Like anyone else, I get a case of the blues now and then. Also like anyone else, I have the benefit of people in my life who make it a point to develop and create those blues for me. As much as I appreciate their efforts and attention to my life, I’m afraid the blues just can’t compete with an unseasonably warm day.
Most often, this time of year, I tend to dread the trips outside to check on the chickens, collecting eggs, feeding and putting the hens up at night. Mud, cold wind, grey skies – not on my list of favorite things. Imagine my surprise today when I opened the door to sunshine and a warm breeze.
Our honey bees were already active, raiding the chicken feeders and buzzing around the porch. I’ve long-since learned the bees have little interest in me, as long as I’m not doused in perfume and cosmetics.
Even in mid-winter, our garden needs attention after the way we abandoned it in the fall of last year. So, I tossed my coat and hat on the roof of the chicken pen, and wandered out that way, with Daisy Dewdrop on my heels. Both the chickens and the bees seemed interested in what I was doing, clearing weeds and moving dirt. Both likely hoping I would uncover something for them to eat.
It didn’t take Daisy long to find the rabbit hiding among the high grasses, and if you know beagles, you know the chase was on. Since she can run up to 24 miles and hour (we’ve chased her in a car before) I tied on her leash and did my best to keep up. It frustrated her, me holding her back, but didn’t keep her from following the trail through the prickly Autumn Olive bushes, which scratched my arms. When she lost the trail (at the same spot she always does), I led her back to the house. Along the way, she stopped at the edge of the lake to get something to drink, and I took time to lift my face to the sun.
I don’t claim to have all the answers. I only claim to be constantly in search of them, and I’m often eager to share any I’ve discovered. One of the main truths I’ve found is if you can find joy in sunshine and warm breezes, it’s easier to survive the mean and nasties of the world.
Sure, I may seem crazy, offering buzzing honey bees warm greetings. Even more crazy still to think they’ve come to know me, know the sound of my voice, my scent. Crazier still to think they are my friends – but I have yet to be stung by any of our honey bees.
I know the wild ducks on our lake better than I know most people. I know who has mated who, which side of the lake they prefer to eat breakfast, and lunch, and dinner. I can sing to my chickens and they’ll sing back to me.
It’s difficult, among these friends, to be haunted by the pettiness of a few people. To bees, beagles, ducks and chickens, the words of men and women are meaningless. Tell a chicken someone hurt your feelings, and they’ll squat, poop and move on. Frankly, I think that’s good advice.
If animals and insects have food, shelter and water – they’re happy. Humans are the only beings who believe – for some reason – they need (or deserve) more. We’re the only ones who torture ourselves (and others) to achieve far beyond what we truly need. We spend lifetimes making ourselves (and others) miserable simply because we want.
Part of simplifying our lives has taught me though – we make ourselves (and others) miserable only if we want to. And while there are those who obviously want to share their misery with us, I have to remember, that is not what we want. People don’t believe it. Because they want that misery and to share it, they assume we want the same.
But the bees know better, the hens know better, the ducks, the beagle and the sunshine knows better.
In many ways, we wanted to find the simple joys in life, like the blessings of an unseasonably warm day.