It has been a rejuvenation over the past several months, to have met some of the most wonderful people I will have ever known right here in my own community. I didn’t have to travel to Tibet for Xanadu meditations. I didn’t have to visit Rome for spiritual enrichment. I didn’t have to climb to Machu Pichu for to understand the brilliance of past civilizations. No, everything I needed to make me laugh, share in community, to make my heart soar like an eagle, to make me feel young again was right here in my own backyard.
Sometimes, just sitting with friends, sharing stories, breaking bread together around a table surrounded by adults and children and dogs and yes, once in a while, even the goat, is all you really need.
This past weekend, in a totally unplanned twist, while I was visiting an old friend’s new property in Caledon, he got an invitation to the home of “The Raven Haired Angel” … “Bring Skid,” she said. The next thing I knew, I was walking past their chickens and cows and horses, and goat, nuzzled by two beautiful dogs, surrounded by a pack of children running, laughing and having fun. The property was a new purchase and a work in progress. It was heaven.
A little background for those readers who think this does not sound like their idea of heaven. My father sold our farm in Northumberland County in the late 70’s. I used to help clear our fields of groundhogs so that Everett Cole could pasture his cattle on our acreage. Dogs and cows and horses and old beaters to repair and barn roofs to cover with a fresh coat of aluminum paint and space to explore. I started teaching in North York in the late sixties, a pretty tough inner city school, and our farm was my escape on the weekends.
As soon as I’d get there on a Friday night, I’d head to the back forty, with our dogs at my side, to a beautiful woodlot, a small pond, and a high point outlook; the worries of the world would wash away. I ended up taking all of my classes from my that school camping there on the weekends, but that’s another story…
Needless to say, it was special. My parents both passed away in the early nineties and that was the last time I visited the farm. So, it brought back a flood of memories to walk this new landscape with my friend, the Raven Haired Angel. The wooded acreage behind the fields was filled with trilliums and trout lilies just beginning to bloom. Back in heaven.
Raven Family Wisdoms:
On watching a whirlwind of children play around her home, the farm fields, the forest trails, unfettered by constant adult leashing:
“I raise free-range children.”
On having a tough day on the job, arriving home exhausted, and discovering the goat standing in your newly finished kitchen:
“It’s a “goat-in-the-kitchen” kind of day.”
On how to judge people, as her French Mastiff licked my ear then put his head between my legs for a good jowls rub:
“Looks like he’s accepted you. Usually he bites people.”
On dealing with the acrid scent of manure drifting across the farm field:
“I have no sense of smell. But we’re still not getting pigs.”
On how to deal with the stress of the job and coming home to children’s enthusiasm and the “work in progress” property:
“Well aged Italian grape juice.”
From the Raven’s spouse on comparing his fabulous beef sausages to venison pepperettes:
“My sausages are better; the venison pepperettes are delicious but they give you those real bad explosive farts the next day.” Note to self: only go for the venison if you are taking a long hike the next day, and stay at the back.
Postscript: A Raven Family discussion about pigs:
Spouse: “We are getting those pigs,” Raven: “We are NOT getting pigs.” Spouse: “Oh yes we are, we ARE getting those pigs.”
Stay tuned , dear readers; I’m betting that I won’t be seeing pigs there anytime soon. Raven Haired Angels have their ways.
Skid Crease, Caledon