By Rae Lewis
Allowing for the time and space to step back, slow down, and gain a new perspective is a healthy practice in any well rounded life. How do we best appreciate what surrounds us? At the Homestead, we get out and enjoy it. Friday mornings at the Homestead begin with a walk around our 13 acre pond. Rain, shine, or snow, we dress for the elements and venture out seeking fresh air, beauty, and perspective. Fresh air and physical activity has been shown to decrease stress, boost the immune system, and increase feelings of happiness.
So close yet so far away, things look and feel different on the other side of the pond. The glistening snow-topped mountains feel closer.
Hawks and eagles are spotted soaring overhead. Swans, ducks and geese flutter to the middle for safety. We bring with us good spirits, our favorite animals, and positive intentions for our day. For students it is an excellent opportunity to wake up, organize their thoughts and focus on their day. The vibe of the walk drifts from peaceful and meditative to lighthearted laughter as we hear pigs snorting behind us and acknowledge our unlikely collection of beings.
Animals are part of everyday life at the Homestead. Students build connection and develop compassionate relationships with animals through the act of caring for them. We like to incorporate the farm animals into our days as much as we can. On pond walk days, we saddle up and load our pockets full of treats.
Horses, cats, dogs, and even the pigs join us (we are still working on the cows). Their presence creates another layer of meaning to our walk as we commune with our four legged friends. Animals help us to become aware of our own emotional state and evoke calm and pleasant feelings. Try starting your day walking with a fury friend and see where you can find new perspectives.
“Our task must be to free ourselves… by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and it’s beauty”
Photos by Ethan