Dear Fall of 2017,
There is something to be said about your beauty. The colors you radiate, the light you shine, the freshness of a season that is usually the calm before the storm — it’s truly something I’ve grown to love.
I grabbed my camera a couple of weeks ago with the intention of writing about the images I captured on a morning spent soaking in all you had to offer, but life happened. Time went by, more bales were fed, more twine was cut, and somehow the day was forgotten. Forgotten until now.
You see, life has a way of happening so fast sometimes, that the ordinary days are often overlooked because they fall into place one right after another. One feeding after the next, and the next, and the next. One sunrise after another, followed by the starry, moon-lit skies. Life happens, and suddenly it’s a new season and you almost forget what you were taking pictures of a month ago. Almost, but not quite.
They say that looking at people’s pictures tell a lot about their heart and soul. It gives a glimpse into what they hold nearest to their being, and it also portrays that which they feel is worthy of sharing. I don’t sort through my pictures much — posting only the good is almost as bad as telling a lie in my world. What you see is what life is around here — very full, very busy, very diverse and very us. This life is what we hold near, even though in reality, it is temporary.
I’ve never been one to mask what is really happening. If you see a frown, it’s because it’s there. If you see a smile, it’s because I’m a die-hard promoter of turning frowns upside down ... even when it’s easier not to. If you see something that leads you to believe that we’re the “wonder family” ... that’s God at work — not our own strength fooling you.
That day with my camera and my journal — not so long ago — was full of color, a bit of wind, cows, creative minds and some frustration, too. There was some death, and there was a whole lot of life. It was real. Nothing was made up or disguised. There were no capes or superhero masks. And as ridiculous as it may sound, it was ordinary — but ordinary life is just as important as extraordinary around here. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
It’s what you do with the ordinary that changes and transforms it into extraordinary. It’s the choices you make each hour, each minute, and each second to say: “I want to live this one life well.”
It’s the determination to seek God in the midst of the struggle. It’s stooping down and crying out when help is needed most. It’s looking for and recognizing life in the sparkling eyes, the snotty noses, the dirty boots and tattered phone books. It’s holding onto the blue and orange twine, the beloved hats, and the flakes of hay that make our life just that — ours.
I wish that everyone could come spend the day with us — just to see that we really are tired most of the time, we’re totally human, and we’re completely overwhelmed almost every day of the year. I know it would make them feel better about their own lives and see our life in a whole new light as well. They would see that we’re just like the rest of the “herd” — waiting for the next paycheck to arrive, battling homework, digging through the fridge trying to put something decent together for dinner, raising our voices, and often rolling our eyes as we attempt to load and unload the dishwasher and fold another pile of laundry.
This season is coming to an end. The birds are flying south and the geese are honking their way through our world. And the four of us — well, we’re going to continue growing tall against the odds, thriving with color and life, and soaking in the light that only God can offer. So until next year sweet fall, know that you were good to us. You were full, you were busy, and you were an opportunity to see God around every corner, through every pasture, and in every set of eyes we found ourselves looking at. The key is not necessarily knowing where to look, but how to look. Yes, how to look, and at the same time, how to truly see.
Lindsay Murdock lives in Echo and teaches in Hermiston.