Saturday, May 21, 2011

Two Worlds (Hedgewyck)

The pace of life in the Ozarks has taken some getting used to.  Not even the sun is in a rush here.  Its muted light trickles through the moist morning air slowly, like golden honey that washes across the beaded brightness of morning dew on flowers and leaves.  It is often mid morning before bright shafts of sunlight pierce the green canopy.  Even then, nothing seems to be in a hurry.  Black butterflies flash blue patterned wings as they glide from one flower to another and wasps trace languid patterns as they probe here and there.

I have found a real difficulty in fitting myself into Hedgewyck's mellow tempo.  It is not because I don't wish to, but because I must live with one foot in each of  two worlds.  My heart and soul belongs in the haven of our woods, but I must make a living.  Modern existence does not respect any natural rhythm, but instead pulses at a much faster beat.  I find the shift from my quiet morning routine to the rushing pace of the outside world bruising and bewildering. When I return to the welcome tranquility of Hedgewyck, I am bound tight in my modern persona and must tug it away to truly enjoy the beauty around me.  Perhaps I may find a way to take the pace of my gentle home with me.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Brazen Blooms (Hedgewyck)

The flowers herald the turning of Spring's sweet promise to the rich maturity of Summer. No longer do I see the shy spring florets, nodding modestly in the dappled shade of bright new leaves.  Spring flowers are gentle creatures, pale and fragile, blooming and fading quietly away leaving almost no trace of their fleeting lives in the thick carpet of moss and leaves.

Suummer flowers are much more brazen than their spring sisters.  They stand proudly erect, turning their comely heads to follow the rays of light that stream through the leafy canopy above.  Glossy petals flutter and lusty perfume wafts a siren song to those that come to sip sweet nectar and take away a dusting of pollen.  For all of this splendor is carefully designed to help conceive the next generation.  Even after the job is done and seeds are scattered to the wind, stiff stalks topped by spiked crowns will linger well into winter.

I have never shared a place where flowers grow with such reckless abandon and take abslutely no effort on my part.  The blackberry brambles are fairly white with delicate petals and the beebalm flirts with butterflies.  Slim daisies sway in the breeze with all the regal poise of a princess. It would be selfish of us to put in a grass lawn and take space from such a variety of lives.  Compared to Hedgewyk's wanton display, a formal lawn is a lifeless expanse of monotony as out of place as a paved parking lot.  I do not believe we will be doing much mowing this summer.................

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Gentle Rythmn (Hedgewyck)

It's been eight months since I've enjoyed the twice daily ritual of milking.  My cow, Daisy, was such a comfortable person, placidly accepting whatever mood I was in.  I found it terribly hard to stay upset when faced with such formidable serenity.  Of all the things we left behind, I missed milking the most.

Yet Hedgewyck is not a place for cows and we could not make it so without subduing its untamed magic.  It is a thorny maze of blackberry brambles, small oaks, and wildflowers with more rocks than soil. It is a place for bobcats to stalk, coyotes to howl, and rabbits to hide.  Treeless expanses and lush carpets of grass do not belong in our wild woods. Daisy would not have been happy here.

But my milking days are not over.  I can still greet the sun with a foaming container of warm, sweet milk and breathe the cool evening air while listening to the rythmic pulse of liquid hitting the inside of the jar.  My new Nubian goat compainions, Chloe and Tinkerbell, are not placid like Daisy.  They have an eager curiosity and are sweetly affectionate.  I often find myself receiving warm goat kisses on the cheek when I bend to open the gate.  While I know they are more likely to imitate a bad mood than accept it, it is hard to stay angry at such whimsy.

So now I have the best of both worlds.  I have my gentle rythmn back and Hedgwyck has creatures who truely appreciate it.  The girls spurn grass as nearly inedible, instead eagerly nipping twigs and new leaves from here and there, sampling a bit of everything Hedgewyck has to offer.  And by drinking the rich milk they give us and eating the savory cheeses we make from it, so do we.