One of my favorite stores to shop at is Farm and Fleet. It’s a good old store found in the Midwest that once upon a time was where all the farmers and their families shopped. I remember the first time I visited the store, I felt completely intimidated. At the time, I lived in what would have been considered the country (until people like me moved in.) I lived in a subdivision on land that once belonged to a farming family. The farm lands were and still are disappearing because farmers can no longer afford to keep and cultivate their land.
I love living close to nature. Nature has a still surety to it that, if one is around it enough, seems to be contagious. It is almost as though natural life has faith. There is a quiet confidence that all will be well. The message one seems to get is that what matters most is the life that stands before us, such as the life of the sun (can you imagine how old it is?), the life of the earth (how many things she can teach us if we listen), the life of the plants that provide oxygen so we can live on this planet—the list is endless. The whole orchestration of nature is truly a miracle.
While I meandered through Farm and Fleet one day, I found a pretty tea/coffee cup that displayed a quote by Hans Christian Anderson. It says “The whole world is a series of miracles, but we’re so used to them we call them ordinary things.” This little quote seemed to sum up my experience at Farm and Fleet. When I lived out in the middle of nowhere, I felt like the farming families around me knew something much deeper about life than I did. I always felt that they knew the secrets of life. After all, they were in the fields plowing, planting and harvesting most of the year from sun up to past sundown. Their lives depended on the fields they cared for and if the weather didn’t cooperate, their crops suffered and in turn their livelihood.
I have never met an unkind farmer. Farming families that I have met are helpful, humble, have a quiet manner about them and are simple in their ways. There is a farming couple I know who are in their upper eighties. They still live like pioneers. They own a tree farm and every time I visit them, they’ll feed me something that came from their land—roasted acorns, squash soup, popcorn (from the corn they grew on their land) seasoned with maple syrup from their own maple trees. They are so connected with the earth that they can tell how each season will unfold. And they are often right. So many times, I hear one of them say “Every day is a miracle.” Their life is one of gratitude for whatever comes their way, easy or difficult.
In the Midwest, while the vernal equinox has passed and Spring has officially made its entrance on the calendar, the physical world is ever so slowly blossoming. We take so much that we see around us for granted. If the calendar says “Spring begins,” we think the weather should change because it says so on the calendar. But nature has its own pace. Each miracle takes its own time.
Nothing in life is ordinary. Words used to define “ordinary” are common, regular, normal, everyday. But Life itself is not ordinary. It is constantly changing, moving, creating, multiplying. It is a dynamic energy in itself. But when the human mind is dull, we see life as unspectacular. If we took the time to ponder how many “series of miracles” must have happened to just be here on the Earth, perhaps we would see the whole of life in a different way. Such pondering includes how amazing it is that our planet is perfect for us to have evolved. Everything had to be “just so” and all the pieces had to come together in such a way to make it all happen. If something had changed, there is the possibility that we would not be here. How can we ever say that is ordinary?