Sunday Sketches #5

Goats are cool.

Anyone who knows me knows I love goats. I love the fact that goats in the Middle East climb trees and hang out on the spindly branches like overripe fruit. I love the fact that they are escape artists; no matter how high the fence, a goat will, sooner or later, find herself on the other side of it. I was even charmed by the goat I met recently who – a little too casually – stood near the front gate of a petting zoo; in a flash, she snatched and ate my admission fee before I could hand it over to the guy in charge.

Goats are friendly, curious, whip-smart, independent, and have an ornery streak that commands respect. (All the animals I really like, with rare exceptions, are ornery herbivores.) So goats are the complete package.

I don’t own any goats, I’m afraid, as I don’t have enough property to keep them. That will change someday. In the meantime, when I need my fix, I frequent area farms, find a goat, and scratch her chin. I find this oddly relaxing and the goat likes it, too.

My point is I’ve studied a lot of these little buggers. One thing I’ve noticed is that when you look at a goat head on, it appears kind of simple. The reason has to do with its eyes, I think; they’re widely spaced and those unusual, rectangular pupils make them look a little walleyed.

But when a goat turns its head a little to get a better look at you, that simple face suddenly radiates what I can only describe as wisdom – for only when a goat offers her profile can you see that wonderful, enigmatic Mona Lisa smile.