We are in the thick of the COVID-19 shutdown. Even if we refuse to give way to fear, it affects us. Before all this, I believe we were unaware of just how much we had disconnected time itself for ourselves and families.
We’ve been rather like teenagers who refuse to look up from their phones, making it necessary to take the devices out of their hands. That’s been us. A lot has been removed from our hands. We weren’t even aware of just how far we’d wandered from our own kitchen tables and living rooms.
I stood in line in a grocery store that resembled a Black Friday sale. Many times, I’ve said to myself how grateful I am that I live where and how I live — not just because in many ways we’re self-sufficient, but also because all around us, spring is bringing new life. So, my friend, let me remind you of how blessed you are because of where and how you live by sharing some things from my own list of thankfulness.
A dove wakes me with her morning praises. When I open the door of the coop, chickens pour out, clucking and pecking. The pony informs me she should be fed first as the donkey draws in his good morning “he-haw.”
The goats put their front feet up on gates for a better view while babies climb on their backs. How those furry kids love to twist, twirl and jump in the morning!
I linger over my chores because there is honestly great joy in doing them. Opening gates and turning animals out gives me such pleasure. They are clueless of the chaos, content to wander and feed and lie down in green pastures. Life is flourishing.
School-age grandbabies without regular school come, and there’s time to be cowboys on the pony, explorers in the woods and fort builders near the creek. Without a commitment to the clock, they giggle at the delight of baby goats fighting over space on their laps. There’s the counting of new chicks and the sorting of seed that will soon be planted. The knees of our jeans are dirty, and I thank God for boots as we come in to clean up for a homemade meal. Chairs around the table are filled and the book we’re reading aloud together opens to trigger our imaginations.
Flowers we picked sit in the center on the table. Cheeks are pink from the sun. We all smell of fresh air. Later, when the stars come out at night, there’s time to gaze upon their wonder.
This is a shift, a forced bringing together that allows our attention to be drawn to one another, to the wonder of the world around us as well as to the fragility of life. Pause when you walk outside and notice just how blessed you are, living where and how you live.
Rural folk, keepers of livestock, those who live and work by the soil, aren’t we the most very blessed upon Earth? We get to see life, birth and death so intimately and beautifully.
Appreciate it all my friend, and may our hearts and souls be reminded of just how far we wandered, maybe enough to not let our wanderings happen again.
McClain writes from Greenwood, Ind.