There are things in the woods.
Paying attention is one of the fundamental tasks of being human being. Paying attention to what’s around us is a survival skill. Paying attention keeps us from being eaten by lions, helps us to find nuts and berries, and keeps track of our mates. But it is more, it is also one of the ways in which we indicate what things are important to us. It signals what we value and what we feel responsible for, even as paying attention changes our relationship with those things.
Lately I’ve been thinking about a particularly local sort of paying attention. The attention that I focus on the bit of the Earth that I feel particularly responsible for, the small ground of 20 acres of forest and pasture, the house and the business that make up Black Dog Farm. On any day there are sheep to feed and water, eggs to collect from under broody hens, dogs to be exercised and trained. Meals must be prepared, jobs attended to, and the buildings maintained. All of these things and more must be carefully and mindfully attended to lest a sick sheep or a client’s deadline escape our notice. [Read more…]