I now have only 2 days left here, and have mastered the coffee making. It has been hot, like 90's hot with high humidity. The skies this morning are gray and there is a bit of morning fog out on the prairie.
After my breakfast I head out to check on the puppies. All of them now have their eyes open and have started to try to walk. It is adorable and amusing at the same time. You realize how vulnerable these little creatures are as they begin to navigate the world now that they can see. The goal is still to find their mother and nurse as much as she will allow. Their bellies are getting rounder and more pronounced. I take turns picking them up and nuzzling them. This is one of my responsibilities, to socialize the pups. However, what I have also discovered is that holding puppies is a good kind of therapy. They smell like sweetness, their fur soft as flower petals, they are warm and enjoy being held.
It is a fairly uneventful day so far, chores done and after lunch we head out to the pool with taquitos and water bottles in tow we're set to cool off and hang out. After about an hour or so there, the winds pick up and clouds roll in and the skies blacken; lightning happens. They clear the pool and we leave. Storms roll in as we pull up to one of the girl’s friend’s house. We hang out there while things subside. Back in the car we make the trek back to the farm. Everything looks intact. The girls and their friend are busy playing, while I am cleaning eggs and preparing for dinner.
As I prep dinner, I start to think about what I have learned each day that I have been here: more acceptance, trying and learning something new everyday, letting go of control, letting go of outcomes, learning from kids, learning from the animals.
After dinner my friend who owns the farm calls and checks in on me. "So has the novelty worn off yet?" I start laughing and tell her "I have never thought of this as a novelty, this is a lot of work and I knew it would be and I am still enjoying it."
Later in the evening after the girl’s friend has left, the rains came in again and we decided to do more painting. We had an enjoyable evening of pop music and painting while in the solarium room, that is until the next song on the playlist came on and it started out with a sentence full of expletives! Both the girls looked at me and I was caught off guard and they were waiting for my reaction. I skipped the song and started laughing saying their mom would probably not let me care for them again. Then we all started laughing hysterically which made the one girl decide to do yoga.
As younger girl started doing yoga she told me "this is cow and this is cat." My uncle taught us how to do yoga." Nice, I said, "but the first one you did is cat, and the second one you did is cow." No it is not she insisted. I tried explaining to her the difference, then I finally said "here's the thing, I am a certified yoga instructor and I know the difference between cat and cow." They both stopped and looked at me, and older girl says "What are you not!?" We all busted out laughing and I told her that that was the best question I have ever been asked in my life! The evening continued to be enjoyable and silly.
As I lay in bed that night, I thought a lot about what older girl said to me. There was so much I wanted to tell this eleven year old. I wanted to tell her that "I am everything, and so are you”. I wanted her to know that by the time she was my age there would be little she wasn't and that she will have done and tried a thousand more things in her life. That there will be times that she will feel this is the happiest time, or this is the worst time. She will think she knows herself only to change and evolve into someone she doesn't yet recognize. Hopefully she will also experience a heart filled with love, and learn how to heal her heart when a relationship ends. That life is an ongoing learning and growing process if you allow yourself to trust yourself and believe in yourself. I want to shout, stay true to you, don't try to become anyone else other than you, because only you can be you, and you are already amazing by virtue of the fact that you exist. Lastly I want to tell her what other people think of her is none of her business. At the end of the day, it is you who you come home to.
I start to fall asleep and my thoughts trail off to wondering if my eleven year old self would have benefited from these words. I don't know, but it is likely that I may not have believed any of it, or even listened. I would have been my eleven year old self just beginning to wake up to the world ahead of me.
It is Sunday, the day of rest, unless you are on a farm. I slept in until 6:00 and decided to stay in my pajamas and flip flops and drink coffee out on the deck. I nailed making the coffee this morning on the first try and wah-lah, coffee happened.
I headed out onto the deck with coffee and cell phone in hand. As I closed the door I heard a loud and close by "Mah! Mah! Mah!" I turned around and there was one of the lambs. Choco-lamb as I call him, was outside of the barn standing there calling out to me but actually for its mother. I began walking over to the lamb trying to figure out how the heck he got out and how the hell I was going to get him back in?! My outfit was an instagram moment for sure as I was wearing all the wrong things for dealing with farm animals. I've got on pajamas, robe and flip flops, not in the best position to be doing this work, but I didn't want the lamb to take off and run away either, so I risked stepping into all kinds of animal feces, and stepping on or potentially falling into God knows what. Tetanus shot? Check!
I started getting pretty close to Choco-lamb until he ran over to the entrance of the barn which was locked, so I knew he didn't get in that way. As I tried to coax him into the barn, he was having none of it and literally jumped 3 feet off the ground and ran around and into the side barn area that he clearly escaped from. Of course being a dog owner, I told the lamb to "stay, stay, stay!" As I entered the barn laughing at myself I opened up the door to the lean-to and there were zero sheep in there except for Choco-lamb. Also, there were no sites or sounds of sheep anywhere, no wonder choco-lamb was crying. His mother was lost and he was separated from the herd. At this point I realize I have probably lost an entire herd of sheep and I'm wondering how I will explain this; my laughter is gone and my adrenaline is high. In the meantime with choco-lamb back in the barn, I walk then run into the house and upstairs to wake up the boy.
The boy says they are out there, probably on another pasture. I tell him he needs to get up because I can't see them on any pasture! As he's telling me it is fine, I am in the other room throwing on clothes and running out the door to find where the sheep are. The boy is already down there as I catch up with him. He maintains they are out there. He starts climbing the big gate and so do I.
I climb three big gates in succession. Yes! I still have gymnastics muscle memory, contrary to what my inner thighs are telling me as I swing my legs over. We walk the pasture and it is silent, this is not good, we continue walking, though now uphill and he says "See, there they are, the electric fence must not be on, they crawled under the fence to get into another pasture." What other pasture? I didn't know that there was another one. It all looks like just one big area to me.
Choco-lamb runs back out to his mama, and now all of the sheep see us, and they start running towards us, first en masse, but then they form a single formation which is so fascinating and humorous at the same time. They are all calling out "mah, mah, mah". I asked the boy what do we do now? He says "they will just run past us, they think we have food, I'm going to go turn on the fence." The boy is right, single file they run past us, including the lambs.
The boy is so calm and knowing, as if this happens everyday like the sun coming up. There is no freaking out that is visible in words or manner. At 13, he is already more capable than most 18 year olds who leave home. I cannot stop talking because I am so thankful that the sheep were not gone. It's amazing how the mind creates stories, and my mind is wonderful at coming up with very dramatic life threatening scenarios.
The boy teaches me how to turn on the fence, you just plug it in and check the voltage. I thank him and tell him to go back to bed. It is now 6:30 am, my coffee is cold and I don't care. I pick up my 23 year old Starbucks thermos tilt my head back and drink the whole damn thing. Somehow the java counters my adrenaline rush and I relax. I call my husband and tell him the whole story, we are both laughing and all is well.
Everyday that I am here, I am learning new things, and being challenged physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I'm sleeping very deeply and soundly. My take away each day is lots of gratitude for this place and these experiences. I continue to show myself what I am still made of: physical strength a capable mind and a spirit that is still interested and ready for the adventures that life keeps providing.