I am happy to report that we have had some rain and that there is real grass beginning to grow!!!
More please... but it is a start!
It is an interesting journey living so close to the ground and experiencing the drought. It is quite stressful actually. The reality is my personal day to day life is not affected - I turn on the faucet and the well pumps water much the same way as millions who live in cities and towns across America.
But there is a tension that is everywhere - the ranchers and farmers, the animals, the land itself - seems to emit an energy of stress that feels much like a heat wave looks when you can view it from a distance. The shimmer and movement and uneasiness that doesn't stand still.
This is the second big grasshopper I've seen in the last few days. It reminds me of something that might be associated with a biblical plague... These are the kinds of things that when come in large groups destroy everything.
The southwest is a harsh place to live, for everything not just humans. There was a time when it was fertile and green - the last ice age to be exact. While glaciers formed in the north, this area got more rain and the grasses grew and with grass does all life thrive.
What is the point? Life is both lush at times and droughtish at others. Stress is part of what pushes us forward and keeps us from becoming complacent. Lack asks us to conserve now and seek for better ways later. Limits ask us to find better ways to live both with them and with out them.
Plagues remove everything from before and require us to build everything again.
It's Sunday, what can I say I'm philosophical this morning!
I am finding there is a difference between this idea of "prepping for the worst" and training to be a survivalist and what survival really is.
I've said before I dislike the word "survivor" in that we have come to associate it with being a victim first and survivor second.
But from drought to fertility there is a need to survive whatever the moment brings. I believe we survive when we choose life and not just defend against death.
I am surrounded by life even though the drought feels like a slow death. It is always a choice whether we will live or just give up and let go.
There is no way to prepare or train or defend against everything that will come in your future or mine. But this idea of being a survivor has also come to mean there is less need to train for what we are afraid of and begin to trust more of who we are and that we will handle what ever comes next.
Nothing has been more of a witness to me on this idea than the insects I am surrounded by. No matter what happens to them they keep going with no preparations, no training, no special tools, and no workshops or videos! They choose life every second of their existence - no hesitation, no complacency, no apathy or self-pity.
It seems for now there is great honor and respect for the Bug's Life!
This last year I've been in the company of sheep, goats, and cows and in that time I've thought a lot about the idea of being a shepherd.
While I am not, nor have I been "officially" designated as such - and truthfully, most would say I'm more of an annoyance - I still sort of think of my self that way as I watch the herds live their lives each day.
At one point I looked shepherd up as a job and there is such a thing, but it only pays about $700 month and they drop you for months off in the middle of no where and seem to only employ men from other countries.
But it is work that would be good for so many in our world right now. There is a kind of magic that happens when you spend time every day with a herd of animals. You learn their habits, their personalities, their rhythms, and also when one isn't feeling well or something is off.
Because of this drought many herds are spread out over 100's of miles making checking on them long, hard, and impossible for a single rancher.
But having me here, on this property with "my" 20 cows it is easy to see if there is water, if one is missing - though you would be surprised how hard it is to actually get an accurate count on 20 cows!!! - and if the owner needs to come out.
Peace of mind I think counts for a lot when you are caring for live beings who are also your livelihood.
But there is also something spiritual that happens. The animals respond to your energy - I first learned about this with horses and therapy. But it is true for all animals. There are definitely some that are braver then others, some more curious, and some who really could care less about you... One of the most interesting things has been watching the cows with the cat and the dog.
I just love how brave my little cat is! I didn't have the camera out when there was an entire line of cows she was standing in front of, but you get the gist of it here.
Sadly, not everyone takes their responsibilities to heart. There is such need for good shepherds.
The longer I live this way the more opportunity I see for so many. For veterans who need to be alone and on the land to heal who would benefit from being a shepherd for a herd of sheep or cows. For families with small children who would benefit from learning about life and nature and themselves. The list goes on and on.
I feel very blessed to have these experiences and extremely grateful to those who have allowed me to have them. I don't know how much longer I'll be here in this spot, but I do know I love living close to the land and the animals and will take mice and snakes over crowded cities any day of the week!
Welcome to my Journey!
I'm inviting you to join me on my journey as I seek to find a new way of being in an old set of systems. It's hard, but worth it!