You can learn a lot from spending time on a farm.
I spend one or two weekends on a farm in New Hampshire every year. It’s a country dance event and one of the best times of my life.
Nowhere is the cycle of life more evident than in the barn, where babies are born. Some do not survive and there is nothing that can be done about it. Those that grow strong serve a variety of purposes. Some are used for food, some are bred to produce more babies. Others work to sustain the farm. Yet, all are treated equally, with caring and respect. Goats, sheep, pigs, cows, horses, chickens and bunnies share space in the same barn: Some require fences, others cages, pens and stalls. Each respects the other’s living areas.
Everyone does their job: Farm hands clean the stalls, groom and feed the animals. Chickens provide eggs. Horses work and entertain. Cows and goats give milk. Sheep provide wool. Everything has a purpose.
Humans and animals alike have faith. Knowing that the sun will rise and there will be food to eat leads to a good night’s rest. Even if you’re only there for a couple of days, the beating of your heart synchronizes to the natural rhythm of life on a farm.
In the house, there is magic. The main inn, where I usually stay, has simple, comfortable rooms. There are no televisions or phones. Internet service is spotty at best. People are often strangers or arrive knowing only a few. Yet, one might walk through the living room and never guess. Gathered by a crackling fire, there is story telling. There is sharing. There are sing-a-longs. Always, there is laughter.
Meals are also shared, served family style. One often needs to shout to be heard over the raucous of conversation, laughter and, yes, more singing. Young and old sit together. New friendships are initiated, old bonds are fortified. Individual quirks are accepted and even celebrated!
Of course, we come to dance. Whether you’ve never tried a single step or have been dancing most of your life, there is room for you on the dance floor. Everyone is accommodated. Everybody is welcomed. Everyone is accepted.
We achieve the perfect balance on the farm: Hard work, good food, ample playtime and sound sleep. There is much laughter, singing and tolerance. And, of course, we dance.
If only life could remain so perfect.