Grounded

It’s been a long week of corporate leadership development. I’ve been on the phone for hours, confined to home yet reaching into the parameters of other’s experiences-leading teams, delivering performance reviews, creating objectives.  I’m antsy.

Looking at the clock, I realize it’s nearly time to move our calf, Oliver Au Poirve, from the pasture to the barn. First, there will be our little conversation when he sees me coming up the path. He’ll bellow out and I’ll reply back with the thousand nicknames I’ve given him. “Hey, Pumpkin. Hi Beefaroni. Who’s a good little tenderloin?” Then he’ll trot over to the gate and lift his chin for a scratch. He’s only been here a week but he already knows I’ll greet him with a snuggle. I try to keep perspective as I groom him–“Hey Oliver, come here and let me scratch that brisket. Turn so I can reach the top round. What a beautiful sirloin you are…” I’ll move into the pasture and we’ll have a bit of a frolic. He loves to run and kick behind me while I hustle along the fence line to the trees and back to the gate. I’ll reach out and wrap his lead across his nose and behind his ears. He’ll lift his head and try to chew the rope or lick my sweater as I tighten the knot. He’ll give a little kick as we round the corner toward his stall then stop to sniff the grain storage bucket. He’ll stop dead just shy of the gate to his room in the barn until I show him there’s grain in the stall. Then, he’s in, head down in the bucket while I fill his water and tend the chickens. Of course, all of this is moot if I go to the gate with a banana. Then, there’s no cooing or grooming or frolicking or lead–he’s all business following me until he gets his fruit fix. Today, though, I’ll spend the time to play in the field, to pat him, to soak up the sweet smell of hay and molasses and manure.

When I was a kid, it was misery to hear “you’re grounded”–punished, relegated to the confines of home, without privileges.

Today, though, I relish being “grounded”. Switching from work mode to home mode– these chores; this time with animals, tromping through snow past birds on the feeders into fields of promise–manifests head and heart in the same place.

So, being grounded becomes an anchor. The confines of home are the privilege.

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