Friday, October 24, 2008

Ten Reasons I Love Chores

1. Working through the twilight hours. Getting up when the eastern sky is still shadowed, walking out to the coop in the pasture as the gold grows on the horizon. The crescent moon still glowing in the sharp blue sky. Frost on the garden and the raspberry bushes, and my feet crunching over all that silver as I walk through the pasture. New sun that turns the still-orange trees crisp-edged shimmering. At the end of the day, dusk falling over the farm, the stillness the sun leaves behind as it slips away, the brisk wind and the sky deepening slowly into darkness.
2. Talking to animals.
3. The routine of it. My feet learning the quickest path between the three coops, my fingers becoming familiar with cow fencing, my eyes growing accustomed to counting sheep accurately as they graze. I like the way chores bracket my day. I like knowing there are creatures counting on me for food and water.
4. Simple hard work: carrying 40 pound bags of feed over my shoulder, pouring buckets of cold water into the cow's trough, breaking the ice off the chicken's waterers, shoveling half-frozen manure. Using my muscles.

5. Well-earned exhaustion.

6. I love the level of detail that animal care requires. I love walking out to the coop each night, singing my way through the dusky pasture, to close the chickens safely away from foxes and coyotes. Going to check on the cows at noon, simply to make sure they have enough water and grass, pausing in my work to scratch PB, our sweetest cow, or tell a sheep a joke. I like being exact and careful and methodical.
7. It is good and humbling to have regular contact with non-human creatures.
8. Chores are simple and daily and routine-based. The hour I spend taking care of animals each morning and evening is a good hour to think. To work through the day, to iron out problems, to sing, to weave poems. Chores are quiet and meditative. Time to ease into the day, slow down, transition from sleep to work to the evening meal, to sleep.
9. Being outside first thing in the morning. Feeling the wind on my face almost immediately after tumbling out of bed. Pulling on two pairs of socks, barn boots, my carharts, my work coat. Meeting the day as it comes.10. Coming inside afterwards. The warmth of the house steaming up my glasses. Hot tea and a hearty breakfast that I've earned by work. Sunlight pouring into the house. A glass of cider and a piece of apple pie on the porch in the dusk. A job well done.

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