There are places of stillness in our lives, vantage points from which we can take in the transformations occurring around us always. The horse trough out our back door is just such a place.
We got it a few weeks after we bought our would-be-homestead. In a fit of disgust I tore everything but the toilet out of our mould-infused bathroom. I didn’t give much thought to how we were going to pay for a new bathroom, I just knew the old one was making us sick. For the next five months we bathed outside in the $150 two-seater trough we picked up at the local tack and feed store. Hot and cold water through a hose – yes Timmy, heaven does come in corrugated steel tubs made for livestock.
If you let the water heater empty its full-monty, you’ll wind up with about a foot of cozy water in a 5 1/2 foot long tub. Its best at night, you get to drift beneath the sky’s majesty nestled in a buoyant warm womb.
The tub has served many purposes over the last three years:
dog bathing entombment chamber, rain catchment device, and my favorite – chick raising pen. It always comes back around to a vessel of soapy serenity, no matter where I drag it too.
Samhain is bringing with it the hottest days of this year along with early nights that bury us in fog off the bay. The heat calls packs of coyotes down from the hills, the fog hides their mischief. Their gatherings are epic, at least a dozen at a time partying their way through the woods, onto our land. Sleep comes late and we awaken almost an hour before sunrise.
I settled into the trough Saturday at sunset after a day of building raised beds for our winter garden. The first thing I noticed, the thing thats changed most over the years, is how much everything is talking to each other now. That probably doesn’t make sense if you haven’t worked land thats both forested and cleared for raising food. It may be that all the plants, trees, insects, critters and soil have always been talking to each other, just not harmoniously. It may be that I need to be floating in a horse trough to hear it. But now more than ever before, the conversation is sweet, loud and unbroken. It ebbs and flows, a symphonic ocean of communion.
Its that shared song that gives our land a sense of place. Laying back in the trough I receive its fullness as much as I can, becomming more a part of the song – tuning in as my toes sample the fog rolling in.
All places must have their own song, a way of expressing their wholeness. The Celts talked of the Oran Mor, the great song of life, we’re always moving through different chords, eddies of the greater presence.
Shifting my trough around the land, season after season, I get a new front row seat to the unique voices of the song. The spirits of things reach out to each other. Everything weaves.
The more I soak myself in the trough, and the song of our place, the more I become like the song. I like where this song is going. We combine to make a new soul together. May it be as sweet, strong and harmonious as the Oran Mor.