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Thursday, 11 May 2017

This is the Village of Beynac

This is the village of Beynac in the southwest of France. Here, everyone has one goat. 

They take care of their goat scrupulously, for they have only one. Some villagers care for their goat to the exclusion of everything else, grooming their goat, feeding it grapes and figs, and sometimes the milk of other goats. Villagers make cheese from their goat and sell it at the market on Saturdays, competing with other sellers who are their neighbours, since everyone in the village has a goat. 

Some goats make better cheese than others. There are a very few goats that produce a cheese their owners can sell for ten times what other villagers can ask for their goats’ cheese, it is that good. This is a very great accomplishment, perhaps the greatest. Above all, a villager prizes what his goat does. For that reason the villagers never go anywhere without their goat. On walks they bring a leash. At church they sit together in the pews. Some sleep with their goat. 

Every new villager must get a goat if they do not have one already, and this involves a ceremony of binding—just a small ceremony, you will see, if only to bind the villager to his goat. For it is a serious thing, owning a goat, caring for a goat. 

When a goat gets sick, you must nurse it. When a goat is healthy, you may show it off, and collect its milk for yoghurt and cheese, and sell it at the market on Saturdays. Your happiness depends on your goat, your sadness too, and a variety of other moods that you will come to know and experience. You are only half of yourself without your goat, and more than your whole self with your goat. Your goat is you; you are your goat. There is nothing that can happen to you that does not happen through your goat; it is everything, it is the answer and it is the question, it is the problem and it is the solution. 

This is the most important day of your life. Are you ready for your goat?

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