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?