These ewes are about to engage in a great spiritual event - giving birth.
Animals, unlike humans, do not seek spirituality. They own it, are part of it, even create it. Giving birth is an extraordinary experience, and it is in the extraordinary that the spirit lies. A mother delivering a child is clearly in an exceptional dimension, which feels sacred to most witnesses. As these ewes bring forth new life over the next month, we honor them, pay homage to them, for the great miracle they propagate.
If feels like spirituality is inherent in animals, whereas humans have to seek it. The seeking is a difficult but wondrous proposition. Some do so formally through organized religion. Others do so informally, but vividly, through values lived. The quest for claiming greater context to daily actions seems to be essential to the human experience. This quest knows no boundaries or ascribed definitions.
Several weeks ago, this member of the Grassroots team gave a brief presentation, entitled Spirit Quest, over lunch to the City Club in downtown Cincinnati. Spirit Quest is the story of one man's journey to claim context for his purpose, summarizing work on our farm over decades. This includes developing: a grass-based dairy 30 years ago, a wetland-mitigation-bank 20 years ago, and production & marketing of grassfed meats 10 years ago. This journey could never be highly rationalized at the outset, for which a price was paid financially and emotionally. Rather it was primarily an intuitive process, buttressed by rationale in part but, more importantly, buttressed by "calling". When calling and rationale combine forces, magic can arise. We have experienced such magic over time, and are so grateful to be recovering early losses, and now to be moving into a sense of abundance.
Yet the rigor of the journey never ceases, as the spiritual path is perilous and is not for the faint-of-heart! Free-falls and periodic tumult seem to be inherent in its design. We also experience that turbulence and currently are, but with ongoing faith and work, equilibrium always seems to reestablish itself, in its own unpredictable way.
In sum, a spirit quest calls for far more than one has to give, but rewards one with far more than ever expected. This enables one to conclude that life is well lived, which might be as good as it gets.
At conclusion of the presentation to the City Club, one member commented that such a spirit quest is not something one can engage in as a youth, as it is not really available until later in life... That observation presents food for thought. It feels accurate, though there are always exceptions.
Last weekend, we gave a tour of our wetlands to a group from Arc of Appalachia. Arc of Appalachia (aka Highlands Nature Sanctuary) is a partner of ours, in that it oversees the conservation easement placed on our wetlands. These visitors were so supportive and interested in what we are doing, that they left behind more positive energy than they took. That is abundance in itself.
In several weeks, we are looking forward to hosting a class of three-year-olds, enrolled in the local Head Start program.
Below is a recently cooked, spatchcocked chicken. These pasture-raised chickens are markedly more flavorful and firmer than conventional ones, aside from being more nutritious. Spatchcocking is easy if you have a heavy pair of kitchen scissors or poultry shears. One cuts out the backbone, butterflies the carcass, and cooks it at 400 degrees for 40-45 minutes. "Brining" beforehand adds succulence. This has become Susan's preferred method for cooking a chicken.
This belated communication conveys that Bob is at Findlay Market today, and Susan, Beth, and I will be at Hyde Park tomorrow, Sunday.
May we each know a spirit quest, when the time is right.
Drausin & Susan