The morning is cold and wet. 50% chance of snow today. The sky is deep with the low white grayness of clouds. Time to head outside, my body layered with protection over my bald animal nakedness. Thin white skin pulled tightly over unprotected bones, organs and flesh, like a possum or a baby bird. Boney and pink, open mouth to mother, squawking in expectation and need of nourishment and nurturing.
I milk the goats and I make my customary rounds to each barn and feed my sheep, my young goats and the chickens that belong to me but are owned by no one. The chickens of course in spite of the bitter cold and wind are jovial and seem almost excited to see me. They crowd around feathers blown up dancing as they weave in between my feet as I walk toward the feed barrel. They always make me laugh out loud. The black hens brush against my leg and stand on my feet as I toss out the cans of scratch. I feel their softness against my boot and leg.
The wind is whipping and the powerful sound it makes through the tangled branches of the black jack oaks along with the haunting whistles of fence wire and grass blades begins the familiar tune I have now become accustom to. Within the volume of the song the wind and trees play is a profound quietness. I let the quietness come into me and I am at peace, but at times the voices in my head converse, plan and imagine, bypassing the chance for loneliness and the deep sense of solitude the wind and the cold set forth for me on these days.
After my chores are done and the animals are content with filling their bellies, warm with my skin covered in heavy layers of thick soft fabric, I sit with my sheep and goats. My fingers and nose are stiff and sore with cold numbness. I warm my folded fingers under the ears of a goat who has wandered over and offered her warmth to me and I press my nose deep into the fur of her neck, resting my head against her. We stay together quiet for a long while. Both observing our surroundings and earthly scents and we seem to exist together in this place pure gratitude waiting for the snowflakes to fall.