Last night, in the very torrential downpour, while unloading around 1,450 lbs of feed with my husband, I had a beautiful moment. I wish I had been able to get a picture, but as usual, no camera at hand when farm work is being done. Perhaps it was just as well as somehow something mechanical might disturb the pounding peace of the moment.
John had gone out a hair ahead of me to start unloading feed he had picked up earlier in the day. It was evening, and I was thinking how thankful I was for my coveralls and hood and the muck boots that I borrowed from my daughter as mine are just too tight to get a hold of to pull off when things are so slick and muddy. (Yes, my daughter's feet are bigger than mine!) It's not unusual for the sheep to come running when they hear the gate latch rattle on our way to the barn. But on unloading day, the Finnsheep know what to expect... Lorna. Lorna will ask for respect. She will keep space for us so that we can work efficiently and complete our repetitive task. Today was not different. Lorna was there. But so was the rain. The sheep had left the barn for that extra buffer of space, but the pelting rain and thunder left them in conflict. When I lifted that gate latch to enter, they were jogging back to the barn. I thought not much of it as I rarely need to be super aware these days thanks to our trusty helper Lorna. I simply busied myself and thought about how it was nice that much of the unloading was under the noisy but dry metal barn roof. The pile of full feed sacks was getting smaller and the feed storage containers were getting fuller. I paused to take a breath. Then I really started to see... The sheep had indeed come into the barn. And everyone was so peaceful and quiet. They were all watching quietly knowing what was going into the forbidden storage area. But content. To be still. Watching. Waiting. Peaceful and happy to be out of the rain. Trusting...
I looked across from the sheep. Our barn is not huge. About nine feet away, Lorna lay with quite the same expression. One of utter peace and understanding of the situation. How the sheep were showing respect, yet needed out of the storming rain. No one challenged her. Everyone seemed so grateful. The moment was simple, but so meaningful to me. There was a true sense of balance and relationship and understanding between us and the dog, us and the sheep, dog and the sheep, sheep and the dog, dog and us and sheep. A pure dance of gratitude and peace and trust!
It is a moment I am having a hard time putting into words. Almost a decade ago, I would never have imagined us being here. Barn, beautiful sheep, the partnership of our dogs. Heavy rain on a strong metal roof. Benji (our first farm dog) was a start to this. He is gone in a way that was hard, but he was here in a way that was so surreal and perhaps too good to be true. Lorna is here now completing his work. Lark is learning Lorna's ways quickly almost seamlessly for such a young dog. How did we get here? I easily forget the in between times, but they were real. Being in the moment is something I am trying to learn how to practice more and more. This was one very real moment I wanted to share with you. I wish I had a picture, but would not have traded the memory of this. Somehow, it paints the metaphorical dream of the farm that we have wished for. I do wonder if the sheep and dogs see the same things in us? I do believe that this has settled deep in all of us.
This blog chronicles our very full life here on WoodSong Farm. We will share everything from dog to sheep stories, unique wooly works, to animal husbandry tips we pick up along the way. I hope this helps to give you an idea of what our extended farm family and wooly projects are like, and that we may somehow benefit everyone who reads about our journey.