While digging through my old writings the other day, I came across this story that I had written a year ago about a typical, simple, fall morning on the homestead.
It's Monday morning and there is a touch of enthusiasm in the air at the prospect of tackling a new week of work. You step outside and the world is alive after last evening's thunderstorm. The air is the first thing you absentmindedly comprehend. It is clean smelling, slightly nippy and all together fresh. As if you are breathing air that is brand new. You notice a now clear blue sky declaring the prospect of a beautiful day. The sky is darker on one side of the pasture where the storm clouds are fleeing from the rays of the sun causing the opposite side of the sky to be bright and beautiful. The grass looks already greener and the trees look illuminated with the light of the rising sun shinning through their still dripping branches. The woods are alive with the scattering of small animals and twittering of birds. Two birds in obvious love, fly around the branches of the yellow birch in the front lawn. All this you take in in about five steps. If you were to glance down the road at this point you would notice that the creek has swelled from the rainfall and is now rushing and gurgling happily. A cat runs to your leg and immediately begins to show it's affection for you by purring and rubbing around your ankles.
Let's stop for a moment here, (for who can just walk on by?) and take a moment to examine ourselves and the way we feel: We are content, nothing is pressing. Yet we are not bored or without anything to do - the milk bucket clanging by our side and the light moo of a cow remind us that we have a duty we need to accomplish. Our mind is clear. Our senses have been sent off in a pleasant way, our sense of smell is excelling, our sense of feel is enjoying the cool breeze and the purring of the affectionate farm cat. We don't have any fears; we don't have any questions. We feel good in an indescribable way. Turning, you would continue on your former quest, unaware of what you just experienced.
When you are almost to the little apple tree, you'd witness a sight something like this: Kids are going to and fro pleasing hungry animals with hay and water. Animals are munching, bleating and playing in their pens. You see projects that fill you with pride and memories of sweat and toil. Like the sun shining on your future home, that was worth the hours and hours of labor you placed in it last summer. Or a stack of fire wood, all cut and split, offering security for the winter months ahead.
More sights are pleasing your senses even if your mind is somewhere else. They are like vibrations that you can't help but to pick up as you pass each little scene. Freshly hung laundry is blowing in the morning wind. You smile at the knowledge that your smallest sister is ahead of herself on her chores. Everywhere there is something going on. The sheep are crowding at the fence as they see you approaching. They are so gentle in their manner and there is a lamb among them eager too, but unknowing why. The innocence of the lamb is evident and you immediately know why they call dear Jesus a lamb, even though there isn't a verbal word for it. You begin to pet the first one and instead of being disappointed that you have nothing for her, she immediately falls asleep under your touch. You wonder why us, in our worried, rushed and sinful lives, have the power to create such a feeling in this animal that has never done anything in it's life to displease it's Creator. You might greet the chickens who are scratching the damp earth for any signs of worms unlucky enough to not make their way back down into the ground.
Everyone is busy with their own chores and thoughts: Coming out of the garage heading toward the new house is Andrew with his tool belt strapped in place. Stephen, carrying a bucket, is passing the billy goat (his outward enemy and secret friend) and they greet each other with head tosses that resemble bucks but instead of fighting the billy turns back to his breakfast unconcerned. Theresa is carrying, with great care, one of her furry little bunnies to their daytime cage in the lawn. Michael is pulling a long hose toward the horse trough. Lizzy is on her knees in the goat pen doting on a new baby who is laying in the morning rays. The proud mother contentedly chewing nearby. Johnny comes out of the hen house dragging an ever present stick behind and declaring the arrival of three eggs. Two baby goats are atop the hay stack above you and are fighting over possession of the topmost bale. Humming, you duck the fence, stepping into the cow pen. Anyone looking on might wrinkle their nose at how much you sink in the muck, or at that smell. But in that case their minds are preoccupied and so they are missing the pleasures you feel stepping in that muck. Pleasures? Yes, there is a happy cow to greet you and a chicken jumping out of the way as you enter her stall. Your boots aren't that muddy and that's what they are for, aren't they? Her stall is full of hay and her udder is full of milk that ever hungry, growing little brothers will happily enjoy later. What is there to be unhappy about? You take the first squirt away from the bucket then you pull the bucket under her udder and begin the rhythm that provides such a good backdrop for deep thoughts, plans and dreams... Ah, yes. Animals are such gifts from God! They always feel what we can only feel when we are close to God and simple. Like that of a small child (and we know that the gates of heaven are always open to a little child). Little children carry this feeling I'm describing with them as well. You may think it's just because they're children and don't have any worries because 'Daddy' will always take care of them, but we need to understand that we have a Daddy too, whom we can also completely trust to the same amount that a child trusts and earthly father.