In what is sounding like a peaceful, ambient track in my head, I’m remembering my day in upstate New York at the Lazy Acres alpaca farm. The tour is one hour and starts with loads of facts about the raising of these lovely animals as well as a tour of the shearing areas and barns on the property. One such fact is the shearing of the alpacas once a year, to control their wooly shag, as it is much warmer in this climate than the climate of their ancestry.
Set in a green, hilly area of upstate New York, Lazy Acres alpaca farm is lovely, and the animals are quite peaceful. We explored the farm on a beautiful, 75 degree day that felt like Spring to me (a resident from Northern Florida). I’d been visiting an old friend that used to work with me in Rochester, and found out my cousin was in the area. So, we arranged to meet her at the alpaca farm as well as her son, his wife, and their family.
A muddy walkway covered by wooden planks led to green pastures. It had rained profusely the day before. However, the sun shone brightly on us, and the visit was worth the muddy shoes. Our tour guide, a young college girl, told us that alpaca are not as agressive as lamas or camels. I found this to be true. While feeding them, I felt the alpaca’s teeth graze my hand, but not even in a nibble; it was just accidental as their lower teeth are in an underbite.
The children on the tour (I think you’d call them my third cousins) were quite engaged and interested. We grown-ups were charmed as well. The animals let us pet them as well as feed them. When the food ran out, they did, of course, lose interest. Not surprising, right? 🙂
I highly recommend such a tour for anyone who needs a brief escape from the worries of their life or just an escape from the rat race. Children who love animals will find it quite engaging as well! One of the alpacas had MIA on her tag, so I started calling her Mia. I assumed this alpaca was female, it answered to Mia anyway, and I could pet her after my food was gone. Though, maybe it was because my friend had some food left….
It makes me wonder what it would be like to only be concerned with only the most basic of needs: eating, digestion, shelter, family. The cares of the outside world, the ‘rat-race,’ cannot penetrate their peaceful exterior. My favorite alpaca, Mia, was actually quite a ham 🙂
You think, if you isolate, what you fear can’t win. That, if you isolate, you are starving the fear, shutting off from what you fear.
Let me tell you about this little monster. It grows in cold, dark, lonely places void of light, within people who fear the warmth, who assume the worst of others. It grows; it takes over the very person trying to starve it. For, one who assumes the worst, needs to give oneself a chance to be proven wrong. If you are never proven wrong, then why would you change your beliefs?
Isolating is great, when it occurs to get things done, to get down to business and feed your own thoughts. When one isolates to avoid, that monster grows ever stronger and IT feeds off your own thoughts. I know. You see it growing all over me, don’t you?
Two young men had stopped but walked off as the old women opened her coat and removed it to reveal her arms covered in dirt and a green growth all over her arms. She had lost her audience; they were disgusted and maybe even afraid.
A little child peeked out at her from behind his mother’s leg where he’d been hiding.
I see you! Don’t be afraid! Don’t let it take over you, don’t do what I did. You still have time! Be brave, little one!
He didn’t turn away; he knew she was not the monster but simply had been overcome. Still, he stayed close to his mother.
Quickly, his mother whisked him away, and the old woman smiled, once again putting on her coat. Her audience was gone, but she had reached one impressionable soul, and this was good. For, she knew paranoia would again sweep the land, and likely very soon.
Flash fiction response by Pamela Schloesser Canepa, (c) 2019
“Wree, I feel like we are going to be a great success! Thanks for your guidance. I’ve got no idea what your secret is, but this seems to be working.”
“Of course it is, Chap. I know what I’m doing. Could you just, tame your excitement a little though. They can sense it from a mile away. We need to be confident, smooth.” Wree stood and straightened his imaginary tie. Of course, he looked good.
“I’m just not believing it all yet. We’ll be heralded by all, we’ll be famous.” Chap beamed. “I keep thinking we’ll be found out, though, for what we really are.” The smile faded, and anxiety crept over his face. “I mean, I see you and your reptilian nature,” he whispered. “Why don’t they? Why don’t they see my tentacles and fangs?”
“Stop it, Chap. Don’t worry; they’ll never see it. They drank the punch a long time ago. We look like winners to them. We look like money, and it blinds them. Sit tight, because this is the millenia in which we will conquer.” He stood proud again and smiled at an approaching female at the perfect age for carrying and producing an interplanetary specimen. “Hello,” he said with a wink.
Welcome to the weekend! How about some speculative flash-fiction to combat the effects of a stressful week? Thanks for reading!
Maverick, by Pamela Schloesser Canepa
Maverick didn’t like being followed. Having once been a soldier in the Gulf War, he was always very aware and at times, hyper-alert.
No one knew the beings were here on earth, until Maverick discovered his shadow was not the only one following him. Who would have suspected that our first alien invasion would be orchestrated by invisible beings? Pretty much no one but Maverick looked up from their cell phone while walking.
All I know is, one day they were not here, and then one day, they were. Look for a shadow with no human partner. It may be following you, or just standing on a corner. Maverick said these beings probably don’t get much sunlight (or any equivalent) on their home planet. Do they like the sun? Who knows. When you see an unpaired shadow, perhaps it is an alien just standing and soaking up the rays. Or maybe they are watching you, observing. Maverick says it’s the latter.
Meanwhile, the government is making cell phones even cheaper, and requiring each family to have one for every person over age six. They struck a deal with the aliens. Be aware.
Maverick and I always leave our cell phones at home. You might want to consider that too. Be aware!