Road to Buddha's Farm
Daily Life Observations Repost

A Day on Buddha’s Farm

I looked around me, deja vu, life moves on

(Artwork by WM House; ArcheanArt)

(Excerpt from “In Search of a Path“)

Morning

I distinctly remember peeking between the slats of my crib. Brilliant morning sunlight, as fresh and potent as Eden’s first light, poured through the loft window of the farmhouse and swirled across the floor in front of me as the curtains fluttered. Mesmerizing and intoxicating, the sunlight caught the flecks of dust amid a dance while they twirled across the room. Each small particle illuminated and shining like a jewel against a faded backdrop—white painted boards mounted on rough-hewn timbers. Small gaps formed when some of the timber’s uneven edges refused to meet. When the spring breezes tumbled against the house, they sometimes found their way through the cracks and crevasses, filling the room with an awakening. Small patches of paint peeled away from the timbers in several places. Hairline cracks were forming in the paint, and where they broke, the edges of white paint curled delicately backward, exposing the gold and brown hues of the underlying pine.

I stared silently at the door to the room and wrapped my tiny fingers around the crib bars, pulling myself closer and pressing my face against their cool, smooth, rounded surfaces. I enjoyed the way they felt against the warm skin of my face. When my gums hurt, I liked to press them onto the bars to suck and chew. The morning sun was still low in the sky and able to make its way across from the window to the opposite wall, where my crib sat silent and still. My crib’s far end was awash in color and warmth as it bathed in the rays, but I sat in the shadows and watched in silence while the spectacle unfolded. I also watched the door in anticipation. Sometimes it opened, and large hands would carry me away to foreign places, away from my crib. I didn’t know why, and I didn’t care. I was the center of my own awareness. The world came alive when I opened my eyes and disappeared from existence when I fell asleep.

I could smell breakfast cooking on the wood stove in one of those foreign places. The salty smell of bacon mixed with the dry scent of charred wood filled my nostrils. I heard a wail and a cry gurgling from my own throat as my stomach demanded to be satisfied. Perhaps She would come now and carry me away.

Noon

I sat quietly on the front porch, sweating in the noonday sun. The summer heat was sweltering, and on the horizon above the hills to the west, I saw the beginnings of a thunderstorm. The dark clouds provided a visual coolness, which the rest of my body did not feel. Sweat trickled down the inside of my arm. I rocked slowly back and forth in my chair and admired my morning’s handiwork. A fresh coat of dark blue paint covered half the porch. The sun had beaten down upon my tanned back for the entire morning. But now, as I rested, I was able to enjoy the first bits of shade, covering half the porch.

Years had passed since I sat alone in my crib, and now as a boy, I basked in a flow of youthful energy, which permeated my body and mind. As He asked, my chores would be done, even though I could often feel resentment surging upward, longing for the freedom to control my destiny.

Cows in the far pasture spread out beneath apple orchard trees, slowly chewing the greenish-brown grass. The rain had been sparse this summer, and the thirsty, dry land eagerly awaited the approaching storm. The wind was silent, providing a dramatic pause and building anticipation for the first drops of water to splash upon the ground. The whole farm seemed to move in slow motion. My head pivoted to the right in response to the dry creaking of a door hinge. I turned in time to see strong hands pass from inside the house and place a small child on the porch just outside the door. The work-worn hands receded into the dim coolness of the house, and the screen door clicked shut. Large, soft, brown eyes gazed at me from behind wispy light brown locks of hair. Small cheeks puffed up as a broad toothless smile broke across her face. In the stillness of my mind, a thin voice told me that I was not alone.

Slowly she crawled across the porch, occasionally pausing to stare up at me and smile. She passed behind my wooden rocking chair, and as I turned my head to the left, I could see her heading towards the porch edge, where a section of the railing was missing. The child would not wait until my afternoon chore was complete, and the railing repaired. I slipped from my seat and took several swift steps before I scooped her up in my arms. I took in the sweet smell of her hair and felt her soft, supple skin sticking to mine as I sat her in the chair on my lap. Yes, I was not alone, and with this realization came the curious responsibility to watch over my siblings.

Evening

Vivid, bright light from an autumn sun warmed my shoulders. The afternoon sun had melted all of the morning frost from the grass, and I enjoyed the feel of warm blood coursing through my veins, hot from the work I was doing. My fingertips tingled as I removed my work gloves to inspect a small blister on my left hand. It had been a while since I last mended the front yard fence, and my hands were not ready for the post hole digger. Just last week, several cows wandered through a hole in the fence, and they ate some of the plants from Her garden. Work on the farm was no longer a chore, and I sprang awake each morning with anticipation of the day.

I finished the fence and took my tools to the spring house, where a shelf lay on the ground, broken yesterday by the children. I heard their voices in the nearby woods where maple trees streaked the forest with brilliant reds and yellows. The colors of the autumn trees lay like jewels against the deepest blue of a clear autumn sky. Many seasons had passed beneath my feet, yet each one was its own new creation. Autumn with its cool, crisp, and colorful days was always my favorite season, because with it arrived a certain nostalgia, providing depth to my thoughts. I sat on the wooden bench beside the spring, gazing into the dark water mysteriously bubbling up from deep in the ground and collecting in the spring-well.

Water, which had percolated through the earth’s roots, collecting precious minerals, now presented itself to me. I took the dipper from its hanger on the wall and scooped up water to quench my thirst. Unbelievably cool and clean, I felt it pass down my throat to revive my body and mind. There was much work to be done, but I had learned there was time enough, and that each day needed living in full awareness. There were children to feed and people needing care, but I still had time to gaze into the spring’s mysterious waters. I grabbed a large wooden bucket on the bench beside me and filled it to the brim. Dinner preparations would start soon, and water would be needed for cooking and washing. The shelves could wait.

Water sloshed on my jeans as I sprang up the two stairs of the back porch. I noticed one of the gutters was slightly rusted and added it to my mental repair list. The kitchen door opened onto the back porch, and a strong weathered hand took the bucket from me. Dinner was two hours away, and my tools were beckoning me from the spring house. There was more than enough time to live and work.

Night

My fingers felt better when I moved them closer to the heat radiating from the woodstove. A frigid gust of winter wind whistled to me as it whipped through the night air and rushed along outside the farmhouse. My aging muscles sometimes ached from the winter cold, and I moved my rocking chair closer to the pot-bellied stove. The front door of the stove had a window that allowed gentle orange light to flicker out and dance across the wall on the opposite side of the room. I watched the hypnotic flames in the stove slowly turn to glowing embers, and I felt drowsy as my body digested its evening meal.

I must have nodded off for a moment, but out of the corner of my eye, I saw old, gentle hands deliver new logs to the stove and push the door until a sharp click affirmed it was locked. New flames licked up against the stove’s insides, and the heat eased an ache in my fingers. I rocked slowly back and forth in my chair and felt the pain recede. Somewhere in the background, I could hear a baby start to cry. Footsteps thumped in the upstairs hall, and the door to the nursery squeaked open. The pains and aches were gone now, and the sounds around me were muffled. I felt so tired and so alive at the same time. Then, most strangely, I could see myself from afar, sitting perfectly still in the rocking chair.

Morning

I distinctly remember peeking between the slats of my crib. Brilliant morning sunlight, as fresh and potent as Eden’s first light, poured through the loft window of the farmhouse and swirled across the floor in front of me as the curtains fluttered. Mesmerizing and intoxicating, the sunlight caught the flecks of dust amid a dance while they twirled across the room. Each small particle illuminated and shining like a jewel against a faded backdrop, white painted boards mounted on rough-hewn timbers. Small gaps formed when some of the timber’s uneven edges refused to meet. When the spring breezes tumble against the house, they sometimes find their way through the cracks and crevasses, filling the room with an awakening. Small patches of paint peeled away from the timbers in several places. Hairline cracks were forming in the paint, and where they broke, the edges of white paint curled delicately backward, exposing the gold and brown hues of the underlying pine…

William House
William is an earth scientist and writer with an interest in providing the science "backstory" for breaking environmental, earth science, and climate change news.