From my bedroom window, I can see several hundred yards to the
neighboring field and barnyard of a small farm. In this
field, a horse, pony, donkey, goat, and llama wane away their
time grazing and sharing time together. While getting
dressed in the morning, I watch this sampling of Noah's Ark.
However, it is the llama that attracts most of my attention.
He struts about the field with his head held high as if he were
better than all the rest of the animals. In fact, I was so
intrigued by this animal's behavior that I went over to the
fence to get a closer look. Surprisingly, the llama came
over to me and started talking:
Al: No, I didn't. If you and camels are related, do you spit like they do?
Lorenzo: Well, we aren't as bad
as our camel cousins. We don't spit at humans unless
we are mistreated. Spitting is reserved for other llamas.
Sometimes, llamas will spit in another llama's food. The
idea is to make the other llama move on to another supply of food
leaving the spitting llama to eat the other's meal.
Al: What kind of temperament do llamas have?
Lorenzo: We are pretty laid-back-perhaps an influence from our time in California many millennia ago. We are gentle and rather friendly. That's why I came over when I saw you at the fence. In addition, we make good pets especially for little children.
Al: That's interesting. You
certainly know a lot about your past. Since we both have
camels in our background, maybe we are also related somehow.
Al: I had no idea of your history.
Lorenzo: The ancient ancestors of the llamas are called procamelus. I bet that you didn't know that my forebears originated in North America during the Miocene Era, which was around twenty million years ago. About two millions years ago, some of us migrated west across the Bering land bridge and in time became the camels of Arabia and the Mongolian Deserts. The other camelids migrated to South America and settled in what you call Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina, and Chile.
Al: Did any of your relatives wind-up in Tibet?
Lorenzo: No, why do you ask?
Al: How did you get to Valpo?
Lorenzo: Well, that's a long and
romantic story. My owner's name is Jackie. She
fell in love with a guy from Bolivia. They visited his
homeland and Jackie fell in love with not only the country, but
she met and fell in love with me. So, I am a South American
import and pleasant reminder for both of them of Bolivia. While
Jackie loves her husband, she is particularly fond of me. It
is easy to get attached to a llama. If you don't mind
me asking, what do you do when you aren't befriending a
Lorenzo: I've heard about computers-what a marvelous tool! I guess that you really rely upon it for your work.
Al: I sure do. I went out of town over New Year's and was concerned about my computer working when I returned. What have you heard about Y2K and all the worries associated with the millenium change?
Lorenzo: I have heard Jackie and her husband talking about it, and it really seemed to concern you human beings a lot. However, Y2K was low on the level of llama concerns.
Al: Well, there was a lot of fear associated with the turn of the millenium. It was a milestone. I actually got into the excitement and celebration. It was fun to usher in the new millenium.
Lorenzo: New Year's didn't interest me or other llamas very much. Y2K wasn't a big deal either. We aren't heavy into computers. Two thousand years is a drop in the bucket for us. Llamas and humans have been dealing with each other for at least Y5K.
Al: What did you do on New Year's Eve?
Lorenzo: Not much. In addition to my regular diet: hay, a special grain mix, and my worm medication, Jackie gave me some peppermint treats. I snarfed them right down, but after I finished, I lay down and went to sleep only to be awakened several hours later by firecrackers and noise from revelers. Speaking of food and Jackie, here she comes to feed me now. Allow me to introduce you to her. Jackie, this is a new friend of mine. His name is Al.
Jackie: It is nice to meet you. It seems that you and Lorenzo have gotten acquainted. I don't want to interrupt your conversation. I need to get the feed out for Lorenzo, so I'm going to have to get to work. If I can help you, just give me a call.
Al: It was nice to meet you, Jackie. Your llama has been very friendly and quite informative. Thank you for allowing me to talk with your very special part of your family.I hope that we will meet again.
Jackie: I hope so.
Al: So Lorenzo, you didn't party at
all on New Year's Eve?
Lorenzo: Don't you see that life is a grand experiment and needs each of us to do our part in the great scheme of things?
Al: I don't understand the scheme. We put in our time, which is filled with struggles and hardships, and then it's over. That just seems like such a waste of time and effort.
Lorenzo: Come a little closer; I want
you to understand this. The beginning of understanding the
meaning of life is to understand that there is no meaning to
Al: That's good advice. In
addition to loving, what advice can you give me about living
Therefore, instead of doing what humans all too often do when facing a problem, trying to avoid it by denial-embrace it. Look at the problems of your life as opportunities given to you as a gift. Make the gift work for you and not against you. For example, assume that all problems have the potential for disguised blessings. If you do, you will look for opportunities to solve the problem. While we are talking, would you like to come inside the barn and see my digs?
Al: You have a really nice place here, Lorenzo. What will happen to you when you die? Do you think that there is life after death for llamas and people?
Lorenzo: I don't know about life after death. I've heard people talking about it and other llamas have been aware of rumors about living after death. I personally don't know what to think about life after death. I would like to think that there is something after this life. However, I don't want to dwell on heaven too much for it takes away from living this life here and now. Perhaps there will be something for all of us when we die, but let's enjoy life now. Your new millennium awaits.