Springtime is Coming
It’s 9 am and I’ve just finished feeding all of the animals. It’s ten degrees Celsius, warm in comparison to the frigid days of winter that we’ve endured for the past three months here.
The sun beckons me to stay outside a little while longer before retreating into the trailer for my second breakfast. I find myself gravitating past the line of trees that separate the front area of the farm — where work is done in the sheep barn, bird house, and food shed — with the vast, open pastures and rolling hills that have become my big backyard.
Olive jogs up beside me, tail wagging excitedly. She knows we’re going to walk over to the far hill, and that it’s going to be me-and-her time without the seriousness of work.
I let her lead the way through the old garden beds, the soil parted with numerous cracks, ready to receive the abundance of rainfall and seeds for new life.
We walk across the field, now turned shades of dull yellow to greenish-brown, awakening from the winter’s recent thaw. The grass under our feet — though still dry and matted — show early signs of budding spring.
Everything on the ground sparkles from moisture encouraged by the sun. Where the shade casts its shadow, a thin layer of frost remains, crunching underneath my boots.
We stroll through the pathway between the two large ponds, and I stop to admire the streaks of blue and charcoal coloured ice lining the surface of the still-frozen water.
Suddenly, I notice two round, red-and-black birds perched on a branch nearby. One of them flitters around and I break out into song: “Birds flying high, you know what I mean.”
Olive waits patiently for me a few steps ahead, as I stand for a couple of minutes just admiring the beautiful birds circling overhead.
We continue onward, and the pathway breaks open into the wide expanse of yellow pasture. Olive weaves in and out of the red brushes, and we make our way up my favourite hill.
She suddenly breaks into a run, chasing after two large geese that have landed on the hill and are now making their escape.
“Olive!” I call out, hoping to slow her down. If she had caught up to the birds, I’m certain that one of them would have been a goner.
The geese fly away and we make our way up to the top of the hill. I turn back and am rewarded with a panoramic view of the fields and farm, and blue sky stretching across the horizon and beyond. The sun generously casts its glow across the entire land, illuminating the field’s yellows and burgeoning greens.
From this viewpoint, within the context of the vast scene of field and sky, our manmade constructions — the barn, house, trailer — are but a line of tiny dots, almost swallowed by what surrounds them.
It reminds me that, in some ways, we never truly own the land that we have built our homes and entire civilizations on. The land is too immense and impressive to be owned. We are simply on the land, and of the land.
That being said, there’s something about gazing out at this land that makes my heart calm, even smile, because what I’m looking at is home.
On top of the hill we’re standing on is a rise of hard soil, covered in long strands of blond grass. I lay down on them like a blanket, hoping to take my morning nap up here.
Olive comes by and sits next to me, placing her paw on my arm. I had initially thought that this was her attempt of showing dominance, but then read that it’s actually a sign of Great Pyrenees’ affection and love.
Knowingly, I put my hand on top of her paw to let her know that I love her back.
For the next few minutes, I lie there with my eyes closed, listening to the sounds of birds chirping and twittering all around. In the far distance to my left, a group of geese honk together, while to my right, another group chirps out their melodic tune.
Every so often, I open my eyes and see Olive sitting up beside me, gazing out over the field towards the farm, as though always on guard, observing.
The human in me wonders if she feels bored, just sitting here, staring out. But then I realize that I like to do this too, and that these are some of the best moments we have on the farm.
I place my hand on her head, my white jacket stained brown and black with dirt, matching her once-white ear, also coloured by her time romping around in the mud.
Yes, we are different and yet the same. We are the working ladies of the farm, getting dirty to get the job done, and enjoying these quiet times together when everyone else has been taken care of.
My morning with Olive wasn’t an adventure, it wasn’t an exciting tale to tell. But to be honest, these are among the special moments that I will remember the most when it comes time to leave the farm life.