Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘paying attention

Not Silent

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When Delilah suddenly barked at the door to the deck, Cyndie asked me if I had heard what set her off. I missed it completely. She said it was howling of some dogs or coyotes.

Nope. Didn’t hear that.

It’s not rare for Delilah to jump up and bark at some distant sound. Honestly, more often than not, I don’t hear what initially sets her off. When thunderstorms are on their way toward us, Delilah provides an alert well before I perceive the first rumbles. When it’s not thunder, it’s usually gun shots or barking dogs.

She is always quick to add her statement to the chorus. It is a general robust report of a bark, or sometimes several. When we don’t react to her concern, she often loses interest in short order.

Later, Delilah suddenly erupted with a distinctly different explosion of barking. It was pretty obvious that this time she had actually seen something that was setting her off. Cyndie went to the door to have a look for herself and Delilah almost pushed her over in frenzy of reaction over whatever was out there.

The last time I saw something similar from her, I discovered several deer standing right outside the front windows, almost as if they were teasing her by not panicking over her outburst.

Whatever she saw last night must have vanished immediately. Cyndie couldn’t get Delilah to settle down, so she walked her out of the bedroom. I decided to step out onto the deck. With no critters in sight, I wanted to listen for something that might explain the doggie dramatics.

I spoke loudly to be heard through the closed-door, telling Cyndie I’d seen nothing and it was silent out.

Except it wasn’t.

As I paused with hope of detecting some sign of an animal invader, it struck me how not silent it actually was.

Off by the barn, or maybe around toward the front yard, there was some repeating shrill chirp or tweet at a steady rate loudly making itself known. The silence I was interpreting was with regard to barking, howling, rifle reports, or grumbling thunder. There was none of that.

However, once I recalibrated my listening threshold, I became aware of a multitude of additional sounds. By this time, I was well past finding anything to explain Delilah’s flip-out, but I was wonderfully entertained by the growing number of sounds I was beginning to notice.

There was an obvious large truck taking up more bandwidth than was pleasant. Several other small bird calls were suddenly adding warbles to the audio track. Somewhere in the vicinity of where I was standing, a small critter sounded to be picking at some tree bark, but my eyes failed to locate it.

I suddenly stomped on the deck, hoping to startle a potential stowaway. Tuesday night/Wednesday morning there was a raccoon on the deck that had Pequenita smashing into the glass door somewhere around oh-dark-thirty. Our kitty was showing some territorial concern, but the ‘coon almost looked as if it had amorous intentions.

Nothing reacted to my stomp.

The night went back to being silent, except for all the ways that it was not.



Written by johnwhays

April 12, 2018 at 6:00 am

Stepping Out

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It it possible to pull into our driveway and roll past the barn and horses with hardly a notice when they have tucked themselves under the overhang. You can make your way to the house and get inside where a comfy chair awaits, plop your butt down and prop your feet up for the rest of the night, never having any sense of what is going on outside.

I know this, because I’ve done it.

With Cyndie able-bodied again, it is possible for me to come in the house after work and crash on the recliner while she takes Delilah out for a walk and tends to the evening horse chores. When I am over-tired, it is a real blessing, but it comes with a cost.

Just a day or two away from a walk in our woods and visiting with the horses creates a surprising disconnect from the healthy flow of energy each provides.

Like so many things, I became aware of this yesterday when I needed to cover for Cyndie’s absence when I got home from work. It’s not hard to do, once you get the body in motion. After a quick change of clothes, I was out the door to retrieve Delilah from her kennel in the back yard and off we went, exploring the trails that are a strange mix this time of year. They are snowy, though melting, getting muddy around the edges, yet still frozen just below the surface.

It was a function of being out of the house again that made me realize how insulating it can be when I remain inside.

After a tour of a few trails, Delilah and I made our way to the barn. The herd was wonderfully calm and serene. I did my best to match their energy and control my excitement to walk among them again.

After I had cleaned up the area and served their afternoon feed, I paused to capture a snapshot of the landscape showing the mixture of turf and melting snow cover. Dezirea must have sensed I was standing there and poked her head out from beneath the overhang to check on me.

I was happy to include her in the shot.

You can see she is sporting a fashionable facial mud mask that she applied all by herself.

I returned to the seclusion of indoors with a renewed energy of having paid a precious visit to the paradise that is always ready and waiting. All we need to do is step into it.













Written by johnwhays

March 16, 2017 at 6:00 am

Paying Attention

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I miss toast. I don’t spend any time at home after I wake up during the work week, so my breakfast routine has been significantly altered since we moved. It is a big priority for me to get ahead of traffic volumes which increase with every minute that passes, so I get out of bed and get on the road as early as possible. My breakfast happens after I arrive at my destination, eating whatever I packed in my lunch bag. No toast.

This morning, after sleeping-in to a reasonable hour, I awoke to the smell of toast. It was unmistakable. Cyndie brought me breakfast in bed. Eggs and toast. What luxury.

Following on my thoughts from yesterday, about noticing things, I am compelled to want to improve my attention toward living in the moment. This morning, before beginning to write, I spent a bit of time scrolling back through my posts here, to see the summer that was, and into last spring. So many posts about working to get this place ready for what comes next. It seemed to be missing the here and the now.

Right now, the morning temperatures are cool, and we have doors and windows open. There is a wonderful wind rustling through the top branches of the tallest trees. It is beautiful to see and to hear.

We have a lot of work available to be done. I will pick something and become occupied with it for a block of time today. My goal is to enjoy the project for what it is, and not just for what it will bring to us in the future.

Last night, we raked out the spot for the first round pen. Cyndie ordered some fence panels to enclose the round pen, and they were delivered last week. We want to get those set up.

There is a lot of work to be done to finish leveling the ground in the paddocks.

There are dead trees that I want to cut down with the chainsaw. One is becoming an obstruction into the pathway to the labyrinth. It will be first to go.

We need to cut some grass. I also want to finish using the power trimmer to clean the areas around our drainage culverts.

I want to fill one side of the wood shed with stacked firewood.

There is more, but that’s a start. I wonder if I can do them while enjoying each step for its own sake. It may take some practice. Luckily, I will have plenty of opportunities to practice.

Practice, practice, practice.

Written by johnwhays

August 24, 2013 at 8:20 am