I was up early this morning, hoping to tackle the chores I needed done before the scorching sun became too intense. I spent most of yesterday mowing – five hours on the zero turn, and another hour doing some push mowing. So today, I only needed to finish up mowing around trees and shrubs with the push mower. But, I also had to do some watering and weeding. Plus, the ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, yellow squash, and blackberries needed to be picked.
The most dreaded task of them all that I had to get done today, however, was to clean under the deck of the zero turn mower. Cleaning the mower deck is a nasty, dirty job. It takes quite a little muscle to scrape the caked-on weeds, dirt and grass from under the deck of the mower, and one has to be tolerant of the stench, which of course, attracts flies. Add mosquitoes to the mix, and you have a recipe for misery. One saving grace I am thankful for though, is a clever apparatus called a MoJack. With just a hand crank, this simple device jacks the zero-turn up so that I can get under the deck for safe, quick and easy cleaning.
It was nearly time for lunch when I completed all of my morning tasks, and I decided I deserved a little rest and relaxation – my reward for jobs well done. I slapped a peanut butter and jelly sandwich together, which I ate as I scurried around the house gathering everything I would need for some fun in the sun. I had decided this afternoon I would treat myself with a couple of hours of luxury, floating around in the pool and keeping cool.
I gathered my necessary items – sunglasses, sun visor, sunscreen, ice water, swimming goggles, bug net, cell phone and house phone, beach towel, and finally, my floating raft – and I was ready. I jumped in the pool and, as my feet hit the bottom, I realized I had forgotten to turn on the music! Aaagh! Back out of the pool, I quickly dried myself and ran in the house to crank up the outdoor speakers, tuning into Sirius XM’s Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville channel.
After getting back in the pool, I walked its oval perimeter, skimming floating bugs with the bug net. The pool sits atop the rim of the slope, offering a gorgeous view of the woods below. There are two Hackberry trees and an Elm tree that shade the south side of the pool just a bit but, for the most part, the pool is in the direct sun. With three trees directly south, and the woodland trees nearby, we get a lot of bugs in the pool. So, while I am floating about, I keep my bug net handy for scooping up unwanted insects. Besides, it breaks the monotony and gives me something to do.
For a while I watched the clouds floating above me. I never was one to gaze at clouds and try to find different characters or forms in them. I mean, really, who has time for that anyway? I was always more the type that gave clouds attention for more scientific reasons – like weather changes. After all, a good farm girl checks out the weather for the day/week, so she knows what projects and tasks to tackle while the weather is good. But today, as I laid on my floating raft, I looked up at the clouds and wondered if I could be good at discovering forms, and using my imagination to create an image out of these fluffy masses.
The very first cloud I spotted was floating slowly, directly above me. Its form did not change much at all as I observed it. But I knew, before I could even think about it, what I saw in that formation. I was seeing the shape of a fawn. It was not a complete fawn, but I could clearly make out its head, neck and front legs.
While observing this fawn in the sky, I realized that, over the past two days, I was finally coming to grips with the fact that Daisy’s little buck, Rowdy, would not be coming back. Blindly, I had hoped that somehow he had just run off too far to find his way home, or that maybe he was nearby, but was injured and recuperating, and would soon recover to show back up with Daisy and Spirit one day. More than a week had passed since the attack by what we believe to have been a bobcat. Daisy survived a brutal fight, but we never saw Rowdy after that day, nor did we found any signs of where the attack had taken place.
Daisy’s wounds were scabbed over by now, and her hair was beginning to grow back in the large, bald spots where the bobcat had clawed it out. The bruising remained and Daisy still showed a slight limp, but she was healing nicely. Finally giving up her ardent search for her little buck a few days ago, she no longer mooed around constantly, or took long moments to investigate areas where Rowdy’s scent had lingered. The recent rains had washed away any traces of Rowdy, and Daisy had moved on, with her attention now solely focused on the care of her doe fawn, Spirit.
Daisy was not alone in her despair for her boy during those first few days, for I had suffered too. It was not easy to watch my girl spend the better part of a week searching for Rowdy. And it was terrifying to think that, after a year of Daisy wandering the woods, and beyond to the river, a mere bobcat – typically known for targeting small mammals and birds like rabbits and quail – could inflict these kinds of wounds on a full-grown deer. Ever since the attack, I had trouble sleeping at night for worrying about Daisy and Spirit – and Rowdy. Now, in my mind, the woodlands seemed to be a horrific place, no longer feeling safe and beautiful, as it had once been to me.
I did not necessarily need to see “signs” that it was time to move on, but today, it seemed that maybe Mother Nature thought it was time to give me a nudge anyway. For, early this morning, I had seen my friend the vulture, flying high above the woodlands. I am convinced the vulture is my animal totem, bringing to me the all-important message to “glide and soar”, and to leave the carcass of troubles behind. Also, I had witnessed Daisy playing with Spirit just below the slope around mid-morning and noticed how Daisy seemed so carefree, like she was when she was a young fawn herself. Daisy and Spirit gamboled and tossed heads together, having a good ol’ time, just like Rowdy had done with Spirit. Recalling this scene and observing the little fawn image in the clouds now, I smiled… it was a sign to me that wherever Rowdy was, and whatever had happened, it was beyond my control. It suddenly felt “ok” to continue to hope for a miracle, but it also felt “ok” to move on. As I pondered the amazing comfort that seemed to come over me from seeing the fawn shape in that simple mass of water droplets, I noticed Jimmy Buffet’s voice coming over the outdoor speakers – crooning the words to his song, “Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On”.
Sometimes, my friends, messages are all around us and come in many forms – if we can only recognize them. But, answers to the questions we have about life, are not always apparent. Tragedy, difficulty and struggle can come suddenly and leave us shattered. Yet, there is a resilient side to Mother Nature, and to human nature. Watching Daisy at play with Spirit, I knew I could not continue to lick the wounds of my sadness. I knew this day had presented to me a sign that it was time to move past what I thought to be a tragedy, and to be joyful of the good that was happening before me now. It was obvious that Daisy was focused on the present, and if she could move on after losing little Rowdy, then I could too.
© Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…