Monday, February 1, 2016
Along with beautiful sunrises and sunsets, Spring made a momentary pause here. She stayed long enough to warm us into sixty degree temperatures and melt the snow away. It was glorious to step outside, smell the thawing ground, feel the warm sun, and utter the word, Spring.Well, perhaps with a tentative question mark after the word, Spring?
I had the privilege of doing the animal chores for our neighbors this weekend. The aromas of a barn lot have a magical effect on my brain; I am sure of it. I remember the first time I stepped into a barn. I was four or five years old and it was on the Mays' farm near our home. (Those were the days when we ran outside to play at very young ages with no grown-ups watching over us. On the one hand we got into plenty of trouble but, on the other hand, we had free and fantastic childhoods.) I recall standing in front of the huge, cavernous barn door, stepping out of the sunshine into the dark barn. I was both excited and afraid because I was young and I had never been to that barn before. I was also there without permission. My best friend and I sneaked away from our neighborhood to visit the barn. The aroma of sweet hay, manure, dirt, and old wood was a wonderful surprise to me. It was peaceful inside and not scary at all. I always longed to run across the fields behind our house, back to that barn.
Along with all this melting snow and rain comes the mud. It's one thing to squish around the yard with a grass barrier between booted feet and mud, but it's another thing to walk into an animal lot where sheep and cows mill about. That's a whole different kind of mud. Only by donning knee high rubber boots can this kind of mud be navigable and any fun. I slipped and slid my way around the feed troughs and gates and made a mental note of the smooth slipperiness of this particular mud. After I finished the chores and turned toward home, I realized the severe state of my boots. I ended up dragging my booted feet through some leftover snow piles. The snow was granular and it worked to scrub away the mud. It turned out to be a neat and tidy solution to a real mess of ankle deep mud.
The trip across the field worked wonders on my attitude. I got to smell the hay and animals, watch the antics of the ducks and chickens, and "play" in the mud and snow. These days I'm crossing my own field and I no longer need to sneak away from home (well... not usually), and it still feels magical to visit animals and barns. To me, they are some of the most peaceful places in my little world.