I woke up early, and was sad. It was quite early, and I was so sad. The words sound so banal, because there wasn't anything wrong, except inside me. It is terrible to wake up ready to cry. It was a Sunday, usually a day of great peace and rest for me, when I give time away instead of worrying about it. But today was a sad day, already. Which made it more sad, because usually mornings are the best time, when it's a sad period. I was already crying. And I was worrying about crying so much; it was like being pressed in.
And then, when I was just settling down to pray and cry in the study, the sun coming up, and the regular morning glisten, a child woke and came in to that little room of my own. The child was beautiful, but it was sad, because there wasn't even alone time in my sadness. I'd written something about the sand dirt (our farm is made of sandy soil) sticking under our arches. I'd written the sentence in my journal, I am so sad. I'd written down a line from Mako Fujimura: "A person made fully alive is a burning bush." That was all--it didn't seem like enough.
But I welcomed the child, and snuggled for a minute. Then had an idea. Maybe we could go tracking. The day before, on the way back from the farm, we'd seen big tracks, but had forgotten, when we tried to look them up, whether there were nail divots--one of the distinctions between canine (coyote) tracks and feline (bobcat). We wanted to go back to see. It would be a while before Josh got up, so maybe we could go exploring in the woods, to let him sleep off the 3:30am Saturday wakeup for market.
For some unfathomable reason, the child was amenable. And by some truly-straight-from-God miracle, so was the sibling.
Here are some photos--a little gallery--of the trip: some tracks, some berry picking, some love.
So we went out across the fields, the rising sun on our left slanting across the fresh fields, our pant legs sopped. I explained what we'd learned from the tracks guide: two divots is canine, three is feline; visible nails is canine, no-visible nails is feline. We scooted through the narrow trail toward the corner mulberry trees. As we crashed out of the undergrowth, suddenly, out of my eye corner, I saw them: three coyotes at the westernmost treeline. We'd heard them in the night at sundown, howling for their own reasons. This morning they were quiet. They looked toward us a moment, while we feverishly pointed--and slipped their off into the woods again.
We crossed over the renter farmer's tender corn plants, careful not to disturb them. Picked some mulberries--just the fattest ones from the particular trees with thumb berries. And a communal breakfast of black raspberries. We sopped and squashed in the muddy eroded part, washed away again. Why is the sand over here so green?, one asked.
We talked it through.
We saw washed out animal prints and someone's melted boot prints, and then made our way to where the old tracks were. Ah. There were the nail prints--our fingers in them. Coyotes. But we had seen them, and we knew. So we went to the corner where the coyotes had just left us and saw their freshest tracks--15 minutes old--pressed deep and sharp in the wet sand.
We went to visit the new pasture, stopping to climb one of the tree stands and look out again. It was early, but the sun was growing stronger--our shadows stretched out to the west, tall and alive.
When I went back to my study later, it was different. Yes, my eyes felt gritty and sandy, my eyeballs pressed in, from the earlier crying. Something had been pressing on me. But I remembered Julian of Norwich--her hazelnut world, her sadness, and I wrote, All is well.