It’s extremely doubtful this post will dig any deeper due to extreme weather on God’s part and extreme exhaustion on mine, yet, looking back at notes made last year, I see February 2014 was just as horrible and I lost three sheep – Harry and Sophie Shetland and my beloved Carly Shetland, age 21.
This morning, at 5:00 a.m. there’s no promise of dawn much less of sunshine and it’s only hope and perseverance that gets me out of bed. Well, perseverance and the fact Daisy wakes me because she needs to go outside. We all stumble downstairs and I open the back door to frigid temperatures, twice, and decide I might as well stay up and start a cup of coffee. Eventually, the sun shines and hope stirs that today might just be a tad more gentle than the rest of this month has been. Surely, February, you can end on a gentle note, eh?
Slow Living is what my life is called and it’s mostly concerned with what I call “heat and eat” or what Abraham Maslow called a hierarchy of needs: “food, shelter, clothing”. Should you click the link, you’ll find an article saying Maslow’s work “suggests people are motivated to fulfill basic needs before moving on to other, more advanced needs.” I find enormous humor in that statement because, to my way of thinking, there are NO “more advanced needs”. Certainly there are other needs, different needs, but “more advanced needs”…no. It could be I haven’t any idea what’s meant by “more advanced needs” and I struggle to think of some…work? Work is what I do because I love to do it and am blessed to do it…the work of my hands and heart is tending to this farm, these animals and myself. Self-esteem? Again, so tied in with my work that it’s impossible to tell where one ends and the other begins and I’ve never felt that way about any other job. Sure, I’ve always done my best when employed by others but those jobs didn’t give satisfaction like this farm, possibly, due to the bosses I had. It’s nigh on impossible for me to respect
a boss anyone who isn’t honorable, trustworthy or who is a Janus. Truth be told, I don’t even try.
The article says there are five needs: psychological (survival needs – food, shelter, clothing); security (employment, safety); social (belonging, love); esteem (personal worth, recognition) and, the highest level, self-actualization (personal growth, less concerned with the opinions of others, fulfillment of potential). Again, amusement because Dave once told me, “I wish you cared, just a little bit, about what other people thought of you.” My response, “Dave, I care enormously about the opinions of those whom I respect; the others…ummm, not so much.” That’s still true and it amazes me when people say, “What will people think?” and I’m blown away by the prospect people will think. What they think is between them and God and I’ve enough to answer for without concerning myself with someone else’s judgement.
Slow Living means daily, the animals need food and fresh water and that means going to the barn, twice a day minimum, to throw out hay for the horses and chicken scratch for the guineas. Far too often to suit my body, ice has needed to be broken and removed from the water trough and for that I use a crowbar and pitchfork. I’d like to say of all the jobs, that job hurts the worse but then I remember pulling the fire wood from the barn (one hundred yards, all uphill) and how it took three days for my body to recover (if it has). It’s hard work yet I take perverse pleasure in being able to do it and, when my spirit, yet again, faints at the prospect I remember so many stories told in Daddy’s family and find the strength (due to God’s mercy) to carry on.
I believe it was my third Great Grand Daddy and Grand Mother who made their way from central Virginia (late 1600’s – early 1700’s) to the Appalachian Mountains of (what is now) West Virginia. Joining a group of travelers, she and the smalls (toddlers, babe at breast, younger children and girls) drove their covered wagon loaded with supplies (food, clothing, cast iron cookware, etc.) and, crossing many mountains, headed to the new home place. Grand Daddy and the older boys drove the livestock in a different direction but they were all to meet at the new home stead in time to plant a late garden. When Grand Mother’s group got to a river (can’t remember which) they didn’t realize spring rains had dislodged the marker and it had caught, downstream, in a different place but not realizing, she nudged the horses into the water. Before anything could be done, the wagon overturned; everything, and everyone, was claimed by the river. When Grand Daddy got to the home stead the caskets of his wife and children greeted him.
So my questions are these: why and how do people who don’t know Jesus or have such stories keep going? What’s their motivation? From where does their strength come?
It’s a privilege go live here, on this farm, in this valley. Every day moments are mine to receive and they all matter because all are gifts. When someone would ask Aunt Bonnie, “Why have you never left the farm?” she would reply, “Why would I leave heaven on earth?” I believe she well and truly cultivated the gift of contentment and found joy in the moments because they mattered greatly to her.
The Canada Geese are back and staying at Maiden Springs where they have food and water
and Maiden Springs cave drips with ice that will take another few weeks to fully thaw. Camus said, “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” Summer is mine to claim as well; a merciful gift from God and the stories of family…those great clouds of witnesses gone on before.
I mind my moments because moments matter…greatly.
Blessings ~ Maiden Springs ~ my animals ~ witnesses ~ stories ~ heritage ~ winter ~ summer ~ moments ~