Spiritual Thermometers & Coffee

14.12.14

December 14, 2014

There is a basic thermometer hanging outside the kitchen window. I like its simplicity, though I have to put on my glasses to know the temperature closer than a plus or minus five degrees. The location allows me to grind coffee and imagine what the temperature might mean for a days work outside.

The thermometer has had a workout this autumn. Cool weather dropped into our valley mid-October. Temperatures have bounced from six degrees (I had my glasses on) to the thirties ever since. It being mid-October, the cold felt as if it were catching up with autumnal colors. We had an exceptional fall with trees taking on colors early. They held on to color for a long time, giving each morning a bit of brightness that called one to morning chores.

Morning chores include walking and checking on the animals. The regularity of chores lends themselves to spiritual practice. Hot coffee in hand on a cold autumn morning enhances morning practice. I choose heavy clay mugs on such mornings. The heft helps hold heat, but coffee cools quickly. It matters little. As light coffee bitterness gives way to cutting cold, crisp air sharpens ridge to sky like a second graders paper silhouette. Cattle move about eating grass and the bright cold raises the light crunch of hoof to grass. Crunch harmonizes with scratch as chickens look for bugs below leafs or cow pies. Purr chimes in as Lucy, the farm cat, rubs against a steer’s leg. Dissonance arises with multiple hoof beats as curiosity gets the better of the goat’s sensibilities and they run up to find out what the cattle might be getting that they are not.

Spiritual wellbeing is in the space we live. Sometimes it begins with a simple thermometer.

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