Lessons from the Pasture

I realize my writings are not consistent, not due to the chaotic nature of my life, but rather because I can not force them. For me, a piece will just come to me, usually as I am busy doing something else, and it just starts forming; sentences, thoughts, maybe images start to bubble in my mind. It will just continue to roll around up there, rewording, rephrasing ideas until I finally carve out some time to put my fingers to the keyboard and let it out... like releasing a valve under pressure.  Usually this occurs in the stillness of late night, when I am surrounded by the quiet sounds of purring or snoring.

Late one afternoon recently I was outside, camera in hand, and I started to wander.  I was hoping that if I found crocuses, I could actually let myself believe that maybe spring had actually arrived.  I seem to experience Stockholm Syndrome with winter where I live and am slow to believe.   The chirping birds in the morning have been trying to convince me, but I am hesitant to believe, having been deceived almost every March/April of my life.

I meandered up into the pasture and was hopeful to see tiny blades of grass starting to turn green.  In the vastness of beige the undertones of emerald made my heart happy.  By last fall, the horses which were contained in the fences had done a great job of trampling and grazing a pasture that was long, long overdue for those tasks.  As I wandered through the piles of horse manure and dead plants this composition began to take form in my brain. 

For the twenty-some years prior to this past summer, this pasture had just grown.  It was overgrown, under-grazed, thick and unruly.  We knew it needed help and had gotten our first grazer, Bill the Goat. He did well, but it was too much for one lowly goat to handle. 

 I can only do so much. I am only a goat... who likes bananas and Cornnuts.

I can only do so much. I am only a goat... who likes bananas and Cornnuts.


Last spring, we were contacted by neighbors to rent the pasture and gladly welcomed their two horses to do what they do: run and eat.

Fast forward to this spring and the field is trampled, grazed and so different.  But the amazing thing I realized is what actually become visible thanks to this transformation.  We had long suspected there was a spring, and thus the cause of the basement seepage, in the pasture hillside.  Thanks to the horses, the drain-field of the spring is clearly visible. 


Even in the dry months of August, their hoof marks could be seen in wet mushy soil. 

The grazing has clearly outlined which shrubs and weeds are inedible and will need to be removed by other means. 


It has allowed for the visibility of the emerald green sprouts that are beginning to shoot up that would previously had been invisible until much taller.  And, the trodden earth exposed what I was searching for, the crocuses.  On the hillside, with their faces to the dusky sun, they sat.  Some still waiting to unfurl.  And they have always been here, but there was too much clutter, too much overgrowth to have been noticed.


I realized the pasture is a lot like us.  We become too cluttered, overgrown, busy and chaotic.  At times life will crush and trample us.  We will feel squashed and exposed and what remains are the weeds.  But then the beauty is revealed.  Literally new growth comes from a pile of crap. 


We see what we overlooked and passed over.  We see what needs to be removed and pruned because it is not of use to us, and in fact may be harmful.  We realize how much love is around us.


And in the end we are left with rebirth of something beautiful and regrowth of something sustainable.