Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘living in the moment

Year Ends

with 4 comments

Today is the last day of 2018. What do you make of that? I think it’s just another Monday, strikingly similar to all the others, no matter where they fall in a year.

Our animals don’t seem to notice any particular significance to the date. The passage of time is doing our balding Wyandotte hen a bit of good. New feathers are slowly growing in.

They have all handled the day of rain and following freeze well enough, mostly by spending the majority of the ensuing days beneath the overhang with the horses. For their part, the horses show signs of understanding the precariousness of the icy slope, but it hasn’t kept them from braving the danger to walk down to the waterer, even though we put a tub to drink from by the barn to save them the trip.

I noticed several marks of slipping hooves which was rather unsettling, but they are choosing to make the trek of their own free will. I trust their horse sense in this instance, partly because the last time we tried to outsmart them, it didn’t go so well.

Walking Delilah around the perimeter trails has become a treacherous exercise of trying to walk like a penguin over very unpredictable surfaces. She hasn’t been slowed much by the conditions, so there is an added challenge of being pulled along by her, faster than little steps accommodate.

When she stopped to give a prolonged inspection to something that caught the attention of her nose, I spotted this single stalk of some plant that was dropping seeds on the snow. It looks like such a delicate process playing out, despite the harsh elements nature has been delivering lately.

It’s just another Monday, and life goes on.

I don’t know if it is something of a placebo effect, but since we are now over a week beyond the shortest day of the winter solstice, I got the impression it was already lighter outside during our late afternoon walk.

Or, it could just be the dawning of a new year.

Farewell to 2018 and greetings to 2019! It’s all just a series of individual moments. May we benefit by paying attention to them all.

.

.

Quiet Evening

with 2 comments

After dinner last night, I stepped out to spend some time on one of the zero-gravity chairs Cyndie left on the deck. She pulled them out on Sunday to watch the Perseid meteor shower in the wee hours of Monday morning. I opted to sleep and missed that show.

Last night, the air outside was absolutely still. The sky was muted by a white-washed backdrop that held just a few discernible cloud shapes floating in front of it.

The temperature and humidity had eased to a perfectly comfortable warmth for the end of a hot August day. As I lay back in total relaxation, I tried to absorb the moment to the depth of my bones, for use as a reference in six months, when everything outdoors will be completely opposite.

It was so quiet, I could hear the acorns getting dropped to the ground when a bird hopped in the branches of a tall oak tree. The culprit was also adding to the soundscape with an occasional simple one-note, even-pitched tone. That was in stark contrast to the songbird who arrived in a tree behind me to show off a dramatic and richly complex repeating series of staccato chirps, tweets, and climbing trills.

I spotted a dragonfly high above me, near the top of the trees, and followed its aeronautical acrobatics of instant right-angle and logic defying immediate one-hundred-eighty degree turns in what I assumed must have been a feeding frenzy. It kept at it for a surprisingly long time.

The bliss of the moment served as a good remedy for my lake hangover. There might not be a gorgeous lake rippling in our back yard, but we do have plenty of nature in which to submerse ourselves, as an alternative.

Later, back in the house, I caught a glimpse of the doe and two fawns who hang out here regularly enough that we consider them family. They were loitering near the truck before disappearing down the trail toward the chicken coop.

I suggested to Cyndie that she should be extra quiet when she headed down to close the chicken door for the night, and maybe she would be able to mingle with the deer.

Delilah didn’t really know what I was watching out the back window, but she instantly spotted the flash of brown bodies and white tails when they darted out of the trees and crossed the yard to where the trail enters the woods on the other side.

Cyndie didn’t get to do any mingling.

She did find all ten chickens safely roosting in the coop for another day. I took the deer sighting as a sign there wasn’t any immediate threat in the area, implying our animals all enjoyed a quiet evening, too.

Egg production continues to pick up. Yesterday was the first time there were three eggs in a single day. I take that as another sign they are happy and healthy.

It all has me wanting to achieve an unprecedented level of full appreciation for the blessings we are currently enjoying, especially the simple ones like yesterday’s calm and quiet night.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

August 15, 2018 at 6:00 am

Great Indoors

leave a comment »

You know the saying. It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity. I don’t know what phenomena might be pushing the local dew point temperatures to extremely tropical levels, but it is driving our heat index into the triple digits again. I’m not a fan.

At the same time, I really don’t have much to gripe about. The workplace indoor temperatures are air-conditioned down to a level that keeps my arms cold all day in a short-sleeved shirt. From there, I step out to my car and turn on the AC for the long drive home. Our house is perfectly comfortable with the geothermal system making great use of that constant underground temperature in the upper 50s(F).

Of course, this works because I’m done with the time sensitive chores outside, enabling me to pick and choose whether I’ll go out and deal with the immediate elements, or avoid them.

It makes it difficult to pay true attention to the present moment. I’m off in some other world, down a maze of insignificant Reddit posts like hatted cats pawing attention-getting bells to trigger repeated delivery of a treat, or highlight videos of soccer players tangling for a header where one uprights the other and then guides his flip to a full rotation that lands the opponent upright again before ever crashing to the ground.

Cute, but basically mindless, compared with what is available in and around the space where I’m breathing.

Yesterday evening, I was describing my June week of biking and camping to a visitor and reminded myself of how in-the-moment that activity can be. We are out in the elements all day, sleeping on the ground in tents all night. Breathing the air, inhaling the scents, hearing the birds and freight trains.

We notice everything about the wind.

When I’m not biking, I pay no attention to what direction the wind is blowing. Why do I neglect to notice?

My habit of not truly being fully present in a moment allows for obliviousness to that kind of detail. My mind can wander to expectations of watching the World Cup final on Sunday, or mulling over imagined reasons why our 4 acres of hay-field have yet to be cut by the neighbor who, back in the beginning of June, volunteered so to do.

In my comfortable car during the long commute, lately I’ve been listening to deep cuts from my library of music, allowing it to carry me off to distant rekindled memories or fantasies of mastering my own version of various enticing songs.

I’m thankful I don’t have to be out in the heat, but at the same time, I regret how my avoidance accommodates a distancing from the realities of the present moment.

I take some solace in having just sweated through every layer of several sets of grubby clothes over the recent three days of heaving hundreds of hay bales. We were reasonably enmeshed in the moment for those hours of each day.

There is some balance there… and, always an opportunity to strive for better attention to the immediate pleasures of the artificial environment of a comfortably conditioned “great indoors.”

.

.

Good Fortune

leave a comment »

Some days we count our blessings in terms of the number of potential catastrophes that haven’t happened. Yesterday, in terms of all the things that could go wrong, none of them did.

On the other hand, nothing spectacular happened, either. It was just another day, which is its own sweet blessing of good fortune.

We feel awash in love from all of you who have been sending energy to us since the day in January when Legacy came to the end of his time with us.

It’s hard to tell if we are waiting for something to happen, or simply living what is supposed to happen. Is this it? Is this what our life in the country is all about? Are we living in the moment, giving and receiving everything possible?

It would mean a lot to us if we were to discover we are paying good fortune forward to the universe. The rabbits, squirrels, and song birds seem to be happy enough with having survived another winter. We’ll have to wait for the ground to thaw before we find out if the flora of our property did as well as the critters.

Personally, I wouldn’t mind pulling a Rip Van Winkle until the growing season starts. I’m tired. Wake me when the grass needs to be mowed.

Ah, but it is my good fortune that such thinking is just for fantasy. The truth is, there is something in every single late winter day to enjoy, like the light across the melting snow in the minutes before the sun drops below the horizon.

I wouldn’t want to miss it, even if it involves days that are otherwise unspectacular.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

March 2, 2018 at 7:00 am

Little Details

with 2 comments

In the slogging day to day of experiences that are hardly noteworthy, little details can become a surprise of noteworthiness. You can’t plan it. Things just happen. The greatest value is in simply noticing when happenings happen.

Yesterday, I was walking Delilah along one of our oft treaded trails when I suddenly felt this child-like urge to toy with her as obsessively fixated on some scent. I dropped to my knees in the snow and put my head next to her, excitedly asking her what she was smelling.

She seemed a little taken aback by my odd behavior, but carried on sniffing when she saw I was just joining her in the action. I zeroed in and put my nose right at the slightly discolored spot she had been checking.

Nothing, nothing, nothing, OH MY!

Skunk!

I smelled a faint, but very identifiable scent of a skunk.

Maybe if I would put my nose to the ground in the same manner that dogs do, I would gain a much greater understanding of why she reacts the way she does on our daily treks around our land.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

February 18, 2018 at 10:44 am

Coop Framing

with 2 comments

We worked on framing the walls of our chicken coop yesterday under October conditions that changed from cold to warm and alternated between sunny and gray. Twice we received sprinkles of very light rain, yet at a time when there weren’t any clouds in sight that looked like they could possibly be the source.

The weather didn’t slow us down from the task at hand, though, as we designed on the fly to figure out a way to use on-hand 2x4s from a variety of salvaged day-job pallets to frame up the four walls.

dscn5255edscn5256ech.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

With the addition of a couple long boards I found stored in the rafters over the shop, we were able to come up with everything we needed.

dscn5260ech

We are hoping to get away with using some plexiglass that has been lying around since we moved here, for windows to provide plenty of light. That will be augmented by translucent polycarbonate panels we purchased for the slanted roof.

The roof is today’s project. Then we need to figure out the ventilation openings that will be covered with hardware cloth to keep out unwanted critters. Siding will follow that. Somewhere in there will be the creation of 4 different hinged openings for access: to collect eggs, to pull out a poop board from under the roost for cleaning, and for chickens and humans to get in and out.

No problem. It only took me a few years to get this far. I’m sure I can have it ready for occupation by…

Never mind that. I’m living in this moment.

The future doesn’t need me trying to tell it what will be.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

October 9, 2016 at 8:25 am