Tuesdays are Farm Days in our household.
We make the 45 min drive to a working farm where the kids take environmental science classes that teach them things that I have no knowledge of whatsoever. For example today, F learned about how to make shelter with sticks and leaves. Up until my 30s, I didn’t know that the full moon was a black thing in the sky; I always thought it was full when it was full of light. I could go on, but why embarrass myself? I could however solve quadratic equations at an unusually early age because algebra’s intuitive but I would run from chickens.
So I got over my fear of the Turnpike, and show up for 3 hours each week for real-life science. The people who work on the farm are ridiculously happy.
It is therapeutic for myself, to see how calm things are, how easy it is to the kids to spend an hour feeding animals. I imagine my father and my father in law, in their youth spent all their time outside, on their farms, chasing goats and climbing trees, I want my kids to get that experience that I never got. My dad and father in law are some of the most successful people I know, with incredible resilience.
Today I marveled at the cow. I had no idea that a cow was so large, or that its face was so beautiful. Perfect too, was the fact that I had finished reading surah Baqara (Cow in Arabic), which pretty much summarizes a lot of the laws and social obligations for people of my faith. How strange that 1400+ years ago, the name of a chapter of the holiest book would be Cow. And that I would experience a cow on a farm and have a meditative moment.
Growing up in New York City, I simply had few encounters with cows.
But now, I get to bring this experience of nature to my children for a fraction of the cost of an online class. I get to learn things alongside them. For example, we learned that the more you work together, the faster you are. F worked with a young girl named Faith (how perfectly divine) to build a shelter. F learned about Easter and F explained Ramadan. This kind of cooperation can’t be learned in a classroom.
A few years ago when I was working a corporate job, I used to say, “I wish I could do that with my kids” but now, I actually simply do the things I want to do. There are multiple blessings in that reality: time, ability, and desire.
It’s not just the cow that I come to see each week.
There are 4 or 5 other mom-friends I see each week. We talk about our lives, share classes and upcoming events. Today F made Ramadan treat boxes for her khalas. We laugh. We admit things out loud in the middle of nowhere in the forest. It is a little therapy for the soul. I enjoy seeing them, and maybe they enjoy seeing me too.
Not only do I appreciate the farm, I appreciate the friends who encourage me to do the good things, to do things for my kids when I am lazy or reluctant. One of my friends has introduced me to SO MANY other amazing groups of women.
This evening, another mom-friend came over for dinner and dessert. Our kids played in the basement, while we talked.
So in a single day, I saw 7 women and their kids. It doesn’t seem like a lot — I used to see hundreds of people at a team meeting. But the quality of these relationships is so different.
It’s like that cow that I knew as an abstract thing in a book versus the real life one I saw inches from my face.
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