A week or so ago, Michael and I were driving around town when a commercial for the Missouri Alpaca Show came on the radio. I gasped and nearly screamed "DID YOU HEAR THAT?!?!?!" Michael gave me his sideways look he reserves for crazy people and said "I'm not sure what I heard." So I repeated the commercial information and emphasized that it was a FREE event with FREE parking. He sighed and said we could go if I wanted. If I wanted to go? Of course I wanted to go. Plus I knew that we would have the Cabbage that weekend and free alpaca show basically means free alpaca petting zoo. The night before we were supposed to go, Michael said to me "You know they're just going to try to sell you an alpaca. What are you going to say when they do?" I sat up straight and raised my right hand and said "I will tell them 'NO! We can't have an alpaca because we live in the city!'" Then I whispered "how much is the alpaca?"
Despite the possibility that I would most likely come home with an alpaca, Michael drove us all to the show on Saturday. The Cabbage had zero desire to go see alpacas, but once we were inside, she changed her tune. She went from the bored dead faced look that she will torture her mother with when she's a teen to a look of pure joy, exclaiming "OHMYGOD! They're all so cute!" And they were all so cute and soft and cuddly. Your soul just felt better, lighter, just by being in the same room as the alpacas. Michael also changed his mind about alpacas, moving from a stern 'NO!' to a maybe someday if we move to a place with more land because it turns out that alpacas need more space than what our backyard would provide. Also, you can't just get one alpaca. Alpacas need buddy alpacas and it is heart breaking to see them separated from their buddy. We watched as one guy pulled one of his alpacas from the pen to take to the showroom. The other alpacas in the pen tried to follow and one in particular stood staring at his buddy being lead away and let out a very quiet sad moaning sound. I almost cried out "For the Love of God! Take them together!"
We didn't just cuddle alpacas. We learned that alpacas are very sweet and gentle. One even kissed the Cabbage on the nose for no other reason then because the Cabbage was there. They can be trained in agility and obedience and are very smart. We watched women from the local fiber guild process alpaca fiber and spin it into yarn. Some women were sitting around knitting. One woman had a table loom out and was giving demonstrations on how to use it. I watched and listened to her explain how to use this simple loom and realized that the real danger was not that I would buy an alpaca. If they had been selling looms at the Alpaca Show, I would have purchased one right then and there. Michael even said "you could do that while sitting around the campsite!" The loom folded up and could be stored easily. It was wide enough to make scarves and shawls. I've been talking about trying to teach yoga classes at some of the campgrounds when we travel. I could sell scarves and shawls too! I could be a real traveling hippy girl!
We left the alpaca show without an alpaca, even though Luigi smiled at me beguilingly. There was one alpaca farm there advertising alpacas as the 'next best thing to a unicorn'. If I were to have my own ashram, you would spend time caring and communing with alpacas and your daily meditation practice would be working a loom. Then you would spend more time communing with the alpacas, listening to their gentle hums of peace and acceptance.
Alpacas might just be better than a unicorn.