And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things...
-from God's Grandeur by Gerard Manley Hopkins
True, the world charges on along its course, it seems to madness beyond reckoning sometimes, and we wonder at our great fortune and pray that God will continue to provide - not merely in material needs but for the life of our souls. And we thank Him for the things that make us rich indeed - a firm faith, a deep love of Him, a recourse in prayer and holy sacraments, a surrounding of friends of good will. Recently we announced that our Fatima Farm gatherings would shift from First Saturdays to First Sundays, primarily to nurture the piety of the Marion devotion on the Saturday as well as to enhance the feasting and festive nature of our coming together for the honor of Our Lady and ultimately of her Son, Our Lord. And so, for September, we welcomed more people than ever before to our humble abode and enjoyed an afternoon of prayer, a bountiful table, outdoor play and music - and gladly accepted the consolations human life sometimes affords. The sun shone upon us out of a bright blue sky - though the air was tinged with just a beginning hint of cool, a delightful hint of the coming change in seasons and a relief from the sweltering heat of the summer. It was a good time.
Also recently, we have given ourselves more fully over to the music natural to our surroundings. That is to say, we are still learning our way through the tasks of life on this little farm, but after a year here we are more attuned to the signs and signals and order that God, in His infinite wisdom, put in place long ago and by which we thrive most fully. The pear and apple and fig are all in abundance, though we observed differences in the way they made fruit. Some bowed out this year (one apple stayed bare - we learned, a natural pattern), some surprised us with their existence (we have another fruit-bearing pear tree!), and some became the casualties of storms (we found a fallen apple tree after a night of strong winds). A new (to us) bird graced our spring into summer, the small and relatively quiet-colored and unassuming dark-eyed junco - its soft, ashy grey feathers and sweet, chickadee-like facial features endearing itself to us immediately. The raucous, high-pitched laughing call of the pileated woodpecker frequenting the old pear tree adds to the occasional cacophony made by our Ameraucanas to make for near-jungle sounds across the wood and field some mornings. Too, we hope to encourage some hatchlings soon and are praying for the handy knack required for tending more fowl (and hopefully more beautiful eggs down the line). The goats call for attention here and there but their maa-ing is mild and their demeanor remains a wonderful rendering of placidity. They are young yet and are mostly an enjoyable chore at this stage.
The ebb and flow of natural life around here, not to mention the wheeling constellations and cycles of the moon, and stunning magnificence of sunrise and sunset, more readily visible on clear mornings and nights in a way novel to us - in contrast to our city views before - make a deep impression on the psyche, recalling us to our place and purpose, and steadying us in times of strife. There is no better way to regain sanity and balance in the face of the mere anarchy of the world than to glimpse the Maker's design and to engage reality as He made it, sensing how He draws us to Him as His creatures. And so we make sure to look to the sky, to look at the stars. Moreover we take up instruments craftily made, both useful and beautiful, and play upon them and sing along, thankful for our lives and making a joyful noise as best we can. May these days be graced with health, in the ways that matter most!
On this little homestead our family aspires to work the land and hand on the Catholic Tradition, walking in wonder and learning to live by the fruits of our labor, in honor of Our Lady of Fatima, who guides us to Him.