5/29/15

Foggy Morning

I am not sure anyone reads this but the therapy that writing gives me is reward enough!

When I had to get up early this morning because the cats would not leave us alone, the fog was heavy and lingering.   I love foggy mornings.  The dew sticks to the spider webs leaving the fields and trees looking as if they had finely crocheted lace patches.  They glitter with the dew and look so very magical.  It's odd for a girl who is terrified of spiders to appreciate the beauty they can create.  I am learning through my daughter's love for nature to leave them be as long as they don't invade my home.   The thousands of webs I see hanging on the top of the grass and trees have been designed to catch mosquitoes that do far more damage to my thin skin than those tiny creatures who designed the webs.

I am learning to watch the life of small creatures and appreciate what they do.   Spiders seem to be designed as protectors of our skin and homes.   There is a large brown spider living outside the horse barn.  In all honesty, he makes my head spin each time I see him.   The terror of them hasn't subsided, but I know if I keep my distance they really are not interested in me.  But the awesome thing about this guy is each evening he builds a gigantic web in a matter of minutes it seems.  That web catches enough I suppose for him or her to survive the next day.  As the sun comes up, this thing takes it all down and leaves nothing for me to walk through which would cause me to faint as the terror takes over.  So he's a welcome guest.

For years we had those silver and yellow spiders that built beautiful webs and sat at the top waiting for food to arrive.   I taught my daughter how to catch grasshoppers and other critters and toss them into the webs just as my mother taught me.  Mom appreciated them so much that she would take a broom and encourage them to take the ride to their new spot...a spot that I could't walk through.   They do not take them down so they are occasionally swatted into oblivion and yes, I feel a small hint of guilt.

When I was a child, it was my job to feed the calves my dad would buy at the auction for next to nothing.  In those days when the dairy farmers removed the calves, they often did not have time to raise them.  My Daddy was know to be one to buy them.  They were often weak and wobbly.  Daddy would give them shots of B12 and I would become their guardian.   I mixed the formula in a gigantic pan with an hand mixer which I still have.  Then I would fill the bottles...normally we had four.  

I would lug those big bottles up the hill to the barn and let the calves out two at a time and feed them holding the bottle with both hands.  They would get stronger and it would be one at a time.  This required me to move them out of the front stall and into the back one which stayed open until feeding time.   Then one by one, I would let them out.  As more of them had eaten and were not removed back into the other stall, I would feed the next one and fight off the others.   They would butt and pull and on the bottle just like they do their mothers - it was instinct.

One morning as I was heading to their stall, I opened the door and walked right through Charlotte's evil web.   As I felt the spider (My mom named them) crawling up the back of my neck and into my hair.  That's the last memory I have of that moment.  As I woke up from the faint, I realized the calves had tried to help themselves to the bottle and managed to pull the nipples off.  I was covered in calf formula, drool and... whatever it was I landed in.  Every time I tried to get up, one of the calves would hover over me and push me back down. It was an adventure.  Daddy finally realized that I was taking longer than normal and, assuming I was doing the training with halters and so on, came to watch.  I heard him bust out laughing and he finally picked me.  At that time I was a scrawny thing and the calves probably outweighed me.  Needless to say, Charlotte was removed to a new location and I learned to take a broom with me to clean out any other residents webs with each feeding.   I am sure those spiders caught flies and other things that were bad for the calves, but those webs....evil, evil things.

I digressed...it's what I do.   This morning the fog...and the beauty took me back forty years to what we children thought were happy, happy days and simpler times.   We didn't feel the stressful economics that our parents were burdened with and which we feel as grown ups.   This foggy morning gave me the opportunity to take a breath and reflect on the journey that got me here today.

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