Don't recall when or where I first came across the concept, but the core of the thing is that for the tiny-brained goldfish, every time it swims around the inside of its bowl it discovers an entirely new world.
Most days I wonder if I'm any smarter or more advanced than a goldfish.
I do know that I have a bad habit of convincing myself that I fully understand situations and solutions. Almost every single time I eventually find that I understood neither situation nor solution. I often get close, but little yet incredibly important details get missed or overlooked and adversely affect the solutions I try to implement. It can be a problem.
Fortunately for me nature and reality are excellent and infinitely patient instructors. If I do my part, however imperfectly, I have an ongoing stream of opportunities to learn and grow. Seems like learning and growing are an important part of livin'.
This morning is a struggle. For a couple of weeks my nights have featured a form of "sleep" which I've never experienced before. The last two nights I had something more akin to sleep, and I was certainly not conscious, but again it was something different. There was more unconscious time, which was almost certainly restorative, but this morning in particular it's a hard struggle to do even the simplest thing. I feel wrung out and exhausted and I'm not enjoying that. Irritable also, and I detest that feeling.
It is what it is, and I understand intellectually and even spiritually that it's all part of a process. In that sense it's okay, but it's still a struggle.
Yesterday morning was a beautiful morning.
It was a beautiful morning in town, complete with a red sun in a smoley sky.
It was a beautiful morning out in nature, out on the ranch.
I often try to express the beauty of the days here in this part of the world and sometimes I feel I'm being a bit tedious with that, constantly yabbering on about how beautiful things are.
I think there are several things going on inside me when I'm bubbling over with comments about the beauty I see and feel.
First and perhaps most obvious, this place does have inherent natural beauty. It's a complex grassland/prairie ecosystem and that's a beautiful thing in and of itself. It also exists in a particular geographical location across which weather and atmosphere are constantly moving, therefore the observable face of this shortgrass prairie site is ever changing. For the casual observer it might often look the same from day to day, but to the daily visitor it never looks the same. That feels beautiful to me also.
Less obvious, perhaps, is the beauty that fills my mind and heart and soul when I am present in that place. It's a special experience for me. I go there every day and have done so countless times over the long/short decades, across time and seasons. I've grown to feel the flow of seasons and years and they have become part of me. Ot I've become part of it.
Being a part of the ecosystem, along with the cattle and my labor/operations/management, lends a fullness and roundness to my life which is a huge blessing and for which I am ever grateful.
Yesterday I also got a great deal of physical labor type work done. I harvested steel posts and then I bent my efforts to repairing/maintaining fence. It was good work and I got a lot done so it was a very good day from that perspective.
In harvesting posts, and I think I've touched on this before, what I actually do is remove posts from still standing but disused and unneeded internal ranch fence lines.
In a way those fence lines are a form of storage for wood posts, steel posts, and even barbed wire. The fence lines probably appear to be untidy and improper, and in some ways they are. Yet in our "one-man-band" low input cost of operations, cleaning them up would represent time and effort we cannot afford to expend. At least not right now. And surprisingly, they do provide very good storage. In place they don't take up space elsewhere, they are pretty much out of the way, and nature does not tread too heavily on them. One downside is that when I want to use any of those materials, I have to go out and spend the time and energy to gather them. It's not a complete downside though because that time and energy contribute directly to my overall wellbeing. I get to spend productive time outside, walking in nature's beauty, and the labor is all exercise. So harvesting posts gives me a fitness boost, and emotional boost, a mental boost, and a spiritual boost. It's a win-win, even when (especially when) unanticipated challenges arise.
As far as yesterday's physical labor went, I worked very, very hard. It was hot and the air was filled with smoke. There was barely a touch of breeze. I got overheated and dehydrated, and as I've been paying scant (read zero) attention to proper diet of late I reached a profound state of exhaustion. It was a good thing in a way, but also vexing. I wanted to do more, and I demand more of myself than I can possibly give, so I was a bit cross at my physical weakness. I was also cross at myself for not attending better to my own physical needs. I'm flailing and that's a fact, but it's also part of the process. While I am making dumb mistakes -- and will continue to do so for the rest of my days -- I do also learn from my mistakes. Not always well, but over time I'm trending in the right direction.
At any rate, here's a bit of incoherent stream of consciousness springing directly from the low ebb of my physical/mental/emotional state. I hope it's not too awful to watch, but if it is, just click it off. I won't mind. If you soldier through, perhaps in some way it might even be helpful to someone, somewhere, sometime. That would be nice.
This morning, while I was stewing in my irritation and lethargy and deeply mired in feeling sorry for myself, God threw a beautiful miracle at me. As he always does. That I can see and appreciate such things is perhaps a sign of growth, perhaps a sign that someday I might even become a big kid.
Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.