Peace in a pasture

When you live in the midwest, you never take a warm autumn day for granted.

At least I don’t.

So I chose this Sunday to stop by a farm I’m very fond of to see some friends.

They immediately ran up the hill to greet me.

It was if I they had something to share.

So did I, but I spoke first.

“Hey friends, snow flurries are forecast for later this week!”

They took off in a tizzy, though still managed to share a couple of smiles.

As for me and their Newfie guard dog, we peacefully looked at the crimson and gold trees and sparking water below.

We weren’t going to waste even a minute with worry on this beautiful day.

“That’s what winter’s for, right?” I said to the Newfie.

I think he nodded in agreement.

He then very calmly nodded off.

And so did I.

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Ham and cheese

While nibbling on the crust of a homemade cheese sandwich, I keep driving in drizzle until reaching the gravel road of the farm.

I’m on a lunch break from my job at a school and there’s no better place for me to relax and dine than in the country.

Eyeing the familiar jersey cows on the green rolling hills, I smile. The farm isn’t mine so I’ll find no chores for me to do this day.

I often walk these fields for miles, even in the rain, always leaving with a sunnier disposition.

Though today, I head straight to the barn.

Or maybe I should call it a maternity ward.

I missed the birth of the first nine piglets earlier this morning, but I’m just in time for the birth of the tenth.

I kneel with respect and amazement on beds of hay as I whisper sweet nothings into the sweet sow’s ear.

Wearily she keeps on working afterwards, feeding her tribe.

Chilled, I eventually rise to seek warmth from heat lamps comforting the baby lambs nearby. I sit down again and feel my blood pressure sink to the cement floor as I finish my cheese sandwich.

For a moment, I close my eyes.

I reflect on my lunches before retiring from a corporate job in the city six months ago.

Back then I’d walk a maze of skyways over honking, busy streets at noon. I’d then quickly grab Mexican fast food for fuel to take back to my desk so I could keep on working.

Yes, my life is quite different now.

I’ve discovered the miracle of birth is much more appealing than a bulging burrito anyday.

I open my eyes and glance down at my watch.

It’s time to leave.

Briefly I check in with the chirping baby chicks on my way out.

And then I return to Mama Pig and the piglets to wish them well.

Pushing open the heavy barn door after, I glance at the greenhouse to my left where vegetable seedlings have optimistically been planted.

I find myself feeling optimistic as well.

Quickly, I revise in my mind the tired Easter menu I was planning from a glazed ham to a fresh vegetarian quiche.

As I drive off, the sun suddenly makes a shining appearance above the hills.

And I catch myself humming, ‘oh, what a beautiful morning’ at the sight.

How can I not?

Winter’s unraveling

Convertibles go topless.

Old thick coats now an afterthought.

Hardy ice fisherfolk retreat to shore.

As kids clad in shorts shout, “No more!”

Then golf clubs appear as fast as the bikes.

As those cows in the country moo with glee.

Does that manure thawing smell seem almost ‘sweet’?

Or has spring fever now come over me?