I love walking in the forest on a crisp morning. Birds singing and bugs humming, early sunlight filtering through the the luscious shades of green, accenting the dark and sturdy tree trunks reaching out of the fertile ground. The light scent of ferns and wildflowers intermingled with musky wafts of composting leaves and rich soil… I breathe in deeply and release any tension as I take in the beauty and continuity of nature, of life, really.
Thoughts, worries, doubts, regrets vanish as I see potential for play all around. An old stump rises out of the ferns. Roots above ground form a cave, and at a glance it looks as though a scene for a fairytale… I stand and watch waiting for the slightest hint of movement suggesting I stepped into a different world of magical creatures. I imagine tiny fairies and unicorns and sourcerers… For a moment I wish to live in that world. Just a tiny figure disappearing among ferns and stems without making a sound, safe from the pressures of life.
And for a moment, as I gaze into the tree tops high above me, I realize I am that tiny figure, surrounded by a world much bigger than the everyday woes and duties we call reality. A world full of possibility and opportunity and freedom.
It is snowing. I love watching the big flakes swirl and dance in the air and like a glittery powder cover the puffy pine trees and line the bare branches of the giant oaks around the house. It is beautiful for sure. And sitting by a warm fire, sipping hot tea, gazing out the window, I can say I love winter. But it is also harboring a sense of isolation as the below zero temperatures stifle my sense of adventure and activity…
I started helping out at a neighbor’s horse ranch and there are a couple of unsocialized stud colts I want to work with. But as the only space available is the outdoor round pen, my enthusiasm to spend time with the colts takes the back seat to my desire to stay warm and comfy and dry indoors.
I am longing for milder temperaturs and brighter sunlight to lift my spirits, and for the energy to rise up and take on the world. Luckily the forecast for next week promises milder weather.
As I am waiting out winter in preparation for the new life I will be starting – myself as a new farmer and with the seeds I will be planting and nourishing and cultivating – I am working at a dairy farm, milking 48 cows and, my favorite, hand feeding the new calves.
There is such innocence and curiosity and expectation in those big eyes… I am drawn in from the first moment and just want to capture that sweet wide-eyed expression. It reminds me of that wide-eyed inner child of mine that has gotten buried under the weight of growing up and striving to have and be and do great things.
As I watch the calves grow and move through the stages, outgrowing the bottle and eventually giving birth and joining the ranks of milkers, I can’t help but notice that their eyes never change. Even in the older, seasoned cows I see that same gentleness and curiosity and expectation…
Animals live in the moment and see each moment new and fresh. Unlike us humans whose vision becomes blurred by the accumulation and assimilation of every moment we live. We do not let go, we do not move on, every moment is measured against all that have come before. Until we overload, have to regroup, and restart. And finally open our eyes again and start a new life – wide-eyed, full of innocence and curiosity and expectation.
Here is to new life and big, open eyes. Blessings for a wonderful season and a fresh start to a new year waiting to be lived one amazing moment at a time.