Spring is meant to soothe our souls


A good day became a great day with the sighting of a vibrant pair of blue birds, searching and finding a suitable home here on our farm.
As pastures and fields begin to green up once again, the long gray winter finally seems to be behind us. For some reason, this winter seemed melancholy and endless. The sunshine and green grass lifts the spirit.
Explore. A woodpecker drums me awake as the sun peeks over the horizon. The dogs were happy to be invited along as I decided to go out exploring.
Robins, in abundance, seem to dance about on the dewy grass. House finches and starlins join the morning revelry. High in the old walnut tree, a vibrant red cardinal chirps endlessly.
Spring fever seems to have hit the horses with a powerful force, as they jump and run and whinny loudly. The wide open pasture must feel like a golden gift after months of confinement to the smaller paddock.
I have to laugh as they seem to chase something that I can’t see, tails flying, manes rippling in the wind they create as they fly with abandon.
It’s a race. The dogs vie for my attention, wanting me to see every little thing they have found. Chantico, the tiniest of them all, barely tipping the scales at 2 pounds, tries to outrun the biggest dog, Channing.
Channing is willing to let the little one run ahead, happy to share her world with us. She stays near my right hand, looking up, leaning in, pleased to be patted on the head.
Suddenly, though, Channing spots a groundhog, and her easy-going nature vanishes. Her entire body language changes as she shifts lower to the ground, kicking in to overdrive as she leaves us behind. The wise old groundhog senses Channing’s thunderous approach and scurries to a hole.
Channing digs through the tunnel for a time, until she remembers she has company this morning and finds her way back to the pack of us. I praise her for trying for that fat groundhog and her tail wags with triumphant joy.
I gather up litter left behind by a windy winter, tucking it in the bag I have brought along.
I say, simply, “Come on, we have work to do.”
Stay busy. This triggers a memory for tiny Chantico, who helped me all last summer as I pulled weeds in the flower garden. She is suddenly on high alert, looking all around, trying to figure out what it is we need to do.
As I pick up a tattered, dirty post card in the alfalfa field, Chantico senses immediately this could certainly earn her some brownie points with the human part of this pack and she begins picking up random things, such as an empty chewing gum pack, shaking it in her tiny mouth for good measure.
I take it from her and drop it in the bag, telling her she is such a good little dog. She beams with pride.
When we turn to head back, Chantico complains loudly that Channing beat her to a stick that she had wanted to pick up. I begin picking up sticks, too, knowing this will make great kindling for the bonfire my kids are planning with friends on this night.
Divine. As we head back to the house, I find myself thinking that if more people could live this way, I am convinced there would be far less violence in the world. A farm on a sunny spring morning is just about as close to heaven as we can hope to find on this planet.


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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren.