Mules are the infertile offspring of horse and donkey parents. Known for their hybrid vigor, calm disposition and wicked smarts, Chief our resident mule, is someone I listen to with rapt attention. He is perplexed by the human interest in sexual orientation. Labels paradoxically help us define diversity, but then confine the infinite spectrum of possibilities into…a label. Chief uses his sharp instincts to size up the kindness~trust factor in a person. He never labels, nor do the other equines. Geronimo, an animistic Navajo pony, thinks dogmatic religious narratives defining the expansive divine are crude. He senses for a tender, curious heart to determine whether someone is of interest to him. Traveler, a mixed-breed mustang, could give a fig about hide color, ethnicity or race. A Radiating sweet energy is how he accesses friend or foe.
Imagine all the people sharing all the world. John Lennon. Chief thinks this almost perfect song should include those not categorized as people. If people could only learn the gentle nose nudge technique (widely used in equine circles), combined with close-eyed dozing and an occasional nip if the object of your adoration crosses a boundary you didn’t want crossed; a new world could emerge. Very simple stuff. No heady distractions, pounding the pulpit or taking things personally. Of course, all people would have to adhere to these courtesies. Therein is the rub. But imagine….
In his previous life, Chief worked for an outfitter packing out dead elk from the backcountry. He enjoyed having a job, but walking along a scenic trail with a live human aboard would have been more civilized. He is not a prissy sort, but having a sentimental vein running through his gentle heart, the elk-slung-on-back routine was less than desirable. He was a “dumb beast of burden” and albeit a skilled elk hauler, his present employment as my respected counselor is preferable.