Come walk with me a while. Come and see this land I call home. Come walk with me through the change of seasons. If you have the courage and heart, come, stand with me and witness my joy, my grief, the blood, the sweat, the tears that have gone into the building of this land I call home. Come see the circle of life, from birth to death.
Come and see. See the fall colors. The reds of the maples and oaks, the green golds of the birch and aspen. See the evergreen of the pine. Feel the rain fall cold on you. See the thickening coats of the animals. Watch the rivulets of water run away. Smell the cold damp earth, that speaks of coming winter. See the white of the frost as it coats the browning pasture land. Now see the sun come out and bring the colors alive. Feel its warmth on your face. See the animals sunning themselves. Smell the sharp, sweet scent of dying leaves.
Watch the dogs, really watch them. See the joy of life in their sparkling eyes. See them glory in just moving. See the content in just being. Hear the deep throated barks as they alert to predators who have strayed too close.
Come with me while a living creature gives its life so you can eat. Watch the life fade from its eyes, and the blood soak the earth. Taste the memories of watching that creature grow from birth to death, and feel the sorrow of a life gone. Now feel the satisfaction of food on the table and the knowledge that the animal lived a good life, cared for, and yes, loved.
Now feel the cold wind blow as winter sets in. Watch the world turn white with snow. Feel the sharp pang of anxiety, hoping that everything is done. See the heavy lead grey clouds that hide the sun for days. Then see them leave, the sun shining again. The snow sparkling in the light, and the landscape a thing of harsh beauty. Yes harsh, cold and unforgiving of mistakes but a thing of beauty nonetheless.
Watch the steam puff from animals nostrils. See the frost gathering on the surface of fur coats. Dig your fingers deep into those fur coats as the dogs lean on your legs. Feel the warmth soak into your hands and the undying love of a working partner. Look deep into their eyes, these dogs, these partners of mine, and see the wisdom of ages shine through as they look back, confident, unafraid, sure of themselves and their place.
Watch with me as the old one struggles and despite all care, she dies. See the dogs grieve the loss of one of their charges. But life goes on. Stand by my side as I find a healthy young rooster who wasn't smart enough to seek shelter, dead. Feel the sorrow, the disappointment. But life goes on.
Smell the wood smoke from the fireplace. See the grey column against the blue sky. Now straight, now bent as the breeze plays with it. Hear the trees crack from the cold, and their branches rattle in the breeze. Hear the song of the lake ice, creaking and groaning as pressures from cold on one side, and water on the other, give it no rest.
See the stillness of the night. The bright stars against the black sky. Hear the song of the wolves. Hear the response from your guardians, deep barks that boom through the clear night, a distinct message for all to hear, this is my home, these are my charges, stay away, and if you come, I will stand and fight.
Now hear the song, the death song the dog pack sings as one of their own passes away. Come, stand with me and witness my sorrow, my grief as one who was a partner and friend is no more. See the tears and heartbreak that few will ever see. Stroke his fur with me one last time. Then again as it is unbearable to let him go. Now see my memories of his gold eyes that sometimes laughed, and were sometimes sober. Remember the mischief he made and the fun he had. Remember the care he had for the infant critters. Remember the unwavering loyalty and love that he carried in his heart. And see that I will always and forever carry him in my heart.
If you have courage left in you to walk with me some more, come feel the warmth of the spring sun. See the new goat kids born in the night. See them take their first staggering steps, and suckle for the first time. Go on, pick one up, cuddle it close to your heart, smell the sweetness of its fur. Look at mother, see her caution and concern for her little one. Feel the nose touch of one of the guardian dogs as they let you know they are watching too.
Now put the baby down and watch it frolic with the others. Turn around, see the ones there? Once again, there is joy in life, but also sorrow as this set was born prematurely. And life still goes on. See the gosling's? Little balls of yellow down. Feather light in your hand as they cheep. Hard to think that in a few short months, they will look like real geese.
Smell the damp earth again as the sun warms it and melts away the snow. The sun that shone so coldly during the winter months, is once again, a thing of warmth and life. Bend down, part the dead brown grass, see the new growth starting.
Now look around again, see the tiny green and red buds that will be leaves on the trees. See the apple trees bloom and smell the delicate, sweet perfume as the breeze brings it to you. See the tiny spring wild flowers that hug the ground. Purple, yellow and white. See the horses toss their heads and run, just for the joy of living.
Now walk with me into summer. Feel the heat of the summer sun as the fence must be repaired and rebuilt. Hear the roll of the thunder, see the flash of the lightning, and feel the drops of needed rain. See the dry brown pasture come alive again, turning a vibrant green in the aftermath of the storm.
Hear the buzz of the flies. Watch the dragonflies glide around the barn. See the eagles and ravens circle overhead. Watch as the guardian dogs tirelessly patrol. Hear the song of the birds. Smell the hot earth. See the beautiful colors of the wildflowers and the bees that feed from them.
Come see the new pups, little helpless things. Watch their first clumsy steps, and hear them try to bark and growl, imitating the adults. Now the sounds make you smile. In a few short months, they will be learning their job from their parents, and their sounds will not be cute any longer. They will be powerful, loyal, confident dogs with the wisdom of ages in their eyes.
See the colors start to turn. We are back at fall. Now come sit with me a while. Sit and watch the sun rise on a new day. A sunrise of a new day, so much beauty, so full of hope, a new day. Now sit awhile and watch the sun set. The end of a day, some days one is relieved to see the end as there was much sorrow. But the end of a day is beautiful too, you see, the end of the day comes before the beginning of a new day, a new tomorrow. At the end of the day, you think, and remember and sorrow in the losses, and take joy in the being, the living. Then you take a deep breath, and look for the new beginning. Every day, a new beginning and the circle of life goes on.