On My Mind: Looking forward to reaching summit


Awaiting my morning wake-up call — Toby knows exactly when 8 a.m. comes — my mind rambles, and on this morning I reflect on what my imagination can create. (What would we do without a good imagination? It can make or break your day.)

Imagine the year as a mountain to climb and we are on the ascent. The paths are rugged with big boulders along the way, especially on the upward climb, but as we reach for the summit we hope the way will be easier.


Gradually the mornings will be lighter, and in the shake of a lamb’s tail — well, maybe two shakes — we are there and looking forward to whatever is on the other side.

Was your holiday what you wanted it to be? Certainly the weather wasn’t exactly as we would have preferred (as of this moment and for the last several days my rain gauge is overflowing. At least we don’t have to shovel it, but we may have to an the boats!) Poor Toby hasn’t been dry all fall — winter is officially here — but it doesn’t bother him. He can come in if he pleases or if he informs me loudly he wants a snack.

Dancing birds

Watching the aerial ballet outside the kitchen window I observe different personalities in the visitors clamoring to be fed. The sociable little chickadees wait for me to spread the buffet, grab a seed and fly away or stuff it in a branch of the wisteria for future reference.

When cardinals move in, they are positively peevish, glaring at and chasing any sparrow daring to land on the board. The titmice are easygoing and don’t bother anyone, nor do the nuthatches, but the cute little goldfinches are a feisty lot, quarreling with one another and the other birds. One blue jay comes about once a day and ignores everyone else.

I read in other papers about rescue sanctuaries for farm animals. Did you know about Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary in Ravenna? They have been operating with a volunteer staff and donations for ten or more years.


Their holiday newsletter has a lovely thought: “Everyone and everything in the world is our teacher. Every animal who crosses our path teaches us an important lesson whether we realize it or not. Perhaps they are teaching us patience, unconditional love, tolerance, gratitude or how to be kind to others, even when we are experiencing pain. We have much to learn from the animals, if only we are open to the lesson.”


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A lifelong resident of the Mahoning Valley, Janie Jenkins retired in 1987 as a feature writer and columnist at the Youngstown Vindicator. In June of that same year, she started writing her column, "On My Mind" for Farm and Dairy. She loves all animals and is an accomplished equestrienne. Local history is also one of her loves, and her home, the former Southern Park Stables, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.



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