How do I love thee?

What do I love most about what I do?

Well, I love being up and out early in the morning. I love watching the sun come up, being greeted by the happy, healthy faces of the flock or the herd. I love seeing the colours slowly stain the underside of the clouds and then disappear without a trace. I love watching for bluebirds in the nesting boxes in the back pasture and prairie crocus along the fenceline. I love seeing change come over the landscape – the fuzzy new green of Spring, the gathering storms over the eastern slopes of the mountains in early Summer, the high blue vault of an Autumn sky offset with the golden petals of the poplar. I love the clear cold stars in winter and the thundering silence of a snowfall.

I love the blush of red under the wings of a Northern Flicker, the straight-ahead, unblinking stare of an owl, the look of befuddlement that seems to be a moose’s constant expression. I love the sound of a single howl soaring into the night sky as though it had wings – and the answering joyous yaps of the pack streaking up like snowbuntings, a sudden clatter of meaningful volume. I love the sliding shadows as the sun moves across the sky, the appearance of flowers, each in their time and place. I love clouds that pile up high, like the snowbanks in the ditches. I love watching the tide of grass in the wind no one has ever seen.

I love the staggering newness of every fresh lamb, their legs not quite cooperating, their heads suddenly heavy on their necks, giant ears offset on either side. I love the high-pitch of a baby’s bleat and the answering rumble from their mamas. I love watching them bounce around, never knowing which way they’ll go next and knowing that they haven’t got a clue either. I love opening the gate and counting heads as they go out every morning and tails when they come in. I love sitting with my hat, my water and my book, in the middle of our pasture with sheep dotted around me, woolly islands in the open space.

I love the peacefulness.

I love the routine.

I love the perfectly ordinary everyday miracles that make up my waking hours.

I love the hard physical work that makes a gym unnecessary and the exhaustion that takes over at the end of a day.

I love watching the sparks of a fire crawl and pirouette up the chimney when I throw a new log into the stove.

I love the way Clio rolls on to her back for tummy rubs when not five minutes ago she was barking with all her teeth at something only she knew was there.

I love knowing that whatever I loved about today will be different – but just as wonderful – tomorrow.

I love when hard days – bad days – are over. I love knowing I’ll get another shot to do better. I love knowing that broken hearts mend in time – never the same, often better.

What do I love about what I do?

Why, everything. I love it all.

“When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty.” John Muir.