Saturday, January 03, 2009

Into the New Year

As I walked the farm road under the golden sun of the New Year, I marveled at the stillness. No traffic sounds from the road, no clank of farm machinery, no rustling of animals in the fields, only the hard working waves making their way to the shore beyond the far field made their presence felt in that golden quiet.

As I rounded the bend toward the house, my favorite cat came up to me. He did not need to meow. He had seen me and he, too, I suspect, was enjoying the quiet. He and I walked into the walled garden. I could have done ever so many useful things there, but the best idea seemed to be to pull a stick along the grass and over the branches of our favorite tree--Solomon and I. He chased and sometimes caught this stick as we swirled around in tight circles or ran along the frost-covered grass. And then I just stood and watched the golden light make the frost sparkle on the stones of the wall.

Two of the other cats came to watch us in the garden. Sheba ran up the tree and took her turn chasing the stick. By now the cold was beginning to bite at my fingers and toes, so I reluctantly left the cats in the garden and came in to clean the kitchen.

My husband says that New Year's Day here is often "settled", which means the kind of day that keeps itself to itself. I like to think of it as a day holding its breath, thinking, reflecting--I am sure younger years may have had a hangover which imposed its own kind of calmness, but this day was thoughtful in the same way that a cow about to calve looks thoughtful--a new calf, a new year, each is a lot to think of.

Later that day I watched a male pheasant strutting--they can't help it, anything with that many colours and a too long tail has no choice but to strut--down the road between the house and the steading. After the hard frost of the past few days, he was enjoying the warm quiet for a trip to the barley buffet in the barn. I caught sight of a bevy of pigeons in the buffet line later that day. That, too, pleased me, seeing the steading as a calm centre for the life on the farm.


At 3:16 PM, Anonymous ampiggy said...

What a wonderful evocation of a calm centre. Look, I even spelled "centre" that way. I also like the way you chose the playful and interactive-with-cats activity over the "useful" activities. How many times in life we should make that kind of choice.


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