Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Goats Go A-chewing

I am about half-way through Amy Leach's Things That Are. I wasn't sure what to expect and once I fell in with the rhythm of her writing, I was hooked. Reading this is a bit like traveling the Universe with Lewis Carroll and Dr. Doolittle. I actually am glad I am reading it on my Nook as I can look up definitions with the tap of my finger. She loves words and they tumble and repeat and writhe through these essays.

Ms. Leach divides the book into Things of Earth and Things of Heaven.

In the first we jump from frogs to goats to tortoises to beavers with a stop in the garden of peas and silly lilies. It is impossible to describe the imagination, humor, and knowledge that she brings to the page (or in my case, the screen).

Here, therefore, is a random sample from the chapter "Goats and Bygone Goats":

But goats are generalists: the world is their meadow. Leave them on an island --they will not spend all their energy on refusal and regret but will experiment until they find something new to eat, life sufficient condiment for the scraggliest fare. Put them in a barn with frocks and cigars and political pamphlets and toy blocks and banjos and yo-yos and frog leather -- they will try everything, even the barn studs. They investigate by chewing and chew more than they swallow, in contrast to sharks who investigate by swallowing and swallow more than they chew.

I love the image of goats chewing on political pamphlets and frog leather. And who knew that some Moroccan goats climb the argan tree to get at its pulpy fruit. Who knew that goats had such gumption.

I am almost finished with the Things on Earth and can hardly wait to shoot into space and float among the suns and stars with Ms. Leach.

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