Thursday, March 14, 2013

Demons, Dog Shit, & Grace Before Coffee

Yeti woke me up. The once shy Maine Coon has found his place here at the farm, and this morning his place was rubbing his snuffly face in mine while he purred me awake. He had slept beside Gibson and I all night, helping keep me warm in the chilly upstairs bedroom. It's chilly by choice, mind you. Once these days get over forty degrees and the snow starts to melt I sleep with windows open and lots of covers. I love the heat of that blessed cocoon, skin against sheets. And I love the cold room, and the smells and sounds of a farm waking up just outside. Give me chicken wire over glass anyway. Humans are not meant to live in terrariums.

Soon Boghadair joined in, and two cats were crawling over the now rumbling Border Collie. I finally give in and get up and feed them. I like my cats but they fall somewhere in rank of favoritism between the best sheep and the rabbits. I share my home with them because they eat and catch rats and mice and because I have low self esteem. This is proven by the fact that I wake up and walk downstairs and before a regal dog is let outside to pee or I dare start my morning coffee, the cats are fed. What can I say? I'm a sucker for flattery, even when I know I'm being used. Cats are demonic, but I haven't seen a drop of mice turd or flash of rat tail in months.

With the yowlers fed I take the dogs out for a brisk walk. They putter and piss and I walk alongside them in my morning uniform. I have on milk-and-mud-stained canvas pants. An old, wool sweater, and a hand-knit hat. I look up at the hillside notice the thick clouds of fog rolling up and down past the sheep. It is magical enough to give me pause, and remind me to go through the things I am grateful for that morning.

I find that if I don't take a minute to be thankful before the work of the day starts, it is always a bad day. You can't expect anything from the day without a foundation of grace, however scrappy. So I say my morning prayers while the dogs scamp and growl. Anyone driving by would see a bundled up woman with uncombed hair staring at a hillside while dogs wrestle at her feet. They don't need to know my secrets. Inside I am on fire from the lack of want. As if all the things I stayed up the night before worrying about were doused with lighter fluid in a big copper kettle and set aflame. All that is left is a ringing sound, a singing bowl. This is what gratitude can offer before breakfast. Even if you're stepping in dog shit.


Blogger Cathy said...


March 14, 2013 at 10:28 AM  
Blogger Alison said...

I really love this post--from the gorgeous illustration to the reminder that we create our own mindset. Saying grace every morning is a habit I should be in.

March 14, 2013 at 10:47 AM  
Blogger Chautauqua said...

"inside I am on fire from the lack of want"...such beautiful words.

March 14, 2013 at 12:10 PM  
Blogger Bottling Moonlight said...

This is truly beautiful. You are a master with words.

March 14, 2013 at 1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I needed this today. Thank you!

March 14, 2013 at 5:39 PM  
Blogger Tiffany said...

You are right-grace before breakfast does make the day better, even when you're slogging thru mud that you could lose a leg in (never mind a shoe), waiting for a dog to do her thing, looking like you just crawled out from a rock. Watching the sun rise through the trees always makes me stop and give thanks for the day ahead, for the day behind and everything that leads me to the place I need to be...mentally, emotionally, physically.

March 15, 2013 at 6:37 AM  
Blogger Kate said...


March 15, 2013 at 7:07 AM  
Blogger Imagine you will fly... said...

Jenna, I love this ... especially what you write in the last section of your post! I admire the intensity, the passion, the gratitude, the awareness and your being present in the moments of your live.
Being your own witness is surely one of the biggest blessings of an honest writer. To write about it artfully and masterful is topping it ...
Thank you!

March 15, 2013 at 7:49 AM  
Blogger Ann said...

I have been reading your blog for a long time now. Even though I don't often leave a comment I appreciate your frankness. You are always honest about the ups and downs. This post is absolutely beautiful!

March 15, 2013 at 8:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this--you are entirely right about taking that moment in the morning.

March 15, 2013 at 10:13 AM  
Blogger jules said...

"I share my home with them because they eat and catch rats and mice and because I have low self esteem."

I swear, this cracked me up!! That is the perfect description of having cats. They rule, nothing comes before them.

Thank you! This post was awesome and encouraging.

March 15, 2013 at 11:39 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I love your descriptions in this! I'm shivering just thinking of the cold bedroom. I would definitely need a couple furry friends to keep me warm.

March 15, 2013 at 4:17 PM  

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