By Lisa Boonstoppel-Pot
Nowadays, it’s quite common to be asked to babysit the “grand” dogs. So it was for me when Spyro came to visit for a week. She’s a great dog —smart, loyal, obedient. Jack cannot believe his luck that such a beauty is sleeping in his bed! Spyro loves socks and shared her passion by greeting me EARLY bedside each morning with a damp sock. What I found interesting was how adaptable she was to being in a new place, with “new” people and in the companionship of Jack, a dog whose love (and attention) knows no bounds. If dogs could speak, I imagine her saying “allright, I can make this work. I’ll just settle in and make the best of it.” Which she did (her only unhappiness waiting by the door to be let in). Then when my daughter came to pick her up, she happily jumped in the car without so much as a by-your-leave. Adaptability is a keystone to personal and business success and in this new year, dogs remind us that being loyal, adaptable, giving and loving will help us make 2023 a doggone great year.
* * *
Of all the items I could choose as my parents downsized for a move, the little windmill wasn’t one of them. It was cute and all — I just didn’t have an attachment to it. They had picked it up in Pennsylvania, a nod to our Dutch heritage, and it sat by their pond, the head swinging but the blades rarely turning.
However, when it came time for them to leave and there weren’t any takers for the windmill, I decided it could fill a space in a new garden and I hoped for the best. The first few days, it spun just like it had always done. Useless. But a little oil in the right spot and a good dose of wind to get it started soon had the blades spinning away. It came to life in that open, windy spot, eager to report on the day’s wind patterns.
I found myself watching it each morning as I made coffee to see if it was breezy, blowy or blustery and what direction the zooming air was coming from. Next thing I realized, I was using it to decide if and when I should shut the barn door leading into the horse pen.
That windmill (along with the rain gauge and temperature gauge) became a trio of information helping me plan what to do each day. So useful. If there is one thing that unites all farmers it is the weather and what it brings each day. We depend on it. Sometimes I also watch the windmill for fun ... the spinning blades are mesmerizing.
It proves to me that sometimes we don’t know what we want until we experience either a) the joy of something or b) the awfulness of something.
It also reminds me of how fascinating it was to watch my parents disperse a lifetime of belongings in the space of a few months via gifts to their children and grandchildren, yard sales, marketplace and Room to Grow, our favourite thrift store in Clinton. There was a LOT of stuff, which is what happens when you live in a big home. I was amazed how easy it was for them to give/sell and release it all. Once they had decided to downsize, it seemed all that stuff felt heavy and they were eager to disseminate it.
“Take it” became their mantra and as the house emptied, I could see they felt lighter too.
I did take a lot of stuff and was glad for it. Gardening tools, furniture ... and the windmill. Being 20 years younger, I’m still collecting items I need. What’s that saying? As the wind blows...
There is a time to settle and a time to travel; a time to collect and a time to disperse; a time to open the barn door and a time to close it up. I just hope when I meet the next season of my life, I greet it with the same grace and adaptability my parents did. The ability to “let go” and embrace a new way of life is freeing in itself.
Perhaps, one day, the windmill will report on the weather for one of my children. By then, it will have nostalgia as something “passed down”.◊