Friday, December 17, 2010

Humans, Books, and Trees

Cookie Dough and Bella


All of my life I’ve related much better to animals, books, and trees than to humans. I never really got humans: all the words needed to communicate and how those words were strung together in a manner that encouraged interaction. I never really got that.

Dolly Llama

One Old Goat Farm is the culmination of a dream I’ve had seemingly forever. It is my gift to myself that is satisfying beyond my wildest imagination and frustrating beyond belief. Satisfying in that each morning, I go out to feed my animals and they are always the same. These huge bodies that could crush me in an instant if they wanted, trust me to hug them, pet them and give them treats. For the past several weeks, they have been forced to endure my singing in preparation for the Christmas concert that was last Sunday. And they didn’t complain a bit.

Snowball kicking up his heels

But it’s not only the animals providing me with a calmness and peacefulness that I need to start my day, it is all of my trees. Red maple, white oak, cottonwood, and poplar trees given to me by my dad that bring me back to what is real in my life. I have several years old maple trees that have been a great pleasure to watch grow into tree-nagers. And every time I see them, I think of my dad.

My books—and I have hundreds that are especially precious to me—are the biggest factor in my maintaining good mental health . I have books that I return to again and again and there is always something new that I find. Some people may find it odd to read books over (and I do read plenty of new books), but I can be sure that when I read a certain book, I will be transported back to another more enjoyable time. One book that I read every year about this time is Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg. The number one reason that this book is so special to me is that it was given to me by my son Ryan (who will no doubt be a famous writer some day). Another reason is that when I pick it up, I’m usually at a point in the Christmas season when I am overwhelmed, used up, and really failing to see the beauty of the season. This book takes me right back to the place where life is calm, rivers runs strong, villages really do raise children and redbirds grow on trees. A book is traveling abroad for the not-so-wealthy.

I have it all here at One Old Goat farm: a healthy family, a son who is a brand new college graduate, happy animals, trees that will be here overseeing the land long after I'm gone, and books to transport me when my legs no longer are able. What human could possibly ask for more?

A torrid love affair

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