Just Llamas

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It’s been a year of living in Switzerland, and one year of blogging. Fifty-two weeks of experimenting with my writing on the internet.

I’m getting pretty invested in this blog. A little bit like becoming attached to a new dog. You start out a little guarded, but eventually you’re all in, won over by attachment.

But I’m not proud of the fact that I care about how many readers I have, or if I get positive comments or not.

Honestly, I want to see that my writing has gotten better, and that it is something worth reading. Because no matter what, we all want to improve at things we care about. But I also hope that what I see, and feel, and reflect upon, might resonate.

But sure, I admit – I want readers because I need the validation. Is that so wrong?

Isn’t it okay to want to stand out, and be appreciated for my own voice?

The other day my dad asked me what I was working on. And I told him I had nothing. Zero. Squat. I told him my head was completely empty of writing ideas.

And then, for some reason, I said llamas.

Yes, llamas. I’ll write about them.

Because the past week I was running past a pasture where a bunch of sheep were grazing. And I went up to the fence and immediately one of the wooly ewes came trotting over to greet me.

Except no – the thing had long, knobby legs and a strange dreadlocked coat. It looked like some kind of a camel. It wasn’t a sheep at all – it was a llama.

How strange, a llama among a flock of sheep.

But such a surprising delight to my eye. I was expecting to see a predictable, boring grazer, but instead here was this gangly interloper. Of dubious pedigree, with no clear purpose in the barnyard – what exactly was its raison d’être?

He was so funny, twisting his vacuum-hose neck and squirming and rolling in the dirt, looking gnarly. Just having a good old-time in the warm spring sunshine.

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Llamas are becoming popular with farmers these days.They are extremely intelligent creatures and good-natured, prized for their wool, and sometimes their meat. And at the University of Zürich, (don’t laugh), they are studying llama gasses to learn about global warming.

But they’re such hilarious looking creatures. Part giraffe, part Muppet, part stuffed children’s toy. They are completely original characters.

And so incredibly cute. They look at you as if they can see deep down into your very soul.

So when the llama looked at me with that funny face, it gave me a lift. It’s wry expression was so human, and so intuitive, like it might open its mouth and start talking. It just made me smile.

And I totally connected with those liquid eyes. Drawn to his smelly, goofy awkwardness. His just wanting someone to stop and pay a little attention. Someone to take the time to scratch under his wooly chin. And to love him. Just a little.

Every now and then that’s all we need, isn’t it?

Web blogging is scrutinized, criticized for a variety of reasons. Some say it’s too tabloid intimate or it’s merely attention-seeking narcissism. And that it just adds to the flood of detritus on the internet.

But for me, it’s about getting out of my own head. It’s about the commitment to keep writing, keep observing. It’s about breaking out of the herd, taking a breath, away from the rest of the pack. Sharing some of the not-so-graceful, weird, indescribable stuff. Catching ideas strewn on the side of the road.

But mostly, writing is about the common, everyday moments that pull us aside and tug us on the sleeve, begging for a little attention.

It’s the challenge to find something new in the dust of my week. Kind of like embracing my inner llama. And yes, sometimes just looking for a smile.

Yep, that’s all I got this week. Llamas. Just llamas.

Let me know if you’ve got something better.

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11 thoughts on “Just Llamas

  1. I love the observances of your days and all that entails. It makes me realize that I need to pay more attention to even the commonplace in my days. That how I feel and react have real weight and importance. Awareness is a gift. I appreciate that you are willing to share your gift.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. When I helped clean out my childhood home, there were many things that I could donate, with no regrets, while the true treasures uncovered and lovingly preserved were words and photos—letters my mother saved, and memories recorded by we three children for school assignments. Beth, you share treasures every time you post a new writing. Your biggest gift—you have caused me to look at everyday occurrences as possibilities for being extraordinary. That, my dear Beth, is a sign of a talented writer with a big heart. Please keep writing!

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  3. Beth – first I love your blog and you writing on a number of occasions has given me splice or food for thought – or both….

    Now, in many places llamas are pastured with sheep – it seems they protect the sheep like somewhat slow witted or simple relatives – however, they do NOT like canines of ANY sort and will protect them ….

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  4. Oh Beth this is so wonderful – you have been visited by the Great Llama!

    I was visited by the Great Llama once and it held some magic for quite some time!!

    A few years ago I worked in Tecumseh, about a half-hour from Ann Arbor and driving to work everyday involved beautiful countryside. One day I caught a glimpse of an amazing sight: llamas among the sheep on this farm. I suddenly thought I was in the Andes!! Such an awesome discovery!

    I began driving home that way every day, pulling over to the side of the road to watch them. One day the woman who owned them waved me to come over. She took me to meet them and they were adorable. She was very friendly and informative and when I left she told me not to hide behind the bushes but to just drive on in and visited whenever I wanted. So that’s what I did, eventually bringing Ruby Summers who was about 7 years old then, and then her whole class with families to visit. It became a THING! A really wonderful thing exciting a lot of kids and families.. and me.

    Your descriptions of these wonderful beasts was perfect! “Part giraffe, part Muppet, part stuffed children’s toy” and totally captured the fun and excitement of discovering llamas. They are friendly and so cute with their babies you just want to die from happiness while you’re with them.

    Dixie

    Oh, and by the way – they spit.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. When I get the email notice that you have written a new blog I don’t open it until I can be at home and quiet so I can relish what you’ve written. It’s like opening a fantastic present every single time. And your writing always, always makes me think about things in my own life. Your gift is so real and so relatable. Love the image of you running and being so happily surprised by the unexpected llama. I totally agree with Suzanne who wrote that you have caused us to look at everyday occurrences as opportunities for being extraordinary.

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    • This means so much coming from you Megan. Thanks for supporting me – you are so generous, my friend. If we ever get out of here, lets get together …

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