There are few things sweeter for me, I think, than an early morning walk through our pasture. Earlier in the summer, the field was sprinkled with daisies, but now, blue clouds of chicory hover just above the ground. Bunnies startle up from the weeds and wildflowers as I pass, and birds dart out of honeysuckle thickets. The people who previously lived here kept cattle, which in turn kept the fields nibbled down and fertilized. But we have mown meandering paths through the meadow that wander past the red barn, alongside our neighbor’s beehives, through the chicory, and near a lovely stand of fire pinks.
People keep telling us that we really should keep livestock, as though we are squandering our land riches by keeping the barn and field empty. But the fields aren’t empty at all. Besides the birds, bees, and bunnies, we’ve spied deer, coyotes, bobcats, and a handsome black snake. And, yesterday, we were astonished to see an enormous bull in our pasture that had broken through from our neighbor’s place, likely enticed by our untouched forage.
“That’s a lotta bull,” I said.
“Yep,” said Tom. “That’s a lotta bull.”
Thankfully, we had remembered to close the gate to our field because the bull made his way into our little barn, where he repeatedly rammed the utility trailer we keep there, knocking it over, possibly because it had a bit of hay underneath. I was afraid he might trample our chicory, or the fire pinks, or the butterfly weed. But fortunately, our neighbor, with the help of Blue Ridge Blue Collar Man, was able to lure the bull back home with the promise of fresh feed and a pretty bovine girl.
Normally, though, our pasture is peaceful and the silence of early morning broken only by birdsong. It is not only a sanctuary for wildlife, but a sanctuary for us—our refuge in troubled times. It’s hard to feel hopeless in the face of so much life. Despite all the miseries and tribulations of this world, life goes on as usual here in our little meadow.
So we will continue to smile when folks suggest that we should “do something with that pasture.” Our barn may be empty, but our hearts are full. Without cattle to eat them, wildflowers bloom, then go to seed (to the birds’ delight). I listen to the hum of hundreds of bees making their morning rounds as I walk the dew-jeweled paths, and I breathe in the cool, early air. Breathe in, breathe out. Just breathe. And that, for now, is all I need. That, for now, is sufficient.