I always love my country home, but there are times when it simply takes my breath away, and I'm deeply thankful that I get to be here. This evening is one.
We're enjoying a warm week in January, and the days have lengthened ever so slightly - the perfect combination of warmth and long light that makes me dream of springtime. I've taken advantage of a dinner already made and am spending the waning hour of daylight cleaning out my garden beds, in preparation for upcoming planting. I turn over big fistfuls of dark soil, marveling at the thriving earthworm population. I get a chuckle from the jostling and squawking of the hens putting themselves to bed - endless shuffling and shifting, punctuated by sudden outbursts, like children in their bunks at camp after lights-out.
I turn over soil until it is nearly dark and I can barely see. I can hardly make out the distinction between the black dirt and the smoke sky, the slate grass beneath my feet. The goats in the barn are silent, surrendered to their caprine dreams. A dog in the distance calls out to anyone who'll answer. Everything is quiet and still, and vibrantly alive. The air is cool and moist, faint lightning casts an orange glow on clouds too far away to matter, and everything smells of earth.