment later, arms hugging the metal basin from the kitchen. He put it on the ground at my feet. “Here, put the water in there. Your shoes are getting wet.”
I smiled again, more softly this time. Of all of us, Yri was the most thoughtful. As he was getting older, that thoughtfulness was shifting from spontaneous declarations of love, to a willingness to help if given clear instructions, and most recently to figuring out ways to help with whatever was going on. I hoped he retained that, too. The work is always easier when shared, as Brisi says.
As I poured the water into the basin, Yri shuffled from foot to foot again. “Can I take the bucket back to the well? I don’t really want to go back in yet.”
“Can you reach the hook now?” I asked with a nod.
“I think so,” he replied. “Tre says I am getting too tall.”
“No such thing as too tall,” I said, handing him the bucket. “Off you go.” He was off like an arrow. I watched him carefully. It was good to see him finally starting to venture out of the yard again. Maybe he was recovering from his scare last summer when he’d gotten lost in the woods overnight. I hoped so. Tre wanted him to regain some of his confidence, probably so he wasn’t underfoot in the house or the yard all of the time. I could see her point; the only alone time she got was when we were all out of the house or if she went out to gather without us. It happened, but it was rare.
As he came puffing back up the hill, I asked him if he wanted to take the sheep out with me in the morning. He thought about it for a moment and then shook his head. “Okay,” I said, taking his hand. “Let’s go see this pig.”