Mountain Goat Week?
You know that feeling when you come home and ask yourself “What is this mountain goat doing perched on the scary portrait of grandpa and is it me or do they both have the same expression?” Me neither. There aren’t enough free-range animals roaming high-rise apartments these days, and the mountain goat with his extreme grazing habits and craggy woolen wisdom just seems to be missing from our windswept urban peaks.
I often return to this vision: I imagine my living room bookshelves occupied by a mountain goat staring me down with nietzschean defiance. I want to empathize with him and understand what he is thinking. What is happening in his head that his eyes are able to burn through me like that? He has the wise air of an ex-snowboarder turned buddhist monk who says things like “when it’s time for the mountain to take you, it takes you.” Is that what he is thinking about? Do I look that offensively unenlightened?
Maybe he feels threatened. Maybe he thinks I’m after his onions. I seem to remember reading somewhere that goats are very protective of their onions. Not all onions, presumably just an Edelweiss-like sacred onion (no man can tear asunder) that grows only above the tree-line, and eventually because of climate change, nowhere.
He is looking at me like somehow I am his enemy. Maybe his worst enemy. What is a goat’s worst enemy? The Big Book of Animal rivalries doesn’t say. The anti-goat? That’s been debunked. Underpriced Feta? The abyss beneath? Maybe that’s the look. Maybe I’m taking personally a look intended for the void. A look that says “OMFG the gaping abyss is sooo boring.” Maybe the goat is both brave and insecure. Maybe years of high expectations and participation onions have worn down the goat’s self esteem.
Clearly, I am inadequately informed about mountain goats. Therefore I will extrapolate an urgent societal need from my narrow experience and say we are all direly uninformed about mountain goats. Maybe we should have Mountain Goat Week. Like Shark Week. I’m not sure what Shark Week is but I’m aware it happens. Which makes me more aware of Shark Week than most, if not all, sharks. Although it’s not impossible they celebrate in secret, starting with shark fin soup remembrance day, followed by three days of wild celebration culminating in the ritual sacrifice of a surfer to the Hammerhead God. When it’s time for the ocean to take you...
I’m not sure what Mountain Goat Week would entail. Mountain goat anecdotes? Say that out loud. Anecdotes like that time a goat named Voldemort headbutted a Utah paperboy and chased him up a tree. Google it, it’s real, I promise. And don’t google “what is goat’s worst enemy” because google and all google’s friends will laugh at you.
Mountain Goat Week is a time to ask important questions, questions like is it ok to name a goat Voldemort? I don’t know what I would name my goat. Nothing too princely, I don’t want to saddle my goat with the traditional “Billy”, only for it to collapse under the weight of the implied expectations.
But if we’re parceling out the calendar this way, maybe we need festivals allocated to more things. And not just animals. We need days celebrating plankton, zeppelins, meme admins, dumplings (with onions), ironing, ottoman headgear (shaped like onions), and also keep that festival where you all get together by the old town church, wish goodwill upon each other and throw a live goat out of a belltower. Under the judgemental gaze of a mountain goat perched on the steeple.
I’ll never know why for years I’ve had a recurring vision of a mountain goat in my apartment and never asked myself what it was doing there. I always felt like I was intruding on its wiser mystical presence. I only ever looked at it’s face and wondered “what is it thinking?” I never considered it might be thinking about mmm tasty grass and that the onions and disapproval were all in my head. Just because the goat looks like the shaggy ninja of wisdom doesn’t make it so. And I think the ability to trap me in an endless cycle of wondering is what constitutes mystique. And just for that the mountain goat deserves it’s own week. And it’s own trophy portrait of grandfather. But I’m keeping the onions.