Little gifts of grace.
Looking into this hay filled place of new life, I see those bright eyes and pink noses. I also see that soft and beautiful white wool touched by spring rain, warm sun and fresh hay, the new lambs smell like fresh laundry. It is that unmistakable smell of spring's birth.
Brushing up against the wooden lambing stalls, and peeking at me with curiosity, their new knobby knees are strong. Each mum-ewe is checked for milk and overall health and given a safe place to rest and spend time with her own lamb (or lambs). It is a lamby nursery and the barnyard sounds are so sweet.
Luis is hard at work, and a beaming smile shows how the day has been.
We work hard to understand each other. Some things I pick up quickly and some things I can only guess at with hand gestures and my growing collection of español. I think his english is better than he lets on, but it doesn't matter, we understand each other best when we are smiling and laughing at the silliness of the sheep and lambs.
We share space as we feed, tend, and love the sheep. The smells and sounds of this place are those of all barnyards ~ alfalfa and hay, warm wood and wool, muted cries of new lambs and the answering calls of their new mothers, the ding-dings of occasional sheep bells, and the creaking of wooden pens as the sheep move, pushing against their cozy new space.
The messiness of my daily life (life at home with my work, family, sons) seems to fall away as farm chores are meted out. It is good to spend time in the dirt. The real is very real here. Often necessary needs of the blessed barnyard take over and my head and heart seem to slow down into a peaceful rhythm. Nothing is done quickly here (unless it is a sheep jumping emergency, which does happen), no, sheep need and thrive on quiet hearts and hands. So we throw hay, move sheep, bring water and feed lambs (the ones without mothers) with a calm and measured pace.
The quietness it creates inside of me is palpable - perhaps it is form of meditation? I think it is reminding me of the stillness I know I desperately need. Could there be such thing as sheep yoga?
In a smiling, sighing breath I know these moments are heaven sent, gifts of wooly hugs and divine peace. I am so thankful.
As I pull of my gloves to leave the shepherd calls out every day's affirmation,
"Poco a poco...poco a poco..."
Yes, I nod to him and myself in agreement.
"Little by little...Yes, little by little..."
With grace and peace,