The months of January through March are usually known as the “season of muck” around here. Now last year, we were covered in snow, but it’s more typical to have a winter and spring like this year. We may get a few snowstorms, but it doesn’t last long. If the ground doesn’t freeze, then things get mucky. The ground is barren. The skies are pretty grey. The outside world seems rather dreary. Ugly.
And if I’m being honest, I can get a little depressed and ugly feeling too. Now I don’t want to sound all negative because really that’s how seasons—and moods—are. It’s not all sunny, warm and vibrant all year long. At least not in Idaho. This time of year makes me really stop and appreciate the other seasons of the year. I am also trying to find the beauty around me, whatever it looks like.
I ventured out the pasture in January while one of the herd sires was still out with the cows. He’s my favorite bull to photograph because he’s just so big and hairy. He’s got a personality too. As I walked through the cows that day, it was as if he was letting me know I was on his turf. After awhile he decided to cruise around the place too, checking on things. He found a mound of mud and rubbed his big ol’ head in it, then lumbered along calling out. You could hear the echo of the other herd bulls as they called back and forth to each other.
This season is characterized by muddy pastures, muddy tires and muck boots by the door. But there is beauty in those typical scenes from our life on the ranch. I have to keep reminding myself to see past the ugly. Sometimes my heart gets a little mucky too. I get too caught up in wanting everything nice, tidy and pretty. When I focus on the muck—or the yuck—that’s really all I’m going to see and feel. Changing my perspective, spending more time appreciating my many blessings, softening my tone, recognizing the expectations I have for myself and others, all help do that. Not only does the land go through a season of muck, so can my heart. This time of year calls me to check my focus. Where am I spending my time? What am I seeking? Who am I looking at to fill me up?
At first I was frustrated Mr. Wooly Bully was so muddy, but then I just had to laugh. Can you blame him? He’s like a big ol’ kid. My kids love playing in the mud. Heck! I used to like the mud and making mud pies as a kid. Who didn’t?! As we get older, sometimes we lose that childlike perspective.
I’m reminding myself that these seasons are temporary and it’s better to focus on the beauty in them, even if I have to look a little harder to see them. I also have to remember the season of muck always leads to green pastures in the spring!
How do you feel about winter? Do you have a season of muck where you live?