A few weeks ago Lily, an avid farmer and writer, joined the crew at Fat Toad Farm to spend three months living and working with us. She is amazing and has taken on the renovation of a shipping and handling ‘department’ as well as a new farm store. Not to mention her incredible way with the animals. Here are a few of her reflections with many more to come over the next few months…
“For the first time, in the midst of my second week at Fat Toad, I am left alone at the farm to find the day ending peacefully with wind. I am sitting outside beneath the kitchen windows looking across the grass and the dirt road nearby — to the field that harbors the garden — which lies dormant for only a few more weeks.
In this quiet, only the dogs are moving — Molly waiting always for me to toss a stick. She picks it up and drops it over my lap repeatedly as I write this — reminding me — trying — trying again — persistent. Momentarily she pauses to notice and sniff the breeze — to assess it’s far off rustle, and feel it move in her fur. Her stick is wet, and mostly I throw it off my bare legs to be rid of the slobber I feel chilling my skin as it dampens my feet.
When she misses the pass and paces the grass for a long bit of time, her panting grows distant and the small echo of frogs in the woods beyond the field takes up in the slow, quiet silence.
A white sheep with a brass tail that twirls in the wind creaks as it spins on a pole in the grass.
And in all this, time passes — though it’s hard to believe.
Looking up, the sky is bedding on a milky stretch of cloud that covers all horizons and holds only the faintest wash of color drawn out by the sun – which has now set beyond the hillside to the west. Out over those hills, where trees stand ruddy, budding – darker clouds loom in the same unbroken stretch, bearing rain moving forward.
Then thunder really does ripple thru the sky — like in water — out above the darkly painted clouds. A cold breeze comes on. But the birds call out their evening chorus — unbroken — perhaps saying something about the weather, too.
I listen for the goats over the hill, and hear only a few chickens squawking nearby.
There are times and ways when the rain and cloudy wet weather feel like a hindrance to life moving forward. But to see it and know it as a part of a great and necessary rhythm — and to go out in to it, humbled, head bent, working — this is a great gift that allows one to enjoy things as they are — the way animals do.
As humans, we exist beyond instinct. We know desires and indulgence and drama and emotion. For some of that, I suppose, we are blessed. But right now, I feel blessed to be here where I am serving other lives, where I am, with others, nurturing the lives of these animals who are so sweet and so simple. By giving way to these other beings, so much suddenly becomes easier to take in.
Why not marvel at the cold wet air! Soon enough it will be what is green glowing grass…and by then the goat kids will be many days bigger – growing to a point where it’s harder to pick them up and to hold them and breathe them in. And all this rain water undoubtedly waits for our fingers to draw it up in the garden. I can feel the fertile earth beneath my boots waiting to push life through her muddy surface. What a mate she’ll make for the sun!
Thus, I do not mourn these rainy days, but grow evermore eager to see the change.”