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Finding Mercury

On May 11, we stood in the middle of our quiet concession road, studying the western horizon. The farmers had all gone home for the night. The only sounds to be heard were the subtle noises of the nightlife, and the passionate voice of our friendly neighborhood astronomer as he directed us where to look to try to find the rarely seen planet Mercury.

Finding Mercury was a truly remarkable, out of this world experience. It was exciting, knowing that only a handful of people have ever taken the time or been lucky enough to see Mercury without a telescope. It’s only visible to the naked eye every six months or so and only for a couple of weeks each time.

Conditions have to be perfect. Clear skies, a perfect view of the horizon and being out about half an hour after sunset. The most thrilling part of the evening was the competition of who would be the first to see the planet. It was fascinating how the three of us were standing in the exact same spot, looking at the exact same space in the sky, yet not seeing the same picture. It was like we were looking through different lenses. One would try to direct the other; “Don’t you see it? It’s slightly above that spec of cloud, just a little to the right of the moon. Just above those two trees!” We each focused in on the faint crescent of the new moon and eventually Mercury, at different times.  But once it did come into focus, every time we looked back, we could always see it!

I view this magical experience as a perfect metaphor for life. Finding peace and clarity is possible if we take the needed time to focus on what is important. We all find our own clarity and peace of mind at different speeds. No one can focus on it for us. We must choose to appreciate the moments that speak to us, on our own, to make them last. We are all different, therefore we will experience the same “out of this world” moments in different ways, focusing and processing them uniquely on our own.

Our experience that evening caused me to reflect back on our afternoon activities that day. The little munchkin and I went to the field to help daddy and grandpa finish picking sticks so it would be ready for planting. My driving buddy didn’t stay with me too long. He had to get his hands dirty and work too. The joy and pride he had on his face when he found a stick to throw in the side by side was heartwarming. The squeals of delight when daddy lifted him up so he could reach, were contagious. Grandpa also showed him how to dig for treasure (check for worms). My little farmer was so happy to dig in the dirt that he didn’t even notice (or care), when we started to drive on.

For many farmers, long hot days with endless trips up and down the field, are the most dreaded ones, but for us it was family time. I choose to focus in on this family time and find it the most memorable when we work together to get the dirtiest jobs done. Having a two year to keep everyone entertained always helps pass the hours more quickly as well. We like to take advantage of our time together in whatever forms we can, especially during busy season.

In my moment of focus and clarity, I realized that I should not be taking these moments for granted. I should be soaking in every little giggle, every secret shared between grandfather and grandson, and even the dirty fingernails. I will remember this afternoon differently from my hubby and father in law, but that’s okay. We experience the same events through different lenses and focus on different aspects. It took time to find Mercury, but once found, it was never lost from sight and the same can be said for other precious activities.

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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