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Sunset

May 1st, 2020

The baby is in his bed and the hubby isn’t home. The perfect opportunity to sit outside with a glass of wine and enjoy the sunset view from my very own home. The breeze is cool but the air is fresh, no longer full of humidity or the smell of manure. Not that there is anything wrong with either one of those. As I sit ready to reflect on my day, I take a moment to absorb the present world around me. I take in the beauty of the place I get to call home. A dream my heart wished for but never believed would truly come true. The birds chirp their evening songs, the trees bristle in the breeze. I think to myself “How did I get this lucky?” We are so fortunate to live in such a peaceful part of the world, no matter how small a part that may be. Sitting here tonight, I don’t feel the pressures of the outside world pushing in on me. I feel relaxed.

Today was a day of relaxation and rejuvenation, for everyone and everything. After a night of much needed rainfall, you can tell that everything is soaking in the moisture. When I stepped outside this morning, I took a deep breath. It wasn’t fresh, but moist, thick air that I inhaled. I smiled, knowing this is exactly what we needed, even if it wasn’t nearly enough, to get germination started in the fields. The farmers I love dearly seemed more at ease today. Grateful to have a day to take it easy after so many weeks of go, go, go. There’s been no time off for my guys. Their jobs are just getting busier and harder now that the rest of the world has stopped. Businesses may be closed for the time being but everyone still has to eat, humans and animals alike. The farmers can’t quit; all they can hope is that they are able to get all the seeds they need to plant and pray that this year’s weather will be more cooperative than last year’s in order to produce a better yield.

The human species is being forced to adapt in so many different ways but what many don’t realize is that this is not a new concept for other living beings in our world. Plants and animals are constantly having to adapt to their ever-changing environments, habitats and weather. Often animals are forced into hiding or have to find a new home because theirs has been destroyed or taken over. Every year brings different weather and hardships. The weather is not nearly as predictable as it once was. This affects the lives of many plants and animals in ways I’m sure we can’t even imagine. As farmers we see the impact on such a small level in comparison to the rest of the world’s wildlife. Every year it is a gamble when deciding what to plant. What will bring the best yield and the most income? Will it be a wet, cold summer or a hot and dry one? Will we get enough of good quality feed for our cattle and other livestock? The hot, humid summers are hard on milk production. If the cows aren’t comfortable then they won’t eat, and if they don’t eat, they won’t produce or stay healthy. The cold, wet summers limit the growth of our crops. It is a very vicious cycle that affects us all.

So yes, social distancing is an extremely challenging change for our species but we have to learn to adapt and remember that it is such a small change in the grand scheme of things. If anything, it should be a wake-up call for all of us. Hopefully it has taught us not to take anything for granted, especially the time we get to spend with loved ones, or how easily accessible the things we want and need are. For many, the challenges we are facing, such as not being able to easily access food we want or need on a regular basis, or being able to travel to see family and friends, is a normal reality. We should be grateful that this will hopefully not last for ever. There are always many who are in a more dire situation than us.

Do I believe things will ever go back to exactly the way they were before? Absolutely not, and I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing. If people prove to be more cautious in the future while out in public and are more aware of hygiene, the importance of regularly washing our hands, and avoiding going out for unnecessary reasons, then perhaps this is our first step to truly starting to try and heal our planet. Or maybe it will have a completely opposite effect. Who knows? All I know is that I hope more people take the time to do like I did tonight. Pause; absorb each second life has to offer you in that given moment. Appreciate your surroundings and be grateful that you are still healthy and able to breath in the fresh air, which is getting extremely chilly at the moment. Live in the moment! Don’t dwell on the past or stress about the future! Focus on what you can enjoy, love and control!

These times have made me realize how much I have taken for granted in my life. How many young adults can say that their son still has all four sets of great-grandparents who love him dearly, as well as two amazing sets of grandparents? We will forever be thankful for the time my blue-eyed angel has been able to spend with these loved ones in his short time on this crazy planet and we will never take for granted again the time he will spend with them in the future. When will he get to give Granny and Gramps a kiss and hug again? We don’t know. Only time will tell but until then we are lucky to have today’s technology to be able to call and Facetime them every day. We pray that they, as well as everyone else, continue to stay safe and healthy, and that someday, in the near future, we will be able to embrace each other again.

Laura Barton

My name is Laura Barton. I grew up in the wonderful community of Vankleek Hill on a dairy farm just outside of town. I have been actively involved in the community for as long as I can remember, through sports, school, 4H, volunteering etc. I now live in St. Bernardin, ON with my beautiful son and wonderful partner. I graduated from Carleton University with a major in Psychology and a minor in English. I now work as an Educational Assistant at Pleasant Corners Public School and milk cows part time. I started writing in journals at a very young age. I am thrilled to have been given an opportunity to share with others! I hope what I have to say is enjoyed by all.

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