The Road Less Traveled (leads to cows) *updated
A small snippet of where I've been....
Several Saturdays ago I made the half-hour drive to the local berry farm. Strawberries were in full swing, but raspberries were still a week or two in coming. I'd called earlier in the day to reserve several quarts of strawberries. When I arrived late in the afternoon, I found that they were the very last berries on the shelves. In hindsight, I regret not giving a quart to the couple who came in after me, anticipating berry goodness. I considered it, but got greedy and hoarded them all to myself. In the end, I didn't even use them all up before some went bad. As I dumped those once perfect, now spoilt, beauties in the trash, I thought of that couple and felt such sadness that I didn't share.
There was a small pen for sheep and one for lambs near the farm parking lot. The little lambs were so busy munching the scrubby grass, like little eating machines.
These little ones took no notice of me or the cars. But the two mama sheep in the next pen were much more interested in me. Well, one of them was. There was black-headed beauty that was all chilled out and relaxed, as if to say, "Yeah, I'm a sheep. No biggie."
But the other one started baa-ing as soon as I approached the fence, as if to say, "Check me out! I'm a sheep! Don't you love my new summer coat? Check me out!" She even put her big schnozzle through the fence opening so I could pet her. As I reached out my hand, I heard my husband's voice in my head, telling me not to pet the animals. And just as I touched the back of my hand to her furry snout, she opened her mouth -- the one she was using to chew grass -- and let out a terrific AHHH-CHOOO!! That sheep sneezed on me!
I was momentarily terrified, thinking she was about to bite me. But as I picked little bits of grass off of my shirt, I started laughing out loud, wishing my husband had been there to see it.
On the ride home, I took a sharp right-turn detour down an unknown country road, hoping to find a farm stand selling peonies. I'd been longing for pale pink peonies and had nearly resorted to stealing them from neighbors' yards. In the end, I didn't find any, but I did come face to face with these lovelies:
I finally got my pale pink peonies this week, after ordering them from a florist. Not as romantic as finding them at a roadside stand or as thrilling as stealing them, but they're lush and decadent all the same. I don't have a good photo of them (*see update below), but this does them more justice than my camera every could.
"Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?" (Mary Oliver, "Peonies")
I'm going to plant my own peonies this fall so I can have armloads of them in summers to come. I'm going to pet the animals, no matter what my husband says. I'll stop my car along narrow country lanes to photograph the locals. And the next time, I'll share my strawberries with strangers.
I took the peonies outside today just after a sun shower, when the light was gorgeous, and captured these. Lovely, yes. But I still think this is even more so.