Three Feet Ahead

The pace measured in steady footfalls
Seems to me the more natural.
With limbs that stretch only so far
My step followed by step
Affords a view of the world unblurred.
This pace reveals the Creator’s love;
A love expressed in provision of abundance.
Bending dew-covered blades of green
My feet carry me by the yard, not the mile.
Progress understood by a different scale.

Cackles and clucks are wind carried
With fresh odor only to be interrupted
By smells of the chicken run, sharp and musky.
Low eastern sun bathes Orpington and Plymouth
Inviting them to a new free day.
Simultaneously communal and independent,
The flock subdivides and scatters
Staking claim to scratching patches
Fulfilling their own food-web role
Pecking larvae, seed, and grit.

A pitchfork of hay is a unit of commerce
Where compost, bedding, and gut are the banks.
Here helping hands freely given are more valued
Than slips of greasy paper, tattered and creased.
Things are noticed here, methods different
As life is divided by seasons, not minutes.
There is no fear of the time necessary
To walk and return favor to a neighbor
Exchanging a tool with a smile of gratitude
For helping stand up a barn wall or two.

The distance from back door to barn
Is no great distance to the world,
But a world exists between, nonetheless.
Where else can you hear jay and cardinal
Squawk at the grey squirrel as he performs
His own high-wire act on thin tree branches?
This world where tomato and cucumber vine and stretch
To their potential only to be plucked, jarred and pickled.
Dill weed grows tall here and fills the nostril
And floods the mind with flashbacks of childhood.

Strides taken here are not a striving or a straining.
Pace is not considered but allows my mind
To ponder if kale is ready, if eggs are nestled,
Or if my hand needs to feel the familiar handle of hoe.
Chores done in the time necessary, not more not less,
But the right amount of time that affords a view
Of design that is identifiable as work of the Divine.
Each of my steps in this place leads me onward
Without worry or dread but paced
Knowing the journey is eternal.


Dan Grubbs

Dan Grubbs, editor of Stewardculture, lives in northwest Missouri where he is implementing and managing a permaculture-style design on his 15-acre homestead. A weekly teacher of the Bible, Dan believes that an agrarian lifestyle is one in which he can answer God's calling to steward creation through regenerative techniques that attempt to mimic God's design.

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