Once upon a time in a land not so far away, a little baby was born. He was the pride and joy of his mother and father. The entire community showered the little creature with loving affection. He was the hope of a small community, which had fallen on hard times.
The delivery was complicated in the manger, and a specialist came to the home and helped bring this sweet little guy into the world. He had large brown eyes, a whisper-like voice of an angel. He reached out and touched the lives and the souls of all who came to adore him.
But problems emerged.
The new little arrival began vomiting, and despite careful feeding by his mother and father, he continued to lose weight. He reached the point where he could no longer walk, he could not raise up his tiny head. The doctor was again summoned to the home and gave a dire prognosis to the family: “Your little boy needs emergency care in a specialty hospital with the technology and the experts to try to save his life.”
Otherwise, the outcomes would be tragic. He would die from starvation.
Early one morning, the entire family got into an ambulance and drove a treacherous two hours through heavy traffic and wind and snow of the upper plains to see the specialists. Multiple sophisticated tests were performed, and the only hope was to insert a feeding tube into his tiny stomach to provide fluids, vitamins, medicine, and the essential calories to try to sustain him during this difficult time.
The loving concerns of the entire professional staff were poured out on the little creature. With the loving care of the doctors and the staff, he slowly improved, his voice now robust, he could swallow on his own, and his weight gradually increased.
What a joyous outcome!
On the day of his departure from the hospital, the family was profoundly grateful to the entire staff who marshaled every resource to give the little guy a chance at life.
But this is no ordinary little guy. Bentley is an alpaca.
The alpaca is a species of South American mammals and are members of the camelid family. They are related to the llama and developed in the Andes Mountains of South America. The alpaca are smaller than llamas and were not bred to be working animals but are prized for their fiber used for making woven articles.
The gifts Bentley is giving are many. He produces fine fiber for others to knit into sweaters and warm hats and mittens. He shares his energy in a newfound tenacity for life and perseverance in the face of stinging adversity.
Alpacas, by nature, are calm, quiet, and peaceful animals. As we stumble through the darkness of military and political and cultural chaos, we need to pay attention to these magnificent creatures who help keep us warm and who help heal our troubled souls.
My wife, Peggy, and I have "adopted" Bentley who thrives on his farm in Minnesota with his animal and human families. We three wish you all an equally joyous holiday and a peaceful new year.
Visit Bentley at his home in Minnesota on the Homestead Arts Farm.
You can read Bentley's story in this book, available on Amazon.