Day 57 – Calving Season 2022 – The Tenderlands – Chapter 3 – Longings

We got going a bit early today in order to be ready for the arrival of Harold. He is the trucker we use to take large herds to summer pasture and our calves to the auction mart. The first step happened when Russ and Morgan brought the group in we had put through the chute on Friday. We separated the cows and the calves and then Ron, Russ and Morg worked with Harold and got the truck loaded.

We did this with rain falling, as it had been thru the night. It was a muddy setting for our work.

Raindrops on my glasses.

At this point the accumulating moisture is still a blessing for us but has become a very large problem for grain farmers who are having trouble getting seed into the ground.

While the guys were loading the truck I bottle fed our calf, “Hadley”, a twin whose Mama couldn’t provide for both babies. Baby Hadley has a big story. When it was clear that he needed a different Mom Russ tried to adopt him onto our cow named “Hadley”, it just didn’t work and bottle feeding became a neccesity. Our guests the Fentons brought the calf his first bottle. Izzy and the calf bonded and for the remainder of the visit this was Izzy’s calf and it was given the name “Hadley Fenton” after Izzy’s great Grandpa. When Russ tried to feed Hadley after Izzy left he could hardly convince it to eat, Russ was not his Mom, “where is Izzy?” was the vibe this calf was giving off. By the time I showed up in its pen this morning that young calf had already known alot of different mothering action. We did well together. Hopefully he will get a permanent Cow Mom pretty soon.

Anyways…..Russ and Morgan checked the calving herd and then we got ready to go to church. I didn’t want to go. I am so tired. I wanted to stay in bed and drink coffee and roam the internet. Russell weighed in. With several Sundays ahead where attendance is iffy, he thought we should grab the chance to get there today. Off we went. Like alot of things, it was good to be there once we were there.

Having said that as things unfolded Russ felt he needed to make an apology to Susan our minister. After going full tilt for a long time and not sleeping very well the last few nights, Russ arrived at church not prepared for a warm spot to sit still for a bit and he fell asleep, repeatedly. He informed us at the end of church that he had bizarre dreams in those moments he was dozing. At one point he had been dreaming that he was sorting cows with women on horseback in Jesus’ tomb and Jesus and the angels were sitting on the ark of the covenant looking on. Its actually quite the scene to visualize. It was Morgan who had nudged Russ to wake him up at the point where this dream was getting going. He later apologized to Russ for interrupting such an interesting dream. And Russell apologized to Susan for sleeping in church. She was as gracious as ever, understanding his reality.

When Russell told me about this dream it seemed to me that there was something essential in it. I saw that maybe it had a bit in common with messaging that happened last Sunday. If you want to analyze this with me, read on…..

In Russell’s dream perhaps, and I really mean perhaps…..there is a distinct chance I am making a mountain out of a molehill…..but….in that dream was there a longing revealed? Could it be a longing to know that our daily life has holy dimensions? Like the assurance that we are living our days in the presence of God. (Why else would we sort cows in a tomb? That space where Gods power very famously prevailed.) Like the assurance that Jesus sees us doing the things that are hard and scary and loves us through it. (Why else would Jesus have stood witness to all that sorting action?) Like the chance to glimpse the possibility that our lives can be enfolded in Jesus’ story (thats what I see when action from 2 vastly different cultures and time periods gets merged together.) It was a thought provoking dream you must admit.

What happened last week is this…… Russ sent me a picture of Morgan working in our neighbors cattle handling chute. It was from the back. It struck me how much Morgan’s posture was like my Dads and that it indeed could have been my Dad in the picture.

The picture Russ sent.

I replied, “that could be my Dad.” Immediately Russ messaged me back, “That would have been cool 2 work with Wayne” In those few short words all kinds of longings were released and reflected. My longing that my Dad could be a part of what my life holds. Russell’s longing to know my Dad as a healthy man. Our enduring ache to have people alongside us that just can’t be. It was all contained in those few lines of text. Again I feel like I am making a mountain out of a molehill, us analytical people are kind’ve famous for this, but there is something there, there just is. There is definitely longing in my part of this story.

I am currently reading a book called, “The Book of Longings” by Sue Monk Kidd. Perhaps thats why longings are on my mind. What do we do with our longings? Especially knowing that many of them just cannot be met. It strikes me that one thing we can do, no matter what, is listen to them. Having listened to them perhaps something becomes more clear, maybe not. By listening though, we have honored our own hearts and that is important.

Day 57 of calving season took me to a very muddy corral, a quiet barn, a sanctuary, a restaurant and my own tenderlands. That has all been good, but the kitchen is where my attention is now needed. I find myself longing for that TV character from the 60s, Samantha from Bewitched, who could wiggle her nose and make magic happen.

I need some magic in the kitchen tonight.