Cows & Conifers

Puts cows and spruce trees together for any length of time and this is what you get — trunks pruned of branches and bark rubbed smooth.

In pastures with few trees the damage is even greater for it’s here the cattle gather when sun beats down, when rain and hail pelt them, when snow falls thick and fast.

The earth also suffers as their hooves churn the soil to dust or mud holes or frozen lumps, depending on the season. Little can grow under such a pounding.

All part of the price of hamburger and steaks.

Mother Nature’s MBSR

MBSR — Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. A program designed to help you cope with pain, illness and the stresses of everyday life. Mindfulness focusses on living in the moment.

I slip between two strands of barbwire and into the pasture. Snow patches still linger from the weekend’s storm. I’m gloved-up, wearing balaclava, winter coat and boots.

It’s mid-afternoon and although the sun is shining it’s only a few degrees above freezing.

My ramble brings me to a sunny south-facing slope that slides down to a little creek. I pull out a plastic bag I carry for such occasions (thank you, Walmart) and plunk my butt down on the damp grassy earth.

It takes several moments before the angst and anxiety begin to fade. Shallow water, rippling over pebbles, is balm for the soul. The sun, on hands and face, slows the heart.

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Water Music

Up the slope and out of sight behind me, the distant sound of cows in conversation.

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Sitting with the willows on a sunny slope

My eyes leave the water and rest on the ground nearby. A dandelion has popped out from beneath melting snow. A wood ant scurries past, followed by a harvestman. Then between my boots I see a flash of red. To my surprise and delight, a half-ripe strawberry. In October.

Sitting, mindful in this moment, I am at peace.


October 11, 2016