Thursday, October 21, 2010

Milking Season Has Come To An End

The bread dough is rising. Not quite so much dough today since there is a high wind warning and many of our fall vendors are done for the season.

Sun is shining and not a cloud in the sky.

I am grieving the change of the seasons today as I feel a bit chilled to the bone. Coco is now dried up and I am using store-bought cream in my coffee.

Isn't it weird that I could be so tired of going out and milking for ten months or so, but that when it is all over, I miss it?

Milking Coco is my quiet reflection time. A lovely practice in meditation as the breeze blows, the milk streams into the foamy bucket. I watch the chickens and goats in the distance. The leaves on the cherry tree and willow tree offer a different story almost every day. Each month I see the moon in a different location, the fields a different color, the garden in a different state.

Squatting down by Coco's flank, sometimes in a jacket, sometimes in pajamas, sometimes in shorts and tank top, I feel her warmth and the switch of her tail and feel connected to something big and old and good. I feel connected to my dad, to my grandparents and the many others in past generations whose strong hands brought forth cream and milk and cheese and butter from the dear animal who magically transformed grass into white gold.

Milking Coco this year offered a seriously difficult form of grief therapy as it forced me to get up and move when I didn't know if I could even walk, let alone wash up the milk bucket, go outside, grab grain and force my hands to work mechanically. Coco munched her grain as the milk streamed. And as my tears streamed down my face. I felt tiny little bits of healing wash over me as each week progressed, the seasons changed and the grass greened and the trees flowered and the garden grew, all while squatting by Coco's flank.

Coco is now pregnant (we presume) and needs a couple of months off to put all her resources into the new baby. Before you know it, winter will be here, baby will be born, and another cycle of milking will begin.

There will be plenty of opportunities to go outside and watch my world. But rarely is there another activity that forces me to squat down, be still for 15 or 20 minutes to simply watch and listen and feel.

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