Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘peacefulness

Admittedly Isolated

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I’m home alone with the animals again this weekend and contemplating the incredible peacefulness and beauty that I enjoy the luxury of experiencing here every day. This morning the horses radiated peacefulness under a foggy wet blanket of sound-dampening air. It was Delilah who disrupted things every so often with her random barks of alarm over imagined threats that really don’t deserve to be barked at from my perspective.

As I methodically made my way around the paddocks to scoop up recent manure piles, my mind meandered through so many trials and tribulations that we aren’t facing.

Our country has not been invaded and bombed by a bordering nation that was pretending to be doing our people a favor. Our region has yet to be torched by wildfires or swamped by unprecedented flash flooding. Extremist politicians haven’t maliciously trafficked hapless immigrants to our doorstep. We are not experiencing a shortage of food or potable water. We are not struggling with the debilitations of long-COVID infection.

The much more benign burdens directly impacting me this day include two issues that aren’t happening as swiftly as I wish. I’m wondering if the technician who will splice our fiber optic cable at the base of the utility pole across the street from our driveway works on Saturdays. Nobody showed up by the end of the day yesterday even though the cable to our house was buried last Tuesday.

I’m also anxious to receive a promised bid from our favorite excavating business regarding the landscaping of the slopes on either side of our new driveway. We’ve decided the job is too big to accomplish on our own and will require a truckload of dirt they can provide. It’s been a week since he was here to discuss the issues.

It’s pretty easy for me to preach about having a positive attitude about how great it is to be alive when I reside in a sanctuary of natural beauty and affluent comforts. I am sensitive about boasting too assertively from our admittedly isolated circumstances in the world, but my perspective is coming from having successfully treated a depression that shadowed much of my earlier life.

Our daughter is enduring the stress of knowing a vulnerable adult who walked out of her music school before his father did and has now been missing for days. Our hearts ache for those who are suffering.

I walk through our woods to a soundtrack of calling birds and water droplets coming down from wet tree leaves, the autumn aromas of fallen leaves just beginning to become noticeable. The horses huff a big sigh as I show up to clean the area beneath the overhang and serve up their pans of feed.

What can I do but send the love I experience out into the universe to flow toward all who face difficulties that I struggle to fathom, recognizing the privilege of my isolation.

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Being Horses

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This morning I am feeling overwhelming awe over my opportunity to live in such a beautiful place and care for these four rescued thoroughbred mares. In a conscious effort to compartmentalize all the ills and angst-inducing news roiling our planet, I am focusing on the peace and tranquility of my immediate surroundings and soaking up the soul-nourishing thrill of it all.

Being home alone with our animals brings on plenty of opportunities for contemplation. Half of me is thinking about which of our unending projects I can tend to on my own –chainsaw use is not allowed when I am alone– and half is wallowing in the bliss of all the pleasantries of solitude.

Partial solitude, that is. Delilah frequently reminds me that I am not totally alone. She also influences which projects I choose to tackle and when because some tasks don’t lend themselves well to having a leashed dog along. I am extremely grateful for her patient tolerance of my extended lingering this morning after tending to the horses.

The completion of the morning routine at the barn is regularly the trigger for returning to the house to feed Delilah breakfast. That she would accept any delay in being fed is absolute generosity on her part.

While the horses were calmly consuming their morning feed servings today, I quietly made my way down to open the gates to the freshly cut hay field. I was dumping a wheelbarrow of manure onto the most active compost pile when the horses took advantage of the renewed opportunity to roam the front field. They were just making their way over the hill and out of sight when I returned to the barn.

Curious about what was drawing them to immediately head to the farthest reaches of the field, I convinced Delilah to walk away from the house toward the high spot in the driveway to see what the horses were doing down by the road.

They were munching on the grass along the fence line as if in a gesture to demonstrate that they could. It was as far from the barn as their confines allow. With Delilah’s generous patience providing me ample opportunity, I just stood and watched our herd of four gorgeous horses being horses. Mix turned first and began to make her way back up the rise in the big field.

She stood at the top for a moment and looked absolutely regal, then moved into a happy trot down to the gate into the paddocks. The other three walked along behind. They appeared to be reveling in the regained access to the full reaches of their current home.

It is such a rewarding honor to be able to give them as much autonomy as possible throughout each day.

Their happiness is contagious.

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Written by johnwhays

July 3, 2022 at 10:21 am

Sunrise Serenity

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It was about as peaceful as our place can be this morning as Delilah and I made the rounds. The serenity was only interrupted once when Delilah felt the need to respond to the distant barks from a dog far across the valley. The only other sounds humming along were the cooing of the barn pigeons and the munching of four horses happily chomping their feed.

Our labyrinth is glowing with the fall colors in the trees that surround it on three sides.

We are looking forward to a run of several warm and sunny fall days ahead.

I intend to soak up as much serenity as I am able. [big sigh]

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Written by johnwhays

September 26, 2021 at 9:38 am

Reclaiming Peace

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The days following a disruptive weather event can be a confusing mix, emotionally. The threat has lifted and calm ensues, but the anxiety adrenaline hangover lingers. We are lucky to have dodged any significant damage or loss of power, but the multiple inches of dirty snow/slush, speckled with innumerable broken branches, delay the feeling of relief we seek.

Thank goodness for our hills and valleys that break up the wind around here.

The open terrain to the west didn’t protect the overexposed, iced up power poles lining roadways.

We don’t have anything near that level of clean up facing us. That must have been a real shocker to come upon.

Some of the local hunters stopped by for permission to cross our property with their dogs in search of coyotes. A short time later, gunshots rang out.

I had watched as the group of hounds calmly traveled out of the neighboring corn field and into the woods, with a single hunter walking behind them. After they disappeared into the ravine beyond our property, we never saw another glimpse of them.

One of these days, I’m going to ask if I can tag along. It occurred to me yesterday, that in all our years here, I have never actually seen a coyote. I’m curious about the logistics of how they finally get proximity to shoot, and then how they find their way out of the woods while carrying their kill.

In less than three weeks, our annual participation in the World Labyrinth Day peace walk will be upon us. We are finding it difficult to envision how we might be ready.

It’s not just the peace pole that can’t stand up in the soft earth. The stones balanced at each turn spend more time toppled that upright with all the freezing and thawing going on.

Our exercise may just be to claim our peace with accepting things just as they are.

Windy, calm; wet, or dry.

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Written by johnwhays

April 14, 2019 at 9:37 am

First Aroma

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It was one week ago that I wrote about the waning days of summer and my noticing colored leaves in our grass beneath the tree that always turns early. Now, on the last day of August, it’s probably right on schedule that I noticed my first scent of dry leaves in our woods.

It doesn’t even look like there are enough leaves on the ground to be noticeable, but the smell is there.

I was doing some forest bathing with Delilah and breathing in the aroma as we walked the trail. It made me think of September, and then I realized that the month begins tomorrow.

The smell may not be early, but it seems like it is.

Last night was a gorgeous summer evening with a perfect temperature and fabulous sky when Delilah and I headed out later in the evening to tuck the chickens in their coop for the night. The horses had wandered through the open gate out onto the grass of the middle pasture again, and the scene was a perfect picture-postcard moment.

In sharp contrast to the travails of so many other people and places in the world, the sanctuary of our property is quite the healing balm for whatever assails my being.

The aroma of fallen leaves comes as a particularly precious added bonus.

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Written by johnwhays

August 31, 2017 at 6:00 am