Some may think it looks like a lonely walk I’m taking this mid December day.
Just me, a backpack, and my camera trudging across ice and mud through a midwestern farm field.
Especially while everyone else is driving to big box stores and crowded malls.
But I am exactly where I want to be.
A 50 degree day in the snow belt is a glorious gift this time of year, even if the fog is thick and the air heavy.
I find peace in the quiet of the pasture, even with the gentle moos from the cow over the hill as I take every step.
I keep up my brisk pace, stopping briefly to take pictures as something catches my lens. The sight of the sheep sooth me just beyond, and even the clucking chickens cooperate.
But an hour later I know it’s time to get my chores done back home, just as my host finally shows up to greet me.
He’s a charming barn cat, and also a friend.
We visit briefly.
He then circles my old boots again and again, begging me to stay.
I linger a bit longer, stroking his back for a while. And also scratching briefly behind that left ear.
It’s his favorite.
My friend finally escorts me to my car, waiving goodbye with his long tail.
“Until next time,” I respond.
Returning home I notice my fellow’s left me a little gift.
Thick white hairs sparkling bright against the legs of my black jeans.
I smile in gratitude.
As I believe he knew I eventually would.