Most folks at Dusty Dog Farm know that I have a "hidden family." The Dump Creatures, I call them.
Every farm has a place where "stuff" is piled or thrown: old wooden benches, leaves raked up from years of turning seasons, branches that have blown off a constantly shedding willow tree, fiber pots left over from last year’s yard plants... plus the Dump Creatures.
The Dump Creatures include birds (confirmed), mice (confirmed), rabbits (confirmed), skunks (a good guess), plus who knows what else. They all call "Dusty's Dump" home.
Hiding places abound as the dump has now been used enough years to gain some foothold in the environment. Protected from the north/northwest wind by a flowering crab apple tree and the dump's natural form, the dump provides nooks and crannies for all types of creatures.
Anyone who lives in New England year round knows this winter has been COLD. And it was COLD early. I chose this winter to give my Dump Creatures a "leg up" in the cold. So daily I have walked to Dusty's Dump to fill the "bird feeder" (in theme with the dump, the bird feeder is an old basket from my garden) and put seeds in perceived doorways of the Dump Creatures' homes.
I like to think that the Dump Creatures have had a good season, despite the cold.
Most often as I leave the Dump, I walk backwards hoping to catch the flick of a tail or eyes surveying the bountiful feast from a safe hole or a bright red dash through the treetops as the birds come in. Always with a sigh I return to human life and most often a smile crosses my face as I recognize a "layer of life."
The world that the Dump Creatures occupy is one of mystery. Their layer of life I will never be a part of.
Our Farming For Resilience program has begun spring sessions with five local schools. We are now in our third week.
The participants have been introduced to courage, gratitude, forgiveness, and compassion through the lens of horses and the outdoors.
As I watch the horses work with the humans, I see eyes open, smiles abound, voices begin, laughter sneaking out.
Layers of life, coming to life. Providing nooks and crannies for all types.
May I always walk backwards or move slowly enough to catch a smile drawing up the corners of someone's mouth, a newfound strength in a voice, the burble of laughter bubbling to the surface, the sun kissing the treetops.... May I always notice the layers of life.
Enjoy the sun stretching the days into spring.
With gratitude, Christina