Things that change…and things that stay the same

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Curiosity Kitten and the Donkey, by Brigit, age 10

The annual cycle of transition from summer to fall is upon us and everything seems different. Many things change, but much remains the same. I used to tell people, “The only thing you can count on in life is that it changes.” But farm life is a good lesson in the cyclical nature of everything.

Here’s my list of the top three things that stay the same:

•    Chickens always walk with their “knees” going backward. It makes them look silly. Although the “chicken waddle” remains forever the same, every time I notice it, it’s a surprise.

•    Cats always follow their curiosity into troubled waters. The kitty that fell into the toilet has been teetering on the edge before. For weeks it has tempted fate. It’s not a surprise that she often needs rescuing.

•    The cooler weather always seems to appear surprisingly fast. There have been several weeks of hot weather and then it happens. Boom! The temperature drops to near freezing one night. But the truth is, it always comes around the time school starts. The same time every year. And I’m never prepared for it. I always act like this never happened before. That pattern never changes.

Now for the things that seem to change:

•    Chickens and children change as they grow. The cute cuddly chick grew up to be the rooster who bites the hand that feeds him! The children too are no longer the picture of perfect cuteness. As they approach their teenage years, they are more ready with a bark and bite. But I suspect that too may be cyclical. The children will appreciate and be thankful for their roots as they get older. Could that be possible for the rooster too?

•    Everything ages and begins to sag. We watch the equines for signs o

On the Road of Life, We Take Whatever Comes, by Peter, age 13

On the Road of Life, We Take Whatever Comes, by Peter, age 13

f trouble. One of them is 32 and moving more slowly. We measure our years here at the farm by the amount of erosion of the earth around the horse pen. But when the fence started to fall as a result of this change, we moved horse manure to fill in around the posts. Now it looks like we are starting over. Appearances do count when it comes to aging! So we brush and shampoo the horses and the donkey and they too seem to return to a bit of youthfulness.

•    We had 18 kittens at our house over the summer. They are gone now. The barn seems different, my daughter reported. The cages for feral cats now stand empty. But this too may be a cycle. People seem to abandon cats along the sagging fence posts of our farm. So, the mewing sounds could return at any time. For now, we enjoy the quieter attention of our spayed and neutered cats who rub past our legs as we walk out the door.

Things seem to change and yet in many ways they remain the same. Life follows a pattern. And that pattern can lift our spirits. It is reassuring to know that when the cold seeps in, and the heavy clouds reduce us to shivers, we can remember a golden rule–this too shall pass! It will come again too and all is well in the cycle of change.

About Judith Costello

A certified art therapist, Judith is the author of numerous articles and books on parenting and child development, including Zen Parenting. She writes from Moriarty, New Mexico.