The other day, between Christmas Day and the new year’s arrival, I took a walk around our property. Not for any real reason, other than to get out of the house a little bit, and to inspect what was new, breathe in the (finally!) cold and crisp air.
There is so much to see on our eight acres and I haven’t learned it all by half yet. I don’t know the lay of this land, the bend of the little hill or the rhythms of the trees yet. That will all take time. It will all take years and years of noticing and caring for and inspecting and tending before I can say “soon the Pine trees will drop their needles,” or “we need to cut back the peach trees before such and such…” And we haven’t even gotten to the animals yet!
And after one year here we have only just begun.
But even though I cannot tell you if the pine trees produced more pinecones this year over last year, or if the soil has been affected by all this rain, I can tell you that I have never, ever, in my life, actually seen a red topped mushroom before.
Until this day.
And I almost missed them, because I was looking up and away, down the row, and at the sky, and I almost stepped on these beautiful little fairyland fungi. Their bright red tops must have caught my eye, because I looked down and there they were! Like something out of a Beatrix Potter or Tasha Tudor book. If anyone had been observing me they would have thought I had struck gold the way I danced around gleefully, and crouched down to take their pictures, and tried to brush the pine needles away gentle so as not to break their stems ( I struck out only once.)
Maybe you think it is funny, getting all excited over tiny mushrooms. And maybe it is.
But there is something about discovering things here in this rural life, that up until now I have only read about or seen in movies,
They’re real! I wanted to shout to no one in particular when I found those mushrooms. They really do exist!
This is how I feel almost every time I walk around Preservation Acres, or down our country road. I just cannot believe that I live here. And that all these things – things I have only read about in books, or seen in movies really exist.
The other night Sweet Man and I were watching television in the living room when we heard a huge thud. There had been a lot of rain and wind, and so we popped our heads outside to see what it was. But from our porch, in the pitch blackness of a country moonless night, we couldn’t see anything out-of-place. The barn and lean-to buildings were still in place, the trampoline and animal pens still standing.
So we went to bed wondering what it was, and where it happened. “Must have been something at a neighbors place,” we said as we drifted to sleep.
The next morning I noticed that our decorative windmill was lying on the ground and thought perhaps that was what had made the sound, though it has fallen countless times and we have never heard it.
I didn’t think about the odd, loud, booming again. That is until we found the source. While out hunting for a Christmas tree we found the culprit. A fallen tree in a back corner where we don’t often trod. And there it was. A huge massive tree, rotten and splayed out on the ground.
And you would have thought we had won the lottery when we found it. What a discovery!
This is what it is like. All the little discoveries, day after day. Childhood storybooks coming to life right before my eyes.
I saw this little hole and immediately thought “Oh, I wonder if Owl lives there, or if he is out building a new house for Eeyore..”
I see bunnies and I think of Peter Rabbit. I see a bee and I think “oh you are making honey for Pooh. I won’t bother you then.”
Ask anyone who knew me as a kid and you will find out that I was not an outdoorsy type. I was a book-reading-craft-making-movie-watching-cookie-baking kind of kid.
And to anyone who is truly an outdoors type I would still look like that girl. I don’t like to hike, or run, or bike, or climb, or kayak.
But I love to stroll. And meander. And look. I love to paddle around in my little boat in my pond, and I like to mingle among the trees in our dying orchard and dream of a day when each tree has been resurrected. I like to walk down our country road and see the cows in our neighbors pastures, the old rusty mailboxes hanging on by a thread, and the wildflowers growing by the road.
And I love to gather. Pinecones, wildflowers, wheat stalks, chestnuts, herbs… Being able to walk out my door and gather beautiful bits of nature to bring indoors just makes my heart so happy.
But I don’t do any of these nearly enough. I am still that indoorsy girl by habit.
So imagine my surprise when on this day – between Christmas and New Year’s, walking around and gazing at the miracle of pinecones on pine tree branches on my very own property, that this years words found me, (they always find me these pesky words,) when the Holy Spirit spoke loud and clear.
“Go Outside” the Spirit said. ‘Go outside and see.”
The directions could not have been more clear.
Recently, Anne Lamott told me (and okay, a bunch of other people,) that one of the secrets to life is to go on a walk every single day.
I think she may be on to something, because I have not been able shake her words for months.
So when I heard the words of the year, I also knew immediately once of the ways I was to act on them.
I need to walk. Everyday. Outside. For my health – mental and physical – and for reasons I won’t understand until the year is done.
And so this year, my words for 2016 are Go Outside and my resolution is Walk Outside Every Day.
And that is it. There are no other goals, no miles to reach, no speeds to make, no scales to measure. The walk may be around the property line, down a country road, or across a pasture.
Just go outside, take a walk, see what there is to discover and be. Just be.
That is all.
What about you? Any words make their appearance? Any walks in your future? I would love to hear. We learn so much from each other.
Much Love and Happy New Year!