In less than twelve hours we’ll walk across to the old farmhouse to ring the bell ten times. This morning as I walked through the lower pasture, the barnyard, and up to the north pasture my thoughts crossed as many paths as tracks I saw in the melting snow.
Although I’ve been coming to this farm since I met Christopher over eight years ago, first on weekends, then when I left my office job we began trading time with his father sharing the farmhouse, and for the past nine months I’ve had the pure joy of living here full time. I have become deeply connected to this parcel of land. It is my home – something I feel bone deep. When I was crossing through the barnyard just past the corral, I spotted an odd shaped rock slightly protruding from the ground. Always curious, I bent down for a closer look. It wasn’t a rock but a splinter of bone. Nothing unusual for a farm, the bone was probably from a cow or deer.
As I began my ascent along the path of the north pasture I could hear the bells of the monastery adjacent to the farm. Ten minutes until the 10am mass. As the bells peeled so did the tires of two vans along the dirt road as members of the flock raced to worship. I stopped and enjoyed the ringing that was accompanied by crow caws and bird calls, then continued on my walk. Both Martha and Stormy had joined me in their own fashion – sniffing and following smells. Deer tracks, bird scratches, and dog prints marked what was left of the snow along the path. I walked slowly enjoying and acknowledging the sounds, smells, and wind against my face, a different kind of worship than my neighbors. Solitude and Nature have become my chapel.
We cannot know what the coming year will hold. Yet people across the globe will make resolutions, goals, or intentions. “Should I?” I wondered. There are things I want to focus on – to knit ten shawls, to be less judgmental, to be truer to myself, to journal regularly, to learn the names of more birds and wildflowers, to work on my posture…
But what is the difference between resolve, goal, and intent? I went to the dictionary for a proper definition.
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Resolve – to reach a firm decision.
Goal – the end to which effort is directed.
Intent – an object or end to be attained.
Which definition fits those I’d like to focus on? And is one more sincere than the others?
I honestly don’t know. What I do know is that I am like that bone in the barnyard. I am embedded, a little bit exposed to the elements but sunk deep into a place I love. Can I, should I, strive more than that? Isn’t that enough?