The State of Things As It Were

On sitting back and enjoying the Christmas lights.

Pig, flag, cow, sheep clip art black and white.

I suspect Christmas was invented with the incredibly futuristic idea that someday the holiday would provide people with the motivation to hang long strings of multi-colored lights around trees and gutters. 

This widespread bedazzlement would then serve to mitigate the extreme lack of daylight that accompanies the winter solstice. Of course, this reasoning then begs the question of the southern hemisphere (whose seasons are reversed) and all speculative biblical logic falls apart.

Despite this, I can’t help but be thankful for the efforts of all our neighbors in the holiday light department as I drive home in the dark from feeding cattle not yet brought to the home place.

These days, upon pulling in the yard I can’t help but notice that our own lackadaisical light set-up is almost guilt-inducing, especially since there are a few bulbs burnt out and the string wasn’t long enough to make it all the way up the power pole. Incidentally, the only reason they were hung in that particular place was the proximity of the outlet.

All laziness aside, their brightness does console me on long winter nights since that particular outlet is on the same circuit as the heater in our stock tank. So, if the light shines, the cows are not forced to lick snow for sustenance.

It seems the darkness takes its toll on all members of the farm.

One rooster has decided that the grove is more his style for night roosting than the regular hen house. He is younger, hatched last spring with a group of replacement hens… so I suspect this is a rebellious desire-for-freedom phase he is going through. Possibly the first snowfall will foster some maturity in his short-sighted demeanor. But in the meantime, we get to listen to him crow at 3 am, in the dark, as it is obvious he doesn’t feel the shortened days allow him ample time for that much needed “self-expression” they talk about these days.

Mostly, I’ve been expressing myself with the same things I always have.

Since we now subscribe to the personal finance strategy, that “if the local farm supply store doesn’t have it we don’t need it” mantra, I mostly look like a brand ambassador for Carhart, Dickies, and Kinco. 

Despite this devotion, I have yet to receive any sort of commission payment in the mail. Possibly the aforementioned lack of daylight is hampering my influence. Since brand promotion figures a distant secondary (more realistically sixthly or seventhly) in our business plan, I’m not terribly heartbroken about this and have no plans to cultivate a new style.

I once read an article proving suggesting that successful CEOs pick a “uniform” and wear it every day.

Probably this isn’t necessary for me, since our measure of success has nothing to do with shareholder attitude or employee relations. Since those worries were never on my plate, to begin with, this time of year provides a moment for reflection, gratitude, and rest. 

Soil samples were mailed to the lab before freeze-up, the canoes sit overturned, sprinkled with the last of the fall leaves, and the stacks of baled hay and firewood have begun their inexorable diminishing marches backward. In this still lull before the distant season of mud, it seems one’s purpose is to simply enjoy the lights.

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This post was written by Nick Schmitz, December 2020.

Nick sits in canoe and Luna swims in the water

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