I happened to look over at our Japanese maple on the way back from my writing studio. It was a bright red light firing up what was a damp, grey day. I felt a spark of joy at the sight. So I ran to the house to get my camera and take a picture before heading off to town to do some errands.
First stop the post office where I heard “Hi Emily, how are you? That was a right good sized package we delivered to you today.” I grinned and explained that it was a new featherbed Robert and I had treated ourselves. I drove on to our hardware store where I heard, “Hi, Emily, how are things at the farm?” I parked at our Coop where someone else I knew stopped by the car to say hello to Wesley, wagging his tail against the back seat of the car.
At Tradewinds, our grocery store, I got to the check out counter only to find that my credit card was rejected. Instead of staring blankly into space or being impatient with me, the cashier shook her head and said, “You’d think they would recognize that you shop here at least twice a week and have so for many years.” I didn’t know her name and she didn’t know my name, but we knew each other by sight and we knew that we both lived and worked in this town. Finally I headed to our pharmacy to get a flu shot I had been putting off only to hear once again, “Hey Emily, come and get your flu shot. It’s about time.”
This is what I love about living in a small town. I’m known and welcomed wherever I go. I’m well aware that small town welcome can turn on a dime into small town gossip. But luckily I don’t have much use for gossip so I steer clear of it. For today I feel such gratitude that I have the privilege of living in this small town on this peninsula in Maine.
At this time of year, I hear so many complaints about shorter days and colder temperatures, how terrible are the approaching winter months. I usually don’t respond, but what I feel like saying is why are you wasting your breath. We live in one of the most beautiful areas in the world. Every season has its gifts. Every time its purpose. Or as Richard Rohr puts it, everything is a revelation of the divine from rocks to rocket ships. Yes, I want to say yes, yes. Why do we trade our awe and wonder in for dread and fear?
At feeding time, even though the sky looks ominous and a chilly wind makes me shiver, I see that the goats are still out in the field leaping up and down on their jungle gym, and the chickens still scratching and pecking in the flowerbed. I call the goats and hear a chorus of excited baas and the sound of little hooves tapping the hard ground.. They roar into their stall, almost knocking me down with their greeting. . The chickens are not so enthusiastic to see me, but when I call Cluck, her plumped up gold and black feathers skewed this way and that in the wind, she comes running and in good mindless flocking style, the other chickens rush to follow her.
Yesterday, in preparation for winter, Robert and our friend Adam did some magical carpentry to close some of the gaps in the very irregular barn doors so that the snow doesn’t blow into the barn and wet my hay. The barn was built in the 1850’s, and it often needs our care and attention. Thank you Robert and Adam!
Each year on this farm we do what we can to prepare for what is to come, but not at the expense of all that is present. For the moment we are given is precious and something we will never get again.