then morning comes
I think conviction comes from how you feel when the daylight returns. I may wake up at three and not be able to fall back asleep at all, but when the sunlight hits the farm and the coffee pot starts to bubble on the stove, something changes gears inside me. There is work to be done and not on paper, but physical work to keep the place going. No matter what has haunted me the night before at first light the dogs need to go outside for a walk and relieve themselves. The horses are already whinnying for their morning hay. The sheep see me stir and run down to the gate, joining their baas and bleats into the heckling of the horses. The roosters crow, the chickens strut and coo, and the dairy goats start to stand up on their metal fence rolling their heads around in cries for grain. The pig in the barn snorts and while I can’ see or hear them, I know the rabbits in their cages have empty water bottles and are waiting like monks in meditation for more pellets. It is a circus and a symphony and it does not allow self-pity or concern about anything that isn’t happening right now to make 50 animals content.
With a mug of coffee in my hand and Gibson at my side the day is new and work is my new mantra. I carry hay and feed bags. I dump buckets of clean well water into troughs. Within fifteen minutes the cacophony of desire is quenched and you do not hear a sound outside of chewing cud and the occasional chicken’s cluck. Peace is restored through focus and action. It’s the same recipe my fear needs. If I let my head will with the cries of panicked animals I will go insane, collapse into the farm’s wontedness. But if I act, one task at a time everything falls into place. The electric bill is paid; trash is picked up on time, and the bank who share my truck and house get appeased for another four weeks. All of it can be done; it just requires a head down with ears back, facing into the wind like a fox having to cross a windy hillside. You feel exposed, scared, but you do it because you have to. The alternative isn’t an alternative at all. Because not making those bills means I cannot stay here. I’ve already made up my mind that I will stay here, and my faith in the entire wheel of the year, the holiness, the work and this farm are what keep it possible.
It takes a stroke of luck, faith, and magic to keep this place running. I subscribe to all three and believe none exist without the other. It is my faith that lets me truly believe that magic can happen, and that magic stirs the luck that keeps horses running uphill and lambs appearing on cold nights. It isn’t for everyone, but it is available to anyone, and I hope my life here—if it does nothing else—shares that possibility with people.
Possibility is all we need. It saves people.