On days when we don’t have time for longer walks, we visit the goat that lives down the street and around the corner. She likes to stand watch on a raised platform in a home under construction. We have never seen any progress on the building of the house. It remains a concrete shell with holes for windows and doors.
We don’t know the name of the goat’s owner. We only know that he has a bright white smile and is amazingly fit for his age. He lives on the long narrow lot next to the almost-house. We’ve never seen him idle. He is building a fire to cook dinner, or hammering something into place on the meager wooden shed that is his home, or moving piles of things from one spot to another.
We go to look at the goat but spend most of the time looking at him. He greets us happily each time. We rely on hand signals and smiles because it is the language we have in common. Unlike most of the other houses on the street, there is no fence or gate surrounding his place. He has no secrets and invites all eyes who pass in.
His goat stares with her widely spaced eyes and sometimes speaks to us if she is in the mood. Goats are strange creatures. She’s our excuse to stop and watch awhile. If there were any shrubs or small trees lining his property, she has eaten them already.
Inevitably, each time we walk back, the wall around our home looks bigger and taller than before.