As many of you already know, Michigan has been enjoying some delightful weather lately. This past Sunday was a beaut of a day. The sun was blazing, the sky was impossibly blue, and the temperatures were in the 40s. After a mid-afternoon nap, the Dairy Man, Jersey the pup, and I shook off the grogginess and headed out for a long walk.
Typically Jersey only gets to walk with one parent at a time. Dairy Man entertains the pups during the day and I try to take him on outings after work or on the weekends. It’s a rare occasion when he gets the chance to cavort around the dairy with both of us. Naturally, this thrilled him.
I have always loved these “family walks.” (As a note, the Dairy Man doesn’t like me to refer to the J-man as our “family.” In his mind, dogs are dogs and people are people. We’re the masters and Jersey is the subordinate. But I love that ball of fur like a baby. He has me wrapped around his little paw. And this is my blog.) Our walks are a rare time without distractions —no TV, no computers, no chores— it’s a time just to BE. We breathe clean air, marvel at the landscape, and really connect.
We also take turns holding the leash so that our shoulders are equally dislocated. That Jersey’s getting too strong for his britches.
It is on these walks that we lay out our plans and dreams. Something about the brief departure from our busy life catapults us into introspection. As we walk through the open space between the milking parlor and the road, the Dairy Man plots future barns. As we stumble through the grassy clumps behind the steer barn, I talk about writing, art, and family. As we climb the tall hill beyond the dairy, Jersey eats grass and rolls in unidentified piles of poo (ok, not all three walkers are catapulted into higher thoughts).
Each time we walk, I feel like I’m seeing our farm for the first time. Somehow there is always an angle I missed, a place I’ve never stood before.
This is the time when the Dairy Man hashes out his hopes and dreams for the dairy. He paints pictures of a bigger herd, new barns, and new machinery. His eyes glow and his words are satiated with optimism. In these moments, I am reminded anew of the ambitious man I married. I know enough about farming at this point to anticipate that his dreams will not come without terribly hard work, but as we tramp through the long grass, I fully believe that he can accomplish them.
In our harried life of farm and family, these walks give the Dairy Man and I a moment to connect, to get centered. We feel blessed, young, and hopeful.
I don’t think I’ll ever get the mud off my boots from these walks. Nor do I want to. My boots are destined to tromp around these farmlands, and so I am.