Every day in our life's journey holds its own special treasures, if we have eyes to see...

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Rosie and Bucky out to graze
I'm hard at work on an article for Hobby Farms magazine on--of all things--the subject of grazing genetics. In the process, I've learned a lot of interesting things about parasite resistance, why conformation is important (at least for sheep), and how a rumen works.

Fortunately for us humans, parasites aren't usually a big issue, and no matter what our conformation, we can thrive on healthy food. But there is one area that I see a real correlation between us and the walking wool or milk factories of my article: rumination.

First a few details about this process: The cow, sheep or other ruminant stuffs itself with grass, hay, or what-not--just gulps it down without hardly chewing, and all that graze piles up in the first compartment of its stomach, known as the rumen. This place is literally awash with all sorts of bacteria and protozoa, which go to work to soften the load of fiber while the animal tucks in a few last mouthfuls and goes to find a comfy spot on which to lie.

We, too, graze through our day. True, we're not chomping on grass, but we are gathering experiences, conversations, thoughts, information, etc. This may go on for days, even weeks sometimes depending on our schedules, before we find a place and time to ruminate. Meanwhile, things are perking below our conscious mind in the realm of spirit and soul, sort of pre-digesting.

And then it's cud-chewing time. Wad by wad, up comes the pre-softened forage to get a thorough chewing before the final swallow, after which it is assimilated into the animal's system as nutrients. In much the same way, when we take time to ponder all the happenings, feelings, and interactions we've been gathering, they have a chance to be brought up to our minds to be chewed on, processed, enjoyed, and understood.

If the cow or sheep doesn't ruminate, it can't draw the nutrition it needs from its food, and ultimately it will not thrive. I think there's an allegory in this as well, for if we don't pause to process the input of our days--stepping outside of time and into the realm of the spirit where thoughts and dreams and aspirations flourish--we won't receive the insights and wisdom we need to live life well.

Hmmm. Come to think about it, it's been an incredibly full last couple of weeks around here. Yes, and I'm hearing the quiet places calling me to come. To ponder. To ruminate!"

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