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Monday, December 1, 2014

Sunshine? Sometimes you have to make your own.

''Aaarrrrgggghhh! That’s right, I’ll say it again – AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!!
It’s been some week, filled with high highs and low lows. So, this isn’t the usual Thanksgiving post, filled with cozy recipes and turkey tips. I resisted the factory turkey shaming too. This year, my thoughts are more about how, in the midst of even our most grumbly, hum buggy, mundane days, it’s good work to step back and reflect on the lessons of our daily grind. Can we meet our individual challenges with grace, temperance and yes, thankfulness? 
In the high-highs department, I was very excited about the new roof on the barn. Which fast tracks us to the low-lows department where my new roof blows off in our super-heavy windstorms. But guess what?  The roof just neatly flipped over to a safe, open spot protected from wind and animals and no one was hurt. Sure it’s a bit rumpled, and I’ll have to work around it until it can be repaired, and it will cost more money that I don’t really have. Sum total: Grateful
In suburban/urban life, it’s easy to ignore the unimaginable fact that things are not as buttoned-down as we believe. But farmers are reminded daily that life is filled with variables we simply cannot control. You can act in ways that influence the outcome, but you will never have complete control. And, the true significance of events can never be understood as they are occurring, for in every event there are elements of both good and bad. Exactly the opposite of our American culture of constant commentary, instant summation and on-the-spot analysis.
The parable of the Taoist farmer is the perfect example:
There was once a Taoist farmer. One day the Taoist farmer’s only horse broke out of the corral and ran away. The farmer’s neighbors, all hearing of the horse running away, came to the Taoist farmer’s house to view the corral. As they stood there, the neighbors all said, “Oh what bad luck!” The Taoist farmer replied, “Maybe.”
About a week later, the horse returned bringing with it a whole herd of wild horses, which the Taoist farmer and his son quickly corralled. The neighbors, hearing of the corralling of the horses, came to see for themselves. As they stood there looking at the corral filled with horses, the neighbors said, “Oh what good luck!” The Taoist farmer replied, “Maybe.”
At that same time in China, there was a war going on between two rival warlords. The warlord of the Taoist farmer’s village was involved in this war. In need of more soldiers, he sent one of his captains to the village to conscript young men to fight in the war. When the captain came to take the Taoist farmer’s son he found a young man with a broken leg who was delirious with fever. Knowing there was no way the son could fight, the captain left him there. A few days later, the son’s fever broke. The neighbors, hearing of the son’s not being taken to fight in the war and of his return to good health, all came to see him. As they stood there, each one said, “Oh what good luck!” The Taoist farmer replied, “Maybe.”
My roof event was just one happening in an eventful week. There was other juicy stuff too: sudden & wicked cold, frozen tractor engine, frozen hay, car wouldn’t start, fencing blew down, cows escaping, pigs nearly busting loose, but know what?  I managed, and for that, I’m thankful."