I have been doing alphabetical posts this month and fulfilled my G requirement already. But I have something else to say, something that stuck in my mind yesterday when I was at the zoo with my kids.
We promised my baby he could pet animals at the zoo. When we eventually wandered to the Children's Zoo, he was not happy at all. He saw the train, but it already left the station. He was tired, so it was now or never with the petting zoo. It was definitely time to go home.
My husband had to pick him up and carry him in screaming - the baby, not my husband although my husband looked like he was done too. The babes was fine once he saw the goats. He didn't want to pet them but was fascinated by the machines that spewed goat food for quarters. All we had was a credit card, so we didn't get to feed them. My middle son couldn't stop himself from petting the goat. My other kids watched and decided he could do the petting for them.
A further walk into the petting zoo area took you to the barn filled with cows. As we got closer, the smell was repulsive. An older woman sat happily on a bench outside the barn next to the offending animal. It was a bull - I think that's the right term - a boy cow. He reeked and didn't seem to mind it at all. I thought I was going to stop breathing. Apparently I complained too much and offended the woman sitting in the middle of the odor on the bench next to the stinky bull, not minding it at all. By the way, there were benches everywhere, not just in the stench.
The woman looked at me and with a sneer said, "City girl." She said it as if she were calling me a bad word. My daughter said, "Well, that is true," happily, not offended at all. My daughter laughed and walked with me back to the goats.
The thing is that I really think of myself lately as a country girl. I am learning all I can about gardening. I work diligently perfecting my farming techniques so we can buy a big bunch of land as soon as possible and be self-sustainable. That seems like a lovely retirement, and would be super for pre-retirement as well. My middle son is in and loves the idea - even if he has to change schools to make it happen.
On my little farm, the one in my mind, there are no animals. No animals for eating, anyway - well, there is a large pond full of fish. I guess they are animals in the sense they are living and breathing and make for a yummy dinner. Except for the fish, I expect I will live as a vegetarian on our farm.
There will be no stinky cows and no need for cow milk. My little tiny farm has fruit, vegetables, and some sort of protein-rich bean growing everywhere. I think it would be fun to have it sectioned off so there's a whole patch of pie pumpkins and a different patch just for watermelon. I envision two yellow labs happily running free with a barn they can hang out in when it rains. I like the idea of some small goats to manage the grass, but I know myself better than that - they smell and freak me out.
I love a day of raking and digging, followed by a cold beer or hot tea. I love ending a day of hard work with a notebook in my hand, writing whatever story the breeze and the day of quiet contemplation plants in my mind.
I think hard work puts you closer to God and allows your mind to connect to what matters. It pushes away the distractions. There's a Buddhist concept that we each are born in a state of virtue. The distractions of life pull you away from that virtuous state until you don't remember what it feels like anymore. The more you can quiet your mind and live in the moment, the closer you are to virtue and God. I think that's true.