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Morning meditations

Sun, Jan 7th, 2001
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Monday, December 25, 2000

The windmill stands tall in the farm yard, the remnants of last years morning glories still clinging to its iron works

The windmill is the first thing I see when I leave the house in the morning. On some mornings, when its blades are idle, the tower seems to be scanning the horizon in search of a wayward breeze. And, yet, on other days, the mill fans horrifically fast in the face of the coming wind. Wind direction and speed are my first indicators of what the weather will be like each day.

Every morning I do chores. These are not to be confused with the chores that farmers do - hauling hay and feed to animals, milking cows, hauling manure and, in this Arctic-like weather, keeping water tanks from freezing. My chores are much more basic than that - five minutes out in the elements feeding cats, chickens and a dog.

After I look at the windmill, my eyes carry east toward the valley where the sun rises. The tree-line in the distance looks bluish-black against the white snow. I always stop for a few breaths on my way to the granary, to take in this view. I never tire of it. In Asia, it is every old mans wish to be buried facing east, where the first glimmers of day begin.

I unbolt the door on the granary and dig into the barrel of cat food for a heaping scoop full and pour it into the dish. The three cats dig in right away. They are outdoor cats and their winter coats are fur-thick, giving them a wild, beastly look, almost lynx-like.

I leave the cats to their breakfast and walk head-down, following my breath toward the chicken coop. The ammonia smell hits me as I open the door. I hit the rubber water dish against a cement block to rid it of ice before filling it up with water. I scatter laying mash across the straw and check for early eggs, hoping to get them in the house before they freeze.

Our home sits on a slight rise to the north. From the chicken coop I can see that the kitchen and hallway lights are on and know that my kids and wife are scurrying with their morning preparations.

I walk toward the house, trudging diagonally across the snow, to feed the dog. From above, my foot-steps form a perfect triangle in the drifts: house-granary-coop and back to the house again.

While these easy chores take a mere five minutes to do, they, nonetheless, are the beginnings to my mornings. Over time, these daily habits have become for me what the Buddhists refer to as walking meditations a meditative state where a person reaches a sense of being one with the world around them while strolling or walking in a purposeful fashion.

Usually I cannot recall what I have even thought about on these morning rounds of mine. Simply put, every morning I do chores and take water to twenty chickens and have a short visit with myself.

As I near the house, my revelry is broken by the sounds of life inside. I see my wife busy in the kitchen as I open the patio door and the heat of the room rushes to my face.

I stomp the snow off my boots and enter, ready to go out into the big vast world once again.

By John Torgrimson

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