This is one of those October mornings. The welcome rain is over, the sun
lights the east sky behind the few disappearing clouds and pea-size dew drops
seem to reach up to moisten my canvas shoes as I walk to our pottery workshop.
Daybreak! It’s my favorite time of the day, and autumn is one of several
favorite times of the year.
I open one of the kilns and discover that a fragile sculpture made by my
15-year-old grandson has survived the bisque firing. I’ll call to give Peter
that news before he goes to school. The bisque firing makes fragile things,
such as his Saint Nicholas and smiling elf, durable enough to survive a
successful glaze firing later.
A hungry calf is in the pasture on the west side of our long driveway, and his
bag-heavy mom is on the east side. They stare at each other, and she starts
the long trek around through the pastures, to get to the baby. Other cows
rouse, get to their feet slowly and follow her with their offspring following.
The pastures make a huge, U-shape apron around our house, lawn, outbuildings,
fishing pond and driveway.
In October the 45 moms and their yearling calves graze our pastures. The
yearlings are too old to suck, but they sometimes sneak in from the rear, for
a last taste of that warm milk, after the new baby arrives. Some of the fall
calves have come already. They’ve been hidden for several days and then
brought up to run with the herd about the time their navel cords dried and
Mothers-to-be wobble when walking, and when viewed head-on, they appear much
larger on one side than the other. The recent rain washed dust from the grass
and they move from pasture to pasture to find the best grazing. The cows now
find better grazing than before Chub mowed the tall weeds to prevent their
seeds from maturing and scattering.
Those of us who are deaf often get up early to enjoy a totally quiet morning
like this October one. There are advantages to wearing a hearing aid. I
sometimes walk up the pond bank in early morning like this, and turn my
hearing helper to it’s highest volume to hear sounds not available to others.
I hear woodland sounds, the crowing of distant roosters and also glorious
silence! I hear wild turkeys thump the ground as they come off their tree
roosts; they stalk around, calling, seeking companions. The hens, responding
to a new gobbler, identify their locations. During the open season there might
be artificial answers from hunters with those little, hollow wooden boxes,
funny round things in their mouths or, best of all, a hen-like “gauck, gauck,
gauck...” sound made in their throats to fool the gobblers.
The freshness and beauty of this Missouri morning gives way to the sounds of a
neighbor hammering on a piece of machinery. It’s time to begin this busy day.
Retirement provides time to enjoy the natural things we missed in the eight to
five rush -- the sunrise, the cows, the turkeys and all that. However, if
you’re lucky, old age is in your future, too.