My mother had a friend named Molly Arrison who lived in a quaint Bucks County, PA farm house that she and her husband, together, lovingly restored prior to moving in. It wasn't long after they had settled there that the couple began to acquire animals, particularly goats, to take up residence in the stone bank barn at the bottom of their property.
In the early years of my marriage and before the digital age, I visited my family for one week each spring to escape the endless winter of the Adirondacks and to reconnect with my parents. During the visit, my mother and I always made time to visit Mrs. Arrison at her charming homestead. Often, my sister, Sue and my little niece Amy, (All Grown Up) came along because they too anticipated the magic in Mrs. Arrison's barn. Among an assortment of chickens, two pet bronze turkeys, a long haired Dachshund, and a herd of friendly goats, we listened to the wisdom of this fine Quaker lady, so spiritually connected to her animals.
I have thought of Mrs. Arrison often over the years, mostly while in the company of my own goats. When hiking with them in the woods, or tending to their needs in the barn, I often reflect on how grounded the simple life kept Molly. Between tennis outings and trips she made to and from breeding arrangements with goats in the back of her Jaguar, she always remained very real.
I was sad to learn, a few years ago, that Mrs. Arrison, (only in her seventies), had passed away. Fortunately, in 1996, she had written and published a book of journal entries from her life on the farm. From the paragraphs of Getting My Goat; Seasons on a Small Bucks County Farm, Mrs. Arrison still speaks to me in nuances I fully comprehend through my accumulated years on Moose River Farm. Her Quaker upbringing and her passion for the lifestyle she and her husband chose resonates in my soul. Therefore, I am forever grateful for the precious time I shared with her and for the collection of thoughts and words that she has left behind in the pages of her book.
|Lilly, (age 6)|
My little goats,
Can you believe that
I see God in you?
No temple or cathedral made by man
Could match the beauty of your God-made eyes.
No words or music made by man
Could touch me like your God-made gentleness,
Your tender expression,
The warmth and coarseness of your coat.
God made us all so close--
So much alike,
And so dependent on each other.
And when we sit in the straw
In the darkness of the stall
And whisper together,
Did you know that
I see god in you?
by M.J. Arrison
From Getting My Goat; Seasons on a Small Bucks County Farm
My current herd of goats includes Lacey, Liam and Lilly. Goats are intelligent creatures who bond with their humans in a unique and spiritual way. Mrs. Arrison 'got' goats!