Yesterday around sunset, something magical happened. I was standing near the sheep’s gate. I’d just thrown some hay in separate piles for them, (because new sheep politics require space at this juncture) and since I had a minute, I took in the view.
The sunlight was that perfect magic hour. The world smelled of lilacs and honeysuckle. Everything was green, after such a long wait, so so green... The King Maple in front of the house was making music, both the branches rattling and the bamboo and metal wind chimes clanging gently. Swallowtail butterflies and bubbly birdsong joined the chime with my slow heartbeat. My golden 2009 Subaru (her name is Holland Taylor), looking regal in the parking lot. The flowing pride flag, the distant sound of chicken fuss and horse sighs...
I looked over to the humble bit of pasture I manage. Most of the fields are all blocked off with electric netting, giving them time to regrow from early spring grazing. That lack of livestock meant the birds and rabbits were all out, enjoying their temporary grasslands. I was near my flock and looked over at places in the pasture where the healing was happening—then I saw them!
In the grass behind the kitchen garden—in the same place we danced around the Maypole a few weeks ago—two cottontail rabbits were playing tag. I assumed it was some mating habit but maybe they were simply relieved they made it through winter, too? They weren’t even 10 meters away from me, lost in the crepuscular horniness of it all! Kicking and sprinting, circling each others little white tails. What a show!
I watched them in the warm light, there was still plenty on this side of the mountain but in moments it would crest the fire tower and I'd be needing a sweater. These rabbits didn't believe in time or frost warnings. I'll tell you that much for free. They didn’t have a concern in the world, baby.
Maybe it was all the mayflies hatching, adding to the summer vibes. They were in a riot above us. I live on a mountain with a very active stream and lots of ponds and something about the altitude and how the water wraps around my property means I get this hatch announcement whenever it takes off. So there are rabbits playing, new lambs mummering, insects dancing, the sun is warm. And here I am, 40 years old and still happy just to be near some sheep on a hill.
Gibson helped with the lambs today, and that’s a heroic feat for the 13-year-old with bad hips. The lambs found a new way out in the back corner of the old fencing section. They were out in the woods and Gibson and Friday both helped round them up, me with my shepherd’s crook and two dogs swirling around the chaotic trio near the road.
We took care of it. Unlike all those years as a terrified woman that barely knew herself with a puppy, we just handled it as a pair of adults. Soon everyone was back in their fence, loose ends repaired, dogs resting near the fire I lit inside.
Did I mention the frost warning? It felt like a wolf cry so I didn’t cover anything. I brought some flowers in, because flowers mean more to me these days, but I wasn’t going to run out and cover the kailyard with sheets. Turns out I made the safe call. Everything this morning was sound and whole. Might have lost a tomato seedling but that one had one foot out the door and another on a banana peel anyway...
This morning, after chores, I took some electric polyrope and step in posts and turned my lawn into a temporary pasture. In a few minutes I’m going to do my morning yoga on my porch, with my horses grazing within arm’s reach as I practice. That's my time before I dive into work and the low-hum of panic that is my freelance life.
I need to catch up on illustration work and make some sales before the weekend to cover $240 in hay, but that’s two logos on sale, and if I promote enough I might make it. This is what I think about while checking emails, and while starting my to-do list.
I’ll move the horses out of the lawn by the time 2PM rolls around and I meet the pig breeder for delivery. I already managed to pay for three lambs and two of the five piglets. The freelance script I just handed in, that will cover one more pig and a bag of feed, if it gets approved. That leaves two to figure out.
But! I’m figuring it out knowing I made the April mortgage a few days ago, which is such a sigh of relief you just can’t know. That weight off my shoulders means I can finally see things like dancing rabbits and mayfly riots. Once some stress passes, you can open your eyes.
So this weekend is about figuring out hay and piglets, and doing it on a farm that's at least safe for four more weeks. After that I work on catching up from May, and saving towards June if I’m lucky. I'm willing to do the work, more than ever.
There’s so much to look forward to this summer. Litha and the community there, summer fishing on the river, horses in the mountains, new friends, first dates, ukulele strumming and campfire crackles, enough gardens and baby animals to fill an aching heart with busy hope. And I want to carry on with all that, the gardens, the work, the heat and healing of broken ankles and soft bellies - all through summer until that first waft of fall fills a tired August afternoon and my entire being starts to take on Autumn like a mantle. I can’t wait.
I feel lucky about that. That time moving forward excites me, even if I have no idea how I’ll find my way there.
Thank you to the five people who sent a small contribution yesterday to encourage writing today. I just wanted to be clear that no one has to pay a single dollar, I will still write here and it's always available for free. But if anyone wants to volunteer to venmo/paypal a single dollar, it means I will write a post the next day. If no one does, then I'll update when I feel like it. Might be the next day, might be in a month.
Please understand, that I do not mean a dollar for every post or from every reader! I mean, quite literally, if a single person anywhere in the world sends a single US dollar, and that's all the money I earn that day, I'll write tomorrow.
Yesterday five people send $1-$10 dollars and that told me I better sit down for at least an hour, and so I did. I like this agreement.