It's all too much. I read somewhere that we humans are really only wired to cope with the stresses, relationships and challenges of a tribe, of a village, of a few dozen people. All I know is that when I'm on overload, I'm grateful for chores. Moving hay. Feeding animals. Pitching manure.
This was the sunrise at seven-thirty this morning when I went to get a load of hay from Matt. I was hoping to get a picture of his pigs--they sleep in a pile and snore--but they were awake and eating breakfast.
Yesterday morning I finally had a chance to get a good look at the eagles living in Spencer a couple ridges over. One was eating a deer carcase in a field about fifty feet from the road. Then it flew to a tree in the hedgerow where its mate was perched. It was thrilling to see them: huge, powerful birds with such a presence, even at a distance. There are several pairs around here the past few years.
Today I turned off the news and mulched my garden until my muscles were tired and my mind was coasting and peaceful. There's nothing like manual labor to kick in those endorphins. My replaced-knee feels great now. I'm trying to push my body to adapt to a better range of motion, straighter posture, a smoother gait. And probably the most familiar action in my life is shoveling. Pitching. Repetitive movements from a million reps over thousands of days. So that's my workout plan. It makes me view the never-ending manure, matted goat-pen hay, and muck in front of the horse shed as opportunity and potential.
I let my small flock of chickens out of their run this morning so they could scratch all over the yard. The four hens aren't laying now. Last year they started up again the day after the winter solstice; they knew the light was returning. Tonight when I locked them up I checked the nests, hopeful and resigned. No eggs.
But one nest held a beautiful little white feather. A post-it note from a hen. An I.O.U.
I brought the feather inside. It's on my desk now as I type. A fluffy little white feather. It feels like a promise of all the good to come.