45. The Goatherd

The winds of change whisper as they pass me and press me. I clear my throat, and they take notice of me as if for the first time. I snap my fingers, and they rush to fix me a breakfast of waffles and hope. Who am I to send away such a breakfast, or its bringers?

I am not the one who sat down at this table. That one was arrogant, weak, childish, stubborn, terrified. This one is all of those things and more: respectful, restless, restive, ruminating, rheumatic.

We are, all of us, goatherds to the flock of time; we lead only with the permission of those we deem our charge. And so I chew my waffles and wash them down with hope and goat’s milk.

I am waiting for a better morning. What is the nature of my waiting? If I withhold myself from the current daybreak, saving myself for another, what does it mean? What have I refused to surrender? Why are the waffles and hope of change insufficient to impel my commitment?

The hardest questions are the ones that are painful to ignore. Often these are the simplest questions. To ignore them, we must also learn to ignore pain. So when the winds ask me, as they set the plate before me, what I am waiting for, I knit my brows and look away.

With this work, I hope to have myself a scarf and stocking cap by winter.

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