Time to Reconnect

For weeks I’ve been off kilter. First I was ill, then we were on the road. Then we came back to another week of 100+ degree temperature. I felt disconnected with myself and the farm.

While we were away the rancher who leases the pastures for haying had been through and cut the tall native grasses. He cut them short. Very short. Over the weekend they rolled the cut hay into round bales.

I’m beginning to find myself again. Before breakfast today I walked three laps in the North Pasture, something I haven’t done in several weeks. I studied the shorn fields, barren fields of brown, sharp stubble. No more this season will deer stand in the open pasture to graze or rabbits hide in the tall ferns. There is a wide ring of grasses and ferns where the pasture meets the tree line where wildlife can still get fresh food. One lone fern exists mid-pasture. A lingering reminder of how it was just weeks ago.

The path I walk is still evident. Months of mowing mark the way up the northwest slope to the galvanized bucket, overturned for contemplation, then directly west where a large nearly-green area exists that reminds me of a pitcher’s mound. From that spot you can stare out across the pasture past the lavender, the greenhouse, the studio and beyond to the trees that line the lane. Along the southern side above the bluff it’s harder to find the trail because it is as brown and bare as the middle swath. But I complete the circuit, finding my way or making a new route.

I saw a Burn Ban sign posted down on the blacktop road. And I as make my second lap I wonder how much there is left to burn. A fire would move quickly across this pasture where the grass barely exists and hard brown earth is visible. But the bales and the beginning cushion of fallen leaves would ignite easily and burn hot and long.

The spiral bales capture my attention. I like how they look, but the urge to untie the bands and roll it out to see how long it will stretch always tugs at me this time of year. They are winter food. Food for cattle or passing deer.

Sunday I spent hours preparing winter food for us. I froze four gallon bags of red bell peppers and six tubs of pesto so we’ll have veggies in the winter months when the ground yields little and the farmer’s market is closed. They joined the berries, onions, and purple hull peas stacked on shelves. One of the vendors at market had early apples and I baked apple crisp – for the sheer joy of fall food.

Spring is hectic for me. I enjoy the warm weather and the return to work selling at the herb festivals and the start of the farmers market. Summer in Oklahoma is brutally hot, and it difficult for me to enjoy Nature when my lungs feel seared from the simple act of breathing. Just walking back and forth from the studio to the house I become coated in sweat in July and August. Harvest is over quickly and my days are spent on making soap and dyeing yarn to prepare for fall festivals.

But it is this time of year, just before Autumn when the temps break, that I start to become myself again. There is still work to be done but I feel organized and prepared. The diligency of my labors during Summer provide me with a comfort zone which allows me to become aware of my surroundings again and to focus on my spiritual side.

While the North Pasture is bare to the eye, the harvest bundled and stored, it is also preparing for growth in the spring months that will come. The land will rest during the winter. Just I will rest in the dark months that Nature provides.

The feast of Lughnasa (translated as Lugh’s promise or Lugh’s duty) is an ancient Irish festival celebrating the grain harvest. In celebration of Lugh’s foster-mother, who cleared the plains of Ireland for agriculture and cattle grazing, Lugh initiated a funeral festival which focuses on sharing the bounty of harvest. Games are played, and children make corn-dolly’s each August in celebration. I wonder if I can make a corn dolly of wild grasses…

I’m looking forward to Autumn, and Winter to follow – the abating of unbearable heat, the cooling breezes, a change in wardrobe, a change in food, a change in chores – the ability to enjoy the outside world again. After the first hard freeze, which should come in late Autumn, I’ll trek into the woods here on the farm. I’ll visit King’s (a beloved horse) bones on the northern most hillside, and hike to Casey’s Canyon where the remains of another much loved horse exist. I’ll make the pilgrimage to one of my favorite spots in the high country just above the pond that never fills with water and I’ll sit. Just sit, listen, and watch.
For weeks I’ve been off kilter. First I was ill, then we were on the road. Then we came back to another week of 100+ degree temperature. I felt disconnected with myself and the farm. While we were away the rancher who leases the pastures for haying had been through and cut the tall native grasses. He cut them short. Very short. Over the weekend they rolled the cut hay into round bales. But I have found myself again. Before breakfast today I walked three laps in the North Pasture, something I haven’t done in several weeks. I studied the shorn fields, barren fields of brown, sharp stubble. No more this season will deer stand in the open pasture to graze or rabbits hide in the tall ferns. There is a wide ring of grasses and ferns where the pasture meets the tree line where wildlife can still get fresh food. One lone fern exists mid-pasture. A reminder of how it was not long ago. The path I walk is still evident. Months of mowing mark the way up the northwest slope to the galvanized bucket, overturned for contemplation, then directly west where a large nearly-green area exists that reminds me of a pitcher’s mound. From that spot you can stare out across the pasture past the lavender and beyond to the trees that line the lane. Along the southern side above the bluff it’s harder to find the trail because it is as brown and bare as the middle swath. But I complete the circuit, finding my way or making a new route. I saw a Burn Ban sign posted down on the blacktop road. And I as make my second lap I wonder how much there is left to burn. A fire would move quickly across this pasture where the grass barely exists and hard brown earth is visible. But the bales and the beginning cushion of fallen leaves would ignite easily. The spiral bales capture my attention. I like how they look, but the urge to untie the bands and roll it out to see how long it will stretch always tugs at me this time of year. They are winter food. Food for cattle or passing deer. Sunday I spent hours preparing winter food for us. I froze four gallon bags of red bell peppers and six tubs of pesto so we’ll have veggies in the winter months when the ground yields little and the farmer’s market is closed. They joined the berries, onions, and peas stacked on shelves. One of the vendors at market had early apples and I baked apple crisp – for the sheer joy of fall food. Spring is hectic for me. I enjoy the warm weather and the return to work selling at the herb festivals and the start of the farmers market. Summer in Oklahoma is brutally hot, and it difficult for me to enjoy Nature when my lungs feel seared from the simple act of breathing. Just walking back and forth from the studio to the house I become coated in sweat in July and August. Harvest is over quickly and my days are spent on making soap and dyeing yarn to prepare for fall festivals. But it is this time of year, just before Autumn when the temps break, that I start to become myself again. There is still work to be done but I feel organized and prepared. The diligency of my labors during Summer provide me with a comfort zone which allows me to become aware of my surroundings again and to focus on my spiritual side. While the North Pasture is bare to the eye, the harvest bundled and stored, it is also preparing for growth in the spring months that will come. The land will rest during the winter. Just I will rest in the dark months that Nature provides. The feast of Lughnasa (translated as Lugh’s promise or Lugh’s duty) is an ancient Irish festival celebrating the grain harvest. In celebration of Lugh’s foster-mother, who cleared the plains of Ireland for agriculture and cattle grazing, Lugh initiated a funeral festival which focuses on sharing the bounty of harvest. Games are played, and children make corn-dolly’s each August in celebration. I wonder if I can make a corn dolly of wild grasses…I’m looking forward to Autumn, and Winter to follow – the abating of unbearable heat, the cooling breezes, a change in wardrobe, a change in food, a change in chores – the ability to enjoy the outside world again. After the first hard freeze which should come in late Autumn, I’ll trek into the woods here on the farm. I’ll visit King’s (a beloved horse) bones on the northern most hillside, and hike to Casey’s Canyon where the remains of another much loved horse exist. I’ll make the pilgrimage to one of my favorite spots in the high country just above the pond that never fills with water and I’ll sit. Just sit, listen, and watch. var gaJsHost = ((“https:” == document.location.protocol) ? “https://ssl.” : “http://www.”);document.write(unescape(“%3Cscript src='” + gaJsHost + “google-analytics.com/ga.js’ type=’text/javascript’%3E%3C/script%3E”)); var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(“UA-xxxxxx-x”);pageTracker._trackPageview();

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5 thoughts on “Time to Reconnect

  1. So true. I really missed my childhood summers in Minnesota this year; not too hot, low humidity, and summer light that goes on forever. In Illinois, the weather finally broke, we've had heat advisories for several weeks. Now I can go enjoy the weather, but it gets dark too quickly.

    As a side note, you CAN make corn dollies out of wild grasses. At the time the tradition started, “corn” meant any grain; the Americas (hence corn as we think of it) had not been discovered yet.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corn_dolly

    A couple of years ago, I begged some oats, pre-thrashing, from my folks and did that very thing. I'm sure wild grasses would work wonderfully, if a bit delicate.

  2. Oh, so good to feel from the sound of your prose that you are coming back into yourself. I wish that I, too, had a piece of land to walk, and a quiet place to sit. I miss the mountains something fierce this time of year! And the bluff above the River from my childhood.
    It's a comfort just to read of your walks and favorite places.

  3. I understand your feelings. It's cool and cloudy and even, gasp, raining a bit this morning at my house. I raised the shades and went outside barefoot, the driveway cool enough to walk barefooted on for the first time in months. I hibernate all summer, and in the dead heat cannot be as productive as you have managed to remain. But that first sniff of fall begins to bring me back alive. We didn't make corn (or grass–what a good idea) dollies this year, but we shared a loaf, talked about what we wanted to harvest from the year and what we wanted to leave in the fields to till under. Thanks for your beautiful post.

  4. What a lovely post. I'm glad you are feeling better, more centered. I'll think of this as I'm walking the city streets in my neighborhood later this afternoon. Most people don't, but if you look closely, even here you can see the change of seasons.

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