Today we are going to leave the snow behind. We are going to travel back in time to the day when I knew that magic was real and that dreams do come true.....
Come along with me to a special place. Leave your cares behind. Don’t bring your phone or your tablet. You’ll need nothing but the clothes on your back and your senses. The rest belongs to the man-made world. And, for a brief moment- or as long as you’d like- we will leave that world behind.
Pum…....pum.......pum… Your heart beats slowly and rhythmically. Your breathing… relaxed and even. You stop, turn around, take a deep breath, exhale, and your body immediately relaxes. You marvel at this place to which you have just arrived… feeling as if you have come home. Home, to a place you have never before visited. A sense of peace and well-being fills your mind and your body.
The sky above is a brilliant, electric blue, no haze of pollution to dull the color. Puffy, white, storybook clouds hang above your head like freshly laundered, goose down pillows drying in the sun. A gentle breeze tickles the hairs on your arm and whispers of distant rain. You can smell the freshness of the moist air slightly perfumed by wild honeysuckle.
In the nearby woods an Eastern Towhee sings to his mate. His song meets your ears as a melodic “drink your tea!” and is punctuated by the fade-away drumming of a distant pileated woodpecker searching for a meal of carpenter ants in the skeletal remains of an ash tree. There is much activity in the sky above you as song birds flit from tree to tree, busily tending to their nests of offspring.
Honeybees and flying insects buzz like tiny kazoos as they hover over the light pink wild rose growing on the shale hill along the side of the road... the sound reminding you of the hum of electricity as it races through high-tension wires. These tiny aeronautical laborers feast on nectar and reciprocate by pollinating blossom after blossom before moving on to neighboring patches of black-eyed Susans, daisies, and daylilies that grow naturally and abundantly in this place. Butterflies float through the air like brightly colored trapeze artists in slow motion… wings gently undulating as they touch down and unfurl their long, coiled tongue for a drink of nectar.
Life has found a balance in this place… a balance not disturbed by man. There is order and method to the natural goings-on and you marvel as you watch nature and its perfect choreography.
You sit for a while on soft, moss-covered ground observing, listening, breathing in the energy and freshness. You hear the gentle trickling of water as a tiny brook winds its way through the woods towards the creek that flows at the base of the hill. The sound almost lulls you to sleep.
It dawns on you that you have lost track of time. It might be that time has actually stopped since your arrival. You’ve had no thoughts, no worries, no cares. Your mind has been quieted by your senses. For the first time in as long as you can remember, your mind is free from thought or prejudice. You have entered the world of nature and allowed yourself to temporarily close the door on everything you have left behind. A sense of peace and renewal takes the place of thought.
Across the meadow from where you are seated, you see three young rabbits under the watchful eye of their mother. They softly hop through the grass, exploring their world… unaware of your presence… stopping here and there for a nibble of sweet, fragrant grass.
The scene mesmerizes you.
You hear the rustle of leaves in the treetops across the meadow and suddenly you feel drawn to the woods… as if a soft, hypnotic voice calls your name. You rise from your mossy carpet and walk towards the trees, entering by a narrow pathway, created by the comings and goings of white-tail deer. The narrow, natural walkway lies between two patches of wild blackberries… their brambles reaching out to snag your clothes – inviting you to stay for a moment and taste their plump fruits. You oblige – the tiny seeds crunching between your teeth as the purple juice stains your teeth… evidence of your succulent treat.
Beneath your feet, dry leaves crunch…the weight of your footstep releasing the loamy, earthy smell of the forest floor. Just above this carpet of last autumn’s fallen leaves grow lush, green ferns… their fiddleheads long-ago unfurled by early summer’s warmth. Colorful fungus grows from the decay of a fallen tree. Red inside-out-umbrella toadstools and orange Cheetos-like fungus cover the rotting wood. You look, but refrain from touching, aware that beauty often suggests danger. And like Alice, you’d hate to grow too small or too tall!
Onward you saunter, your eyes now focused on the path ahead. You wander through the forest, high-stepping over fallen tree trunks covered with lichen and moss, all-the-while avoiding the low, brittle branches of aged hemlock trees.
Distant movement catches your attention as startled deer, a doe with twin fawns in tow, run and leap through the woods… the mother’s white tail bobbing behind until she has led her youngsters safely out of sight. You have the feeling that there may be more deer here as you sense that other eyes are monitoring your wandering. You hear a rustling in the forest canopy above and see several grey and red squirrels hopping from limb to limb, un-fazed by the strange traveler beneath them who is tethered to the earth.
You come upon a low, moss-covered stump next to a tall, smooth beech tree. It beckons to you to sit, to rest, to dream for a while. You feel the cool softness beneath you as you settle into this woodsy conservatory. You close your eyes, draw in the moist earthiness of the forest air and lean your back against the bark of the beech.
Your resting spot is solitary, but you are not alone. You feel connected, in sync, serene, and completely at ease in your solitude. A subtle, layered world of sounds fills your ears. With eyes closed, you identify what you recognize. The “jay-jay” of a blue jay and the cackling laughter of a group of sociable crows grab your attention first. As you peel away the layers of recognizable sounds you are introduced to a new world with new sounds. You can only imagine the creatures from whom these songs emanate. You listen to nature’s soothing psalm, as melodic and complex as a symphony written on her manuscript of wind through the silken leaves of treetops.
Your heart beats quietly to the harmonics of the natural world. Your senses are filled. Your mind is quiet. You are but a lowly observer of a vast world, and yet you are that world. You realize that you are not just in this world, but it is within you as well.
You have discovered what you have been lacking. You have found nature and she has filled you with her spirit. You are not a stranger to this place.
Your soul is home.
This was my experience the first time I set foot onto the land that would one day become our farm. Every subsequent visit brought the same feeling of peace and tranquility. Day or night, the feeling was the same… restful quietude… a respite from the increasingly frenetic world of man.
Moving to the country was inevitably a trade-off. We traded the convenience of suburbia with its proximity to friends, family and work for the ability to immerse ourselves in the natural world. In doing so, we said goodbye to crowds and traffic, noise, air, and light pollution, and the feeling that life was rushing by way too quickly. We said hello to fresh air, bird songs, and the most immensely vast, star-filled night skies we had ever experienced.
We learned the gentle rhythm of time in the natural world, ruled only by the rising and setting of the sun. We learned to recognize the subtle changes that signaled the passage of months and seasons - that no calendar could teach. We learned to predict the changes in weather by observing wildlife, listening to the trees, and watching the skies.
We realized what tiny specks we are in this masterpiece that is life. And yet our magnificent insignificance is the greatest gift we have… to be but a minute part of all that is around us… all that is divine. We found ourselves surrounded by tiny miracles each and every day… miracles that go un-noticed for most as they rush through their busy lives.
Over time we built a life in the country. We strove for relative self-sufficiency as we learned to be stewards of the land with which we had fallen in love… gradually melding an agrarian lifestyle with the wildness of nature. We walked as softly upon the land as we could, always aware that it belonged not only to us but to each creature that had preceded us in calling it home.
Becoming a farm was a process. We explored ideas. We researched. We consulted others.
And then… then… we jumped in with both feet and never looked back. We planted and cultivated. We gathered what we thought was a good combination of livestock and fowl…careful to not step beyond our own limitations. It was important to us that each soul that came to live on the farm would have a safe, healthy and fulfilling life… as free from stress as possible.
The stories in this blog are bits and pieces of life on the farm and how that life evolved. We hope you enjoy reading our stories as much as we have enjoyed living them.
We have loved sharing our life with you over the years and will continue to do so for as long as life allows it. Many of you have become cherished friends. Over the past year, your comments and emails have been my social outlet. For this I am thankful. Thank you for reaching out and sharing life with us here on the farm.
Love, light, and warmth to you...have a wonderful day!!