Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Mother Nature's life lessons....

So I have gotten a lot of comments on the idea that I posted a couple days ago about having something to hold on to while in rehab - in other words, making a commitment to be sober as a result of your relationship with other people, or some other person, and a lot of the comments were along the lines of, 'You should be doing this for yourself, not for someone else."
I thought about this a lot, and I remain of the conviction that there is nothing wrong with making this commitment because it will make someone else happy. As someone who has been addicted understands, almost all of it up to the point you decide to dry out is 'for yourself.'
The drunken nights when your spouse or partner wanted to spend time with you were 'for yourself', the nights at a bar when you lost control and got too drunk and someone else had to be responsible for getting you home and making sure you didnt get arrested or worse were 'for yourself,' the money you spent, the hours you wasted, the worry you caused - all of it was 'for yourself' and I believe that while you may reap endless rewards from being sober, rehabilitation is also about doing something selfless, about doing something to keep you around for the people who care, and about thinking of others first for a change.
And with that, I'll fill you in on a little of whats been going on.
The weekend was a good time - its been really rainy and I am happy about that because I dont work outside and because I am able to wear my new raincoat!

I am finally over the fact that a couple days ago I accidentally stepped on a baby chick (which we get through the mail believe it or not - see photo of the mail crate) - and the chicks are still only hours old when we get them. They dont know that when a giant human (giant from the chicks perspective at least) steps in the hen house, its not a good idea to run under one of his Sketchers because, well they can kill you. Not on purpose, and when I stepped on the chick and heard the resulting 'POP' I was mortified. Marty assured me that the chick was already dead, or sick and that I didnt do anything to harm it - I think he was just trying to make me feel better as I was about to be sick and possibly start crying!
The other chicks surrounded it and pecked its dead corpse and I was mortified that I caused this to happen. Anyone who knows me knows how I feel about animals. This was tragic to me. Chickens are disgusting cannibals, they will peck an injured hen to DEATH at the first sign of weakness.

So, after the guys in the hen house teased me a little and could see I was emotional, they stopped bugging me and I went on my day - ruined day.
They joked later about how I could solve the chicken feed problem, they would let me loose in the hen house with some cleats and I could 'handle it." - UGH!
The circle of life I was told - and that I live on a farm, death happens.
Two nights before we had a terrible flash thunder storm and one of the pregnant sheep was so startled she went in to labor and had a lamb in the mud. Marty asked me for help and we all ran out to the small animal enclosure to herd all the small animals into the barn - not realizing that the lamb was born in the mud only moments earlier.
The night on a farm is so dark, and seems more so in a raging storm. Often, the only illumination we had was the flash of lightning bolts as they races across the sky. The mother sheep was so distraught, she was aggressive and acting unusual, and we thought it was just the storm, and eventually the two of us had to lasso her and drag her to the barn - without her baby - and she cried and wailed all night. Again, we did not know the lamb had been born.
And the next day we discovered a baby. Cold, shivering, covered in mud; survivor of what must have been a horrible experience - dropped from the warm womb into the muddy, feces infested ground - in the rain, and with no mother to love it. You can imagine we were heart broken - and the mother sheep is still inconsolable, she lays in the mud where the baby was born, even now, a week later - I think she is looking for it.

The lamb lived for about three days - with several of the guys taking turns bottle feeding her, singing to her, and comforting her - and she died last friday morning.

Again, The circle of life.
I am realizing that sometimes Mother Nature can be a heartless b*tch when she wants to be!! Sheesh!
But I have been studying the Book of John in the bible (this is the gospel that deals with what Jesus SAYS not what he does, which is why we study it) and have come up with some real interesting observations.
First - I dont know if you believe in Jesus or not, but even if you dont, he's still quite the cool character. I thought about how, even on the cross, beaten and ready for a new life, abandoned by all his 'friends' and only his mom and John, and Mary Magdalen were at his feet and Jesus mustered up enough strength to tell John, "He dude, I'm about to bone outta here, so, look after my mom!"

Moms always manage to be there for stuff like that. I mean, in a way, I am slowly dying too - the drunk me, which will lead to a new sober me. I thought alcohol would kill me someday and in a way, I was right - it is killing me - its killing the me that was hurtful, that was hurting, that needed to escape - and I am being given a chance to come back to life here at the farm. And, like Jesus, my mom is right here with me, in the final days of who I was. And she is also someone who I am reminded of each day I commit to another day in rehab. One of the people I want to complete this program "for."

And, I am NOT becoming a bible thumper, but as a story, the bible has some good lessons - whether you believe they are divine lessons from God or no more heavenly inspired than a James Michener novel (and equally as long and repetitive). The gospel also says another thing about 'turning the other cheek, and forgiveness' (Luke 6) and its strange the way the universe works because I think this is a lesson that was reinforced to me only a day before I came here by a 5 year old girl.
The girl's friend had been mean to her and the five year old girl went next door and gave her flowers, even though she wasn't at fault. Her father was perplexed by this and asked why she, the innocent one, gave the flowers to the mean girl. The five year old girl replied (and I am NOT making this up), "We have a history of friendship, dad," and the matter was settled.

And this five year old is very special to me and makes me proud to be her uncle. She is my niece.
The ranch is really making me aware of so much, but mostly the fragility of life (like the chick's, and even my own), the divine wisdom of children when it comes to simple matters of the heart which we as adults make so complicated, and the never ending love of mothers, even in the worst thunder storms of our lives, when life drops you in a cold muddy, rainy pile of feces, if you're lucky like I am and Jesus was, your mom will usually try her best to get you out of it or spend the night worried in the barn when no one else noticed you were even there.
She'll walk up to Calgary with you and wait with you while your life transforms. And these lessons I am beginning to absorb come from the things I see on the farm, from the natural cycle I am exposed to here by Mother Nature, and its my responsibility to live long enough and happy enough and sober enough to help Mother Nature spread it around a little.

Talk to you all soon. (PS - this baby goat in the picture loves to kiss me, I've named her Isabella II for personal reasons)

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