I have now learned that when my instincts speak, I listen... I wish I had learned to do this sooner.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Conversation With the Sheepfarmer : Motherhood

 Scene: This morning when releasing a ewe from her box to join the rest of the mamas and lambs in the sheepbarn: 

Me: "I can't believe this Mama who was so violently opposed to being in the box and having to be  'constrained' just to feed her lamb a week ago, is NOW a tender, doting mama” already joining the others.                                                                                                              

Sheepfarmer: "The ones that have such a hard time in the beginning usually turn out to be the best mamas. The total dislike comes from being overwhelmed and lacking confidence. When we keep her in close quarters to love and care for her AND teach her how to care for her baby, she allows herself to then become overwhelmed by love. Passion.”   

It is called loving fiercely.

THIS from a guy who never had children.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Knight of Nights

Baigura, the great mountain watching over the flock.
  “You’re off to great places.  
Today is your day.  
Your mountain is waiting, 
   so get on your way.”  
                                      Dr. Seuss
...also watching over us from underneath the clouds.
This past summer a very dear friend of mine lost her very dear Aita (father).  His name was Manex (Manesh).  True, noble and authentic, the Knight of nights.

I had always aspired to meet a man much like him.  And I did.  When she finally met the Sheepfarmer, she told me, that yes, it was so...

Manex was sincerity in it’s purest form. He was made of humble self respect, and his oh, so quiet confidence would reflect on those around him, to bring peace within one’s self.  You left feeling better than when you arrived.  Really.
I do not  doubt that others have felt the same after being in his presence.  In his 86 years of life, he had truly honored each and every step that he had taken. Always.

I asked my dear, sweet friend if there was something I could do and made the offer of returning her Aita's cremated remains, this November upon our return, to his beloved Basque Country…his Lur Ama, Motherland.  She did not hesitate for a moment and told me how she had always imagined releasing his ashes to the winds of Baigura, the mountain which shelters his village, also.  The mountain who shared his childhood and of which he spoke so fondly.  

So when I return, it will be my honor to take the footpath up to the summit of Baigura, accompanied by the Sheepfarmer, and return Manex to his Lur Ama. To forever breathe in her winds…

And now, EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I look upon our quiet, beautiful, and peaceful Baigura, I think of him, Manex, and aspire to be more like him: 
honest, kind and admirable…

It is, for me, the very definition of success in one’s life.  

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Cathedral Bells

Have binoculars, will travel

A few days ago the Sheepfarmer and I were lucky enough to get away for a delicious picnic in the mountains of Iraty.  It was quite the celebration.  First the Sheepfarmer came home after 5 days in the hospital...  I had been begging him to go for a few days and, finally, under threat of either getting in the car and letting me take him there OR having the neighbors witness  a screaming ambulance siren coming up the hill to the farm, he CHOSE to get in my car.  Why do I have to threaten these things?  Why is he so hardheaded? 
He is Basque. It is that simple.

Second reason for celebration? The milking season is over and the sheep and other livestock have moved on to high pasture... where they are under order to procreate, big style. And we have more free time…to garden and fertilize and harvest and can…AND picnic.  To spend a Sunday afternoon wandering.

And third reason for celebration: our good fortune in getting to go to my daughter’s wedding in October! It will be the FIRST time the Sheepfarmer gets on an airplane. AND we will be hitting my 35th high school reunion to boot, all this in beautiful California…it has been too long.  The visit will be short, but I have been promised another one in a couple of years…and in the meantime, 
I will get to do some grandbaby snuggling.

Up there in those mountains with the cleanest and thinnest of air, it was as if ALL our prayers had been answered; we stood mesmerized...all those cowbells, sheepbells and horsebells, in all shapes, sizes and tones  
 You could swear all the catherdrals of ALL the heavens had pulled on ALL their bell ropes ALL at the same time, all day long.  

It was just so beautiful…we have been blessed.
Sunbathing sheep

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Fetes de Bayonne 2013

LOOK what’s going on not too far from here!!!

Buried Treasure

 Sometimes life plays her music loudly, she thunders and roars and there is no ignoring her.

She pushes and pulls, leading you in directions that had never crossed your mind. She is going too fast and you fall in over your head, soaked in freezing snowmelt... the river incontrolable, unleashed in her power,  raging in the torrents of our earth’s arteries.
Eyes closed, you grab a branch, heap yourself up from sliding frozen craters back onto to firm ground.  Completely spent, you wring yourself out, the unfriendly humidity barely allowing you to dry.  
The breeze then whispers... and presents to you an undiscovered path,
Stearing you across rickety old bridges whose passages have left centuries of unrecorded, secret stories.  You tell yourself that this adventure and the ones before it, still breathing on the sighing bridge, are far from safe or sane.
 Yet in this strongest moment of doubt, life offers you her shelter and a stability you had never before met nor mastered.  
Hesitent feet and breathless spirit are literally floating in unchartered territory.  But in this moment lives a precious memory…
The brave little water nymph, the child warrior that had inhabited the first chapter, in the first book of your difficult, but extraordinary life,

realizes that these dangerous adventures are what have brought you back to your real self, 
the authentic self.
An awareness of the sweetest fulfillment, nestled within the quietest of blessings, serene in the rediscovery of buried treasure...
quietly you bathe in the protection of universal Peace.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sheepfarmer’s Serenade

It has been HOT and humid, we went from 15°C to 40°…winter to high summer. Haying has been going on for a couple of weeks and as of yesterday is finally finished. I have been on total farmhouse AND farmstead duty, ALL of it. Needless to say nerves are frayed and sleep is restless, at best; an endless dance with dropping and pulling ONE sheet AND trying to find a calm moment of peace and quiet between the snoring stops and startling starts of the Sheepfarmer’s serenade, to sleep (blessed sleep!), THROUGHOUT the night.
To electrify the concert, I was being attacked by a few mosquitoes that DRONED in the sticky, airless night. I calmly got up and plugged in the poison.
The ever frugal, wanting for little, overly exhausted Sheepfarmer got up and unplugged it!!! “There are no mosquitoes,” he says 

"YES, there are!”
 “You’re imagining it, none have come near me...”
"That’s because they don’t dare APPROACH the triple 7, laying in the MIDDLE of our 140cm OLD bed!”
Slowly the steam dissipates and a little while later he asks, “What’s a triple 7?” and I answered

 “An airplane."