Appreciation

Both this article and this exercise may be “too long” for most people!

Want to appreciate someone you may have never before considered?

Take something apart.

I’m not kidding. This is an important lesson, especially if you’ve never made anything by hand.

If you have never whittled, worked with wood; sewn, worked with fabric; welded, riveted, worked with metal; or made something by hand—then take something apart. Carefully, methodically, and thoughtfully, undo all the pieces of something that a person used their hands to make.

A shirt, for instance.

Find a (discarded) well-made, long-sleeve collared dress shirt, preferably of 100% cotton. Get a seam ripper or Exacto knife, and set aside an hour or two. 

You’re NOT to destroy the shirt by shredding it to pieces — that would entirely circumvent the point of this exercise.

Study the shirt, and with the seam ripper, carefully and methodically undo each seam, each stitch, each button, and each label. As you take the shirt apart, lay each piece of the shirt on a table. You’ll probably find there are more pieces than you realized, more seams than you imagined, and wonder how in the world someone stitched all those pieces together. Or even figured out how to design and cut the pieces so they fit together perfectly.

That’s getting to the point of this exercise. 

As you take the shirt apart, consider the pieces. How were they sewn together? How were the pieces of fabric cut before they were sewn together? Look at the little edges folded under — consider the dexterity of the fingers that folded the fabric so precisely. The skill of the fingers that guided the fabric through the sewing machine, fingers next to the needle going up down fast fast fast so fast that needle-hole marks punctured too-close fingernails.

If there’s a pattern to the fabric, does the pattern match where the seams fasten together different pieces of fabric? What kind of skill did that take, to cut and to sew and to design the shirt so the patterns matched across fabric pieces?

Can you easily get the seam ripper in between the individual stitches of the collar? Can you even see the stitches? Think of the person sewing the collar — what would their eyes feel like at the end of the day, after making the shirt?

What about the buttons? The placket? Do you even know what a shirt placket is? Or the yoke?

Don’t give up. Don’t put the shirt down and forget about the exercise. 

Think about the person making the shirt. They didn’t put it down and give up on making it.

Finish taking the shirt apart. Your taking it apart was easier than their making it — and you probably never thought of who made your shirt before, or the skill, the time, the difficulty of making it.

Yes, the shirt you take apart was probably made in a factory, by several people, each sewing a particular part. But years ago, a tailor, or your mom, would have made the shirt for you, to your specific measurements, stitching each piece at their machine. Even further back in time, they would have stitched entirely by hand, without a sewing machine.

The hours, the abilities, the love of the tailor or mother for their craft: So much once went into the making of a shirt, and were valued by the shirt’s owner and wearer.

Now, the maker of the shirt is too often lost, a faceless factory-worker who has become, like the shirt itself, a commodity to be discarded. 

And you — the wearer of the shirt — feel this lack of care just as much as the anonymous maker of the shirt, but you probably don’t have words for the sensation. Blinded by labels and advertising, fashion and merchandizing, clothes-wearers pay for expensive brands, yet feel a lack of . . . something.

The “something lacking” is NOT a new fashion, not a replacement shirt, not a different brand shirt.

The “something lacking” is the spirit of the maker. 

Mass-produced items don’t have the same anima, the same spirit, as a handmade item. 

Items made with care and love bear the spirit of the maker. Mass-produced items bear the ghost of industrial production, the shell of spirit. 

We feel this, yet most can’t name what’s missing: the anima of the item and the spirit of its maker. 

We’ve discarded them. 

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Posted on Mother’s Day with much love and appreciation for my mom, a master seamstress who made, among other things, many shirts for me, and fostered my appreciation of the handmade and hand-makers.

The photo is of a handmade shirt by Angelina Pirastu of Samugheo, Sardinia, Italy. I’ll be writing more about her and the costume soon!

May Each of Us Be a Rose

Walking through the rose garden in the nearby park, admiring the beautiful buds, rejoicing in the open flowers, enjoying yet somewhat lamenting the now-fully-bloomed, petals-about-to-fall roses, and delighting in the intermingled perfumes of the diverse bushes, I also marvel and learn from our rose-siblings. 

Roses are roses, and beautiful in every way. 

Roses don’t question their spirit, their anima, their life as a rose. Even after having been cut down, roses flourish. After all, that’s what flowers do.

Rose buds don’t question whether or not they should pursue blossoming. A bud does not think, “There are enough roses of this color. I don’t need to blossom” or “Why bother? No one will see me” or “I wish grew on that side of the garden; more people would see me. It’s not worth blossoming here.” 

When the rose blossoms, individual flowers don’t compare themselves to others on the same bush or another bush. They don’t try to steal another blossom’s sunlight, block their water, or try to be better than other flowers. 

Fully-bloomed, petals-about-to-fall roses don’t lament their stage of life. I’m the one who labels them and feels a tinge of sadness at their scattered descent to the earth.

The petals fallen on the ground are beautiful, even when their edges are curled. I stop, pick them up, and offer them with a prayer to the bush, to nature, a saint, a friend, God. 

The rose did not consult any petal usage statistics and determine whether to grow, to blossom, to give happiness — to be.

Completely and fully, the rose is.

And if no one sees it, if no one collects a fallen petal and treasures it, the rose bush still grows and flourishes. It does not doubt its existence or importance in the grand scheme of life. 

May each of us be a rose. 

~KMK

Sardinian Beach Meditation

Five or six minutes at a beautiful beach in Portobello, Sardinia (Italy).

A great meditation, especially if you can watch it on a large-screen TV.

Sit close, on the floor, and imagine you are on the beach!

This video is downloadable on Vimeo for personal use only, and also posted on SardinianArts.com.

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They Don’t Understand – Non Capiscono

Prima all’inglese, poi all’italiano

I stopped, immobile, at the sight of the greens growing in the hole.

It was a grey and rainy day in November 2019, and I was walking through an old Milano neighborhood that is well-known and fairly dense, with well-traveled streets. The street I walked had no grassy pathways for trams, no trees, no flower-boxes in windows. There weren’t even sprouts of grass venturing through cobblestones, for the street was paved with asphalt.

Turning a corner, I saw these greens sprouting in a post hole. They were the only plants visible for blocks — and completely ignored by passers-by. 

I stopped to admire and talk with the greens, complimenting them on their persistence and beauty amidst the brutal surroundings imposed on them.

The greens required a photo.

I willingly snapped a portrait, and thanked them. 

I think about these persistent sprouts often, thanking them every time. 

They don’t understand how important they are.

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Mi sono fermata, immobile, alla vista delle verde crescendo nel buco.

Era un giorno grigio e piovoso di Novembre 2019. Facevo un passeggiato a Milano, a un quartiere antico, bon conosciuto e popoloso, con strade battute. Sulla strada dove camminavo, non si trovavo sentieri erbosi per i binari del tram, né alberi, né scatole di fiori sulle finestre. La strada era asfaltata, non acciottolata, e non si trovava nemmeno una fessura per crescere un germoglio dell’erba. 

Mi ho svolto un’angolo, e ho visto verde crescendo nel buco del palo. Erano le sole piante visibile per un lungo tratto della strada — e erano completamente ignorate dai passanti. 

Mi sono fermata per ammirare e parlare con le verde, li dando complimenti per loro persistenza e bellezza fra i dintorni bruti a che erano imposte.

Le verde necessitavano una foto. 

L’ho fatto volontariamente, e li avevo dato i miei più sentiti ringraziamenti.

Penso spesso ai questi germogli persistenti, dando i miei ringraziamenti ogni volta. 

Non capiscono come importante ci sono.

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Lokaha Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu

May all beings everywhere be happy and peaceful

Possano tutti gli esseri, ovunque, essere felici e in pace

A Sanskrit prayer for universal peace and happiness. Una preghiera universale nella linga sanscrita per la pace e la felicità.

Move Beyond Appreciating Art to Experience Art

Many words to insufficiently describe the difference between appreciating and experiencing art.

The vast quantity of art available online during the Pandemic of 2020 is amazing. Museum collections from the greatest archives in the world; concerts, plays, dance, tours of artists studios, and more, all available in our very own rooms. We don’t even have to dress for the occasion!

The disadvantages of this treasure trove of online art are the same as the advantages: The treasures are online, and vast. The photographs of a painting, the depiction of a weaving, the streaming concert are all wonderful and to be appreciated — but the overwhelming quantity of material, and the arrival of digital art on our gizmo means we see an image or hear a sound much differently than we would experience the actual masterpiece in person. 

I wrote about this in the previous piece, The Experience of Art, and I’d like to offer a few more thoughts, specifically about how you can use a single piece of art you find online to deepen your appreciation of art and whet your desire to experience a masterpiece in person. 

As mentioned in the previous post, rather than making viewing a quantity of art your goal, seek the appreciation and experience of art. And while you can’t fully appreciate a piece of art via the computer, you can become acquainted with a piece online, and then, when the world calms down a bit, seek the art in person, so you can experience it, for the experience is beyond appreciation. 

First, let’s clarify what appreciation means in this context. Appreciation is not liking. You can understand something, and how and why it was made, and perhaps something about its context and history — you can appreciate it — without having a personal inclination towards it, without liking it. 

Appreciating something, especially a work of art, takes time. You can practice appreciating art on your computer, tablet, or phone with a masterpiece you find online — we’ll use a painting as an example — over the course of a week.

Find a well-known painting from an online museum collection, and bookmark a high-quality image of it. Set aside 10 minutes each day to look at and contemplate the painting. Yes, that’s 10 minutes, each day, for a week. There’s a great deal to look at, really!

For starters, look at the painting from a distance: Set the size of the replica to fit in your screen so you can see the entire piece at once. What’s the feeling overall, especially if it’s an abstract painting? How do the colors feel together? Look at the shapes, where the light comes from within the painting. Do you imagine a story or background to the the images? 

Zoom in on the replica. Look at how the colors, the shapes, the shadows are constructed. Are brushstrokes or pallet knife markings visibile? Can you tell what type of surface lies below the paint? Are there cracks? Is paint perhaps discolored? And is the paint watercolor, oil, acrylic? Do you know the difference? 

Some of these details may or may not be visible depending on the quality of the replica — and if they are visible, they are seen but not experienced as you would in person, standing in front of a painting the artist actually touched and worked. 

Looking at details is not all you can do. Contemplate beyond what you see: How were the paints made? And from what? Hundreds of years ago, paints were mixed by hand, from natural materials. Imagine matching paints from one day to the next!

How long did it take to make the painting? Was the painting done from a live model, or sketches? How did the painter get a consistent model, consistent shadows, that degree of detail in an era before photo cameras?

Think of the skill of the artist; the task of painting day after day and week after week; making and procuring materials, and more. What’s the context, the story behind the painting? Is the painting from a specifici period in the artist’s life? Do some research about the artist and their life — the time, the country, the social, political, artistic environment in which they lived and worked.

There’s so much you can see and appreciate when you view a replica and consider how it was made, the artist, the history, the context. 

All this helps you gain appreciation of a work of art, yet appreciation does not give you the experience of that art — and hopefully, the appreciation engenders within you a desire to experience the masterpiece in person. 

The appreciation gives you intellectual information, the experience gives you. . . the experience. 

And yes, you can experience a painting, a work of art in person, without having first gone through the intellectual appreciation. The appreciation doesn’t really even prepare you for the experience; at best it can foster the desire to have the experience of a painting. (See the previous post for my description of experiencing, for the first time, a painting which I knew by replica.)

Now you’ve read way too many words suggesting you learn how to appreciate art, hopefully with the end result of motivating you to experience art. 

Dare I write that if you’ve read this far, you’re becoming a student of the Humanities — which for centuries were considered essential, teaching us how to live? 

Stop reading, find a masterpiece to appreciate, and when you can, go to a museum, gallery, or studio to have the experience of a masterpiece.

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A note on the image in the header: Yes, it’s mine, and obviously, it’s a take off of Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s soup cans, with visual commentary relevant to 2020: Rather than tomato or chicken soup, we have vegetarian vegetable soup, a photo of which appears on the requisite monotonous smart phone, duplicated as in Warhol’s work. The upside down can, an attempt at differentiation, is barely noticeable. I could write more about this, but I won’t — at least not now! ~ KMK

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The Experience of Art

My breath stopped. My mind went blank. My head jerked up slightly then froze, as did my body, motionless from the zap of powerful energy I did not expect. I stood and stared.

I had encountered, for the first time in person, a painting by Georgia O’Keefe. 

This experience is important. It’s not just about O’Keefe’s art: I’ve had this experience when I’ve encountered paintings by other masters; original photos from great photographers; and magnificent art from other disciplines. And the experience is not about me.

It’s the experience that’s important. And the experience is important to consider now, in the Pandemic of 2020.

To explain, I’ll go back to the O’Keefe painting.

It was about 1985, and I was walking through the University of Arizona Art Museum’s permanent exhibit, which I knew housed an original painting or few of O’Keefe’s. The piece I mention, Red Canna, is famous. I had seen it on photographs, postcards, calendars, and other reproductions. In fact, reproductions of O’Keefe’s work abounded in the popular culture of the United States in the 1970’s and 80’s. Flowers and desertscapes were seemingly on everything, and even non-artists would call out “that’s an O’Keefe” when viewing posters, sometimes even naming the image. People thought they “knew” her art.

What I experienced in that first viewing of an original painting by O’Keefe was something I did not expect, despite the years of preparation: The lectures, the experiential lessons, the papers written, the books read in English classes (thanks J.C.); the hours of art history classes; the years watching my mother create; the shelves of philosophy I had read; and dozens of replicas of the painting I had seen.

Yes, I had heard of, mentally understood, written about the experience of art. I had contemplated the question “what is the difference between a work of art and a really good forgery, a copy?”

I had not experienced it so profoundly until that moment. 

A true work of art has a presence. It has life. It conveys the spirit, the anima, the experience and feelings of the artist. 

You can feel a work of art.

Yes, a poster, a high-quality digital photograph, a 3-D image can transmit the look, the colors, the detail, the intricacy of a work of art. However, no matter how good, how clean, how sharp the copy, the replica will not convey the same presence as the original masterpiece created at the hands of the master. 

It’s similar to what spiritual teachers and mystic poets say: “If you write the word honey and lick the paper, is it the same as tasting a spoonful of honey?”

Honey and art must be tasted, experienced, in person.

It’s especially important to remember this at a time when we’re all at our computers, often for more hours a day than usual, and when, through those computers, we have the amazing opportunity to virtually visit great museums, concert halls, and artist studios. That the Pandemic of 2020 occurs at a time when we can shelter-in-place while viewing and hearing great works of art is absolutely amazing. I’m personally grateful, and thankful also that so many virtual halls and archives are now allowing us free entry.

So, yes, let’s use this opportunity and the online resources offered us to visit museums we may have always wanted to see — or perhaps never knew existed. Let’s listen to the orchestras of the world, see how potters work, view weavings we did not know were so intricate, look at the work of Gentileschi, Bonheur, Caravaggio, Anni Albers, and more, oh so many more. We can even read about the artists on Wikipedia, find their studios on Google Maps, and follow the rabbit hole of links to historical trivia of the artists’ lives. 

All this is good; all this helps us expand our awareness of the world of art and intellectually understand artists and their context. But don’t make viewing quantity your goal. Don’t make intellectual understanding your goal. Don’t even make recognition your goal (apologies to all the art history teachers!). 

Make experience your goal.

And to really experience a painting, a photo, any work of art, you must be with it in person. The experience is tangible, yet beyond the intellect, beyond quantification, beyond description. 

So yes, use this time of online exploring to visit the museums, libraries, galleries, concert halls streaming to you. Peruse the images, the sounds. And let the online viewing and recognition kindle within you a desire to experience, in person, at least a few of the places, a few of the masterpieces, a few of the museums. 

After the travel bans and the quarantines end, seek and have an in-person experience of a masterpiece whose replica you discovered online. If you can’t travel to a distant place to experience the great work you found online, at least start by visiting a local art museum or gallery.

And for now, continue the online discovery, and perhaps enjoy a spoonful of honey!

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The Power of a Name: Let’s Use This Wisely

In many ancient traditions and healing methods, it’s understood that when you name something, you give it power. 

A “label” acknowledges and empowers something — anything — and gives it form, animating it in our minds and thoughts. This is true for everything, no matter if we think it “good” or “bad”. For this reason, the ancient traditions of many lands teach that we should not name, or call by name, illness and disease.

When we name something, the label solidifies and calls into form the energy behind the name. The naming empowers the physical manifestation of that which is named, a tangible demonstration of “our thoughts create our reality”.

It’s very important that we don’t call the virus circling the globe right now by name. Simply call it “the virus”.  Better yet, call it “the pandemic of 2020”.  Calling it a pandemic acknowledges that this is circling the globe, and opens the way for all to be healed. Naming the year establishes a time constraint. 

And who says we’ll even need to the end of the year? 

With prayer, healing — miracles — can occur in an instant. And the effects travel farther and longer than we imagine.

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Triage: A Human Level of Understanding the Virus

93-year-old uncle who has diabetes and asthma falls ill with the virus. You take him to the now-overloaded hospital, where you’re told that because there are higher priority cases and limited resources, the hospital can’t treat uncle. However, because uncle has the virus, he must go to the emergency quarantine ward, where there’s no medical intervention, but if hospital staff has any time after treating higher-priority cases, they’ll provide basic care. Because it’s a quarantine ward, you’re informed the family can’t visit uncle, so he’ll be isolated, alone in his last days. Or, perhaps worse, uncle may turned away for lack of space, sent home for you to care for as best you can until he passes.

Scenarios like this are reality when the health care system is in overload and triage is the most basic.

Understanding triage helps us realize at a very human level what’s happening with the spread of the virus, and why each and every one of us needs to take steps to contain its spread.

Developed centuries ago on battlefields, triage is “the process of determining the priority of patients’ treatments based on the severity of their condition. This rations patient treatment efficiently when resources are insufficient for all to be treated immediately”.

Medical personnel use triage to quickly assess and classify cases — injured or ill persons — during wars and disasters so that the greatest number of individuals can be saved with the resources available when medical personnel, supplies, and time are limited. Triage assigns each ill/injured person to one of four levels, often indicated by a color: Red, yellow, green, or black, to be treated in that order. 

The definitions and wording of the triage levels may differ slightly depending on country or institution. However, no matter the system, because triage deals with the reality of limitation, the actual triage level assigned to a case varies depending upon the resources and situation

For instance, at the start of a catastrophe, medical personnel may use the following triage classifications and criteria: (these are summaries of different classifications; see Wikipedia or talk with a doctor, nurse, or paramedic to learn more.)

  • Red: Those with life-threatening illnesses who require immediate care in order to survive. 
  • Yellow: Those who have non life-threatening injuries or diseases, yet require care soon. 
  • Green: Those minor injuries or diseases, who do not require immediate care.
  • Black: Those who are dead or presumed dead after a basic check of vital signs. 

As the number of cases increases and/or the resources decrease, the classification criteria adjust to reflect the diminishing ability to provide care. Thus, as a situation worsens, the criteria may be more like this:

  • Red: Those with life-threatening illnesses who require immediate care in order to survive.
  • Yellow: Those who have life-threatening injuries or diseases and require care soon in order to survive.
  • Green: Those with minor injuries or diseases, or non-life threatening injuries, who will not receive immediate care. 
  • Black: Those who are dead, presumed dead, whose injuries/illness/condition make survival unlikely, and/or for whom providing care will compromise the ability to provide care for those with a higher chance of survival

As case numbers and severity increase, as resources decrease, the fewer the people who can be helped. And when fewer people can be helped, those who are most likely to survive and need immediate care are treated first.  People who might have been helped during a non-crisis time won’t/can’t be helped — including those who may need surgeries for cancer, diabetes, transplants, or conditions that would normally be considered curable .

Think of this now in human terms.

93-year-old uncle, mentioned in the first paragraph.

A 63-year-old sister who had been scheduled for surgery two weeks from now to remove a tumor on her breast. Will the hospital have time for the surgery? Will sister’s health be compromised by potential exposure to the virus while she’s in the hospital?

A son in an auto crash. An auntie who fell down the stairs. A friend who dropped the knife on her foot chopping veggies for dinner. Will they get emergency care when the health care system is overstressed with a pandemic?

Heartbreaking and beyond comprehension, for those needing care, families, you, all of us — including for the doctors, nurses, medical support staff, and those making triage decisions.  

People are fragile. The health care system working to treat people is also fragile, both here in the United States and in most other countries. 

On normal days, health care systems run at near maximum capacity. Add multiple cases of a virus and more patients to the system, and more basic triage becomes necessary. Medical systems, doctors, nurses, staff run on overdrive, yet still the cases increase. Levels of triage, levels of care become even more basic. People are left untreated. Eventually, the system may be completely overwhelmed.

This is why, to the best of our ability, we need to contain the virus. 

People are at risk, the health care system itself is at risk, and the systems of our contemporary lives are at risk: Small businesses, large businesses, travel, trade, the economy, governments and societies are all fragile, not just in one country, but across the world. 

The virus does not stop at political, social, or ideological borders. Itself a part of the contemporary interconnected world of instantaneous communication, the virus is global and pervasive. And it has the ability to topple systems, those of healthcare and those beyond, in a way perhaps no other means save massive warfare has.

We can mitigate the effect of the virus by increasing our awareness, applying our compassion, making a change of our habits, taking common-sense steps to contain the spread of the virus, and by helping those in need, in the ways we each and all can.

Note from Kelly: 

I’ve found that discussing triage is the clearest, most concise, simplest, and most human way to understand and explain what the imminent danger, need, and actions are around the virus. 

Discussing triage goes beyond charts and statistics, which are impersonal, imprecise, and can be skewed. Talking about triage demands immediacy while still honoring discussions of how disasters can be manipulated by governments and big business. 

Triage gets to the point: It brings discussions of the virus to a very human level. 

This is why understanding triage is so important: We need to think of people. Not just in one country, but across the world. And we need to realize that as one system fails, related systems can fail — not just in one country, but across the globe. The virus is not bound by borders; neither are our economies, our air, our water, our hearts. 

And we need to consider how, after mitigating the immediate threats presented by the virus, we can work together to rebuild systems, hearts, lives in a manner that respects and sustains all.

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The Little Goat

A story of self-confidence and persistence told in traditional cultures across the world.

High in the hills above the village, the goats kept an annual tradition known only to themselves. 

Each spring, on the first full-moon day after the grass sprouted, the one-year-old goats would gather at the foot of the highest mountain. At the sound of the elder goat’s signal, the goat-kids would all charge up the narrow, rocky mountain path, in full view of the herd. This was a test of their goat skills: They were to climb the mountain as an initiation into the next stage of life in the herd.

However, the herd elders knew, absolutely knew, that it was impossible to climb all the way to the top of the mountain. 

Before the event, in secret, the goat-parents conveyed this message to their goat-kids. 

“The tradition states climb the mountain, but really, no one ever reaches the top. It’s impossible. Just get as far as you can by midday, then turn around. Everyone will have seen you, and we’ll have a nice lunch waiting when you return.”

And so it was, year after year. 

Until one year.

The herd was especially large that spring, with many kids jostling one another at the starting line, all trying to gain the best starting spot — all except one, that is. One kid on the edge of the bunch seemed a bit slow at the beginning, not minding that the others charged ahead when the elder goat gave the starting call. 

After the first few frantic minutes of the course, the goat-kids spread themselves along the trail winding up the mountain. From below, the elder goats cheered the kids, urging them higher and higher. 

Several large kids ran as fast and long as they could before slowing to a trot. Most goat-kids alternated their pace, run-walk, run-walk. A few goat-kids walked together, talking the entire time. The little goat-kid who had the slow start walked alone, sure-footedly yet steadily up the mountain, still trailing the others. 

As morning stretched towards midday, the faster kids reached a prominent ledge halfway up the mountain, and felt that they had proven their ability. They had received lots of cheers, and were getting tired. They wanted lunch and a nap. Turning around, they headed back down the mountain.

As the returning kids passed those still climbing, each of the climbing kids used the encounter as a signal to go a few more steps and then turn back. They, too, were tired and hungry, and looked forward to lunch. 

Each time a goat-kid turned back, they paused briefly to look at the crowd and toss their head, reveling in the wild cheering from the adult goats below. The kids had gone far enough. No goat had ever gone to the top of the mountain; it was impossible. 

Finally, down towards the herd and lunch, laughing and playing, came the all goat-kids. 

All but one, that is. 

The goat-kid who had started slowly was still climbing up the mountain. In fact, she was now higher than the spot at which the fastest goat-kids had turned around — and she was still climbing. 

The adult-goats had turned their attention from the mountain to the lunch preparations, thinking all the kids were headed back. Surprised, they heard the elder goat calling loudly.

“Come back, come back, you can’t go any higher, what are you doing?”

The heads of all the goats at the base of the mountain turned, following the gaze of the elder goat. The lone kid was still climbing. 

“Come back, come back! You can’t go any further,” called all of the adult goats. “No one climbs that high, it’s impossible, you can’t go any higher! Come back!”

The lone goat kid continued to climb. 

“Come back, come back! It’s impossible, you can’t go that far, come back!” shouted the adult goats, milling about.

The goat kid continued to climb, more slowly than before, yet steadily. The path before her had all but disappeared, as certainly no goat in the history of the herd had ever climbed that high.

The adult goats continued to call up the hill, joined now by the kids who had finished their descent. 

“Come back, you can’t go any higher!” shouted the chorus of goat-voices. “It’s impossible! Come back!”

The little goat continued to climb. She was a tiny speck, nearly invisible even to goat-eyes. 

The other goat kids were annoyed. They wanted their lunch, which would not be served until all the kids returned. The biggest, fastest kids were also upset because the little she-kid had climbed higher than they had — and she was still climbing.  

The commotion at the bottom of the mountain continued. The little goat continued to climb. 

When she reached the top of the mountain, the little goat paused briefly and looked down. The crowd at the base of the mountain fell silent for a moment — and then roared with cries and stomps of respectful applause for the goat-kid who had reached the top. 

As the cheers subsided and the little goat headed back down the mountain, the adult goats and the kids jabbered amongst themselves, asking “How in the world did that little goat do that? Every goat knows that it’s impossible to climb to the top of the mountain.” 

One of the adult goats who had been unusually quiet during all the cheering spoke up. 

“That’s my kid. She’s deaf. She couldn’t hear your cries calling her back, and she can’t hear your applause. She thought the objective was to climb to the top, so she did.”

The photo is not mine — it was found it online and uncredited. Thanks to the unknown photographer!

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