If that doesn't allow you to breathe a big sigh of relaxation and ease, I don't know what to do for you. Watching horses graze is poetic to me because they are intent on that patch of clover and grass. Sometimes their eyelashes are so low as they graze that they appear to be sleepwalking. One horse is usually noticeably at attention, guarding so the others in the herd can graze worry-free. If there's a gelding, he's elected. But even a group of mares will take turns.
A blissful view in our own backyard:
A friend told me about some research he read in which it was somehow proven that a mother has a huge serotonin rush after looking at a picture of her own smiling baby. I submit that a picture of a relaxed or sleepy -- better yet, sleeping -- baby is a much more powerful drug. I could nod off just looking at those sun-soaked babes up there.
My dream-come-true Joseph's Coat rose peeking through my other dream come true: a white picket fence:
There's a heck of a lot of work in tending flower and vegetable and herb gardens. This may be why you don't see more pictures of my garden -- I just haven't been weeding at all this year. So the Queen Anne's lace and dandelions are sharing space with the roses and lavender and pineapple sage and it's just a big hillbilly jumble. But it still makes me happy. In fact, I wander around at night with the soaker attachment on the hose and water the weeds and the flowers and enjoy that particular scent of herby goodness and never even think about whether I should get out the hoe. The EGE did weed my raspberry beds, and that was lovely of him.
But most of the summer, the EGE has been working himself to the bone while we all play gardening and waterfight and horses and chickens. This has me thinking on the subject of gender roles.
I have never been married (hah hah) to the idea of Henrietta Housewife and Jobful Joe. Throughout our 16-year (next month!) wedded life, we have shared the traditional and non-traditional roles pretty equally. (Well, the EGE does hate to do dishes, but that's incidental to the big picture.)
Last night a wonderful mentor of mine stopped by our farm to bring us a gift of new towels. (Yay! Towels!) Linda's a neighbor, rurally speaking, and I've known her my entire life. Still riding horses (and fixing fences and mucking stalls and bucking hay) at 63, her ranch savvy surpasses any that I might hope to attain. I can remember when I was a teenager I used to watch her work horses and marvel at her strength and poise and command.
When Linda goes to town, she is the picture of a country doctor's wife (which, in fact, she is). Every blonde hair in perfect place, her pedicure polished and her clothes meticulous and stylish. But on the ranch or running around our valley on her missions of kindness, you'll see that she can pretty much outwork anyone half her age. Her jeans and t-shirts and boots may have been blue or white or black at some point, but they are usually covered in a fine mist of horse sweat and sandy arena dust. If you are a horse person, you think this smells good. If you aren't, you want to know whether Linda has a particularly rugged twin sister.
So the other day a mutual friend said to me, "Linda works like a man." This was meant as a compliment. And it kinda got to me.
I haven't thought very much about feminism since my undergraduate days, when it annoyed me to no end that there had to be such a movement. In my tiny little world, there were Lindas, and there were soap-making stay-at-home dads, and they were all good. Or bad. Or whatever they were, but they certainly weren't defined by their gender. When I went to work in the news business, I was shocked to learn that my editor hesitated to send a "girl" out on a fire call, even when there were no other reporters available.
I didn't think I was a feminist, but I was.
Then a couple of years ago, when the EGE was starting a business (read: building his client base and working really hard but not making much money) and I was working a lot of hours in the white hot real estate market, we attended a New Year's Eve party at the home of some very good friends. All of the dozen or so children present were playing and the adults were enjoying homemade salsa and guac and lazing around toasting random wonderful things, when a man I consider one of our "people" started to apologize to me that he had listed a rehab house with another real estate agent.
Well, what he was really doing was trying to get me to say this other (male) agent wasn't doing a good job. But it started out as an apology, rambled around to criticism of this other agent, and then ended spectacularly badly with a gender jab. "It just doesn't seem right that you're the woman and you're working so d--- hard." (Upon which his gorgeous, multi-degreed stay-at-home wife and mom to his four children elbowed him HARD in the ribs and said "You didn't say anything about that when I was working two jobs putting you through grad school.")
So we are still friends with this couple, close enough to say the dumb stuff when there's been too much champagne, but I kinda look at them differently to this day. I can't wrap my brain around the fact that someone I love who could be that entrenched in gender roles. (Prolly even harder for his wife.)
We are raising four girls here at Farm Suite. I just don't know how hard to hit this issue. It's still rolling around in my brain, and I'm guessing not gathering a lot of moss.