After a cold and dry spring the warm and dry weather arrived. Trees and herbs seemed to be waiting for life giving water. At last it came and suddenly my whole world turned into countless nuances of green. The flowers bowed their heads as if in gratitude. Drops of water covered the petals like transparent pearls. The fragrance needs a poet to do justice… When I looked at one of our wild tulips in the garden I started thinking about how they felt the rain. The tactile sense of plants must be very developed in plants since they have limitations in the other senses. But the thought remained in my mind, how such a pleasure silent rain must be for a flower, like balm on a dry hand and perhaps also like water for a dry throat. How little we know about the nature that surrounds us.
I wonder if animals can feel wonder? Research on the self-consciousness of animals presents new fascinating discoveries every year on the issue. But can they recognise that they are created and observe their surrounding with awe? Some people are afraid of the question, but I see no need to be afraid over this question. When I look at my dogs, I think sometimes that they are observing and reflecting over what they see in the same manner as I do, but at the same time they seem to be part of nature in such a way that I feel like an outsider watching the trees and fields, flowers and birds. However, I think they sense in some way that they are caused; how I don’t know, but it is fun to speculate.
The birds of spring are here, beauty on the verge of pain. The privilege of living in and of nature have made me a little more part of nature than observer, I have noticed. As if the closeness to both flora and fauna have created a stronger sense of having the same source as the animals and plants. But the question remains if and how much they sense awe.
On an evening walk today I observed a blackbird singing on the top of a fir. I stopped and listened with both joy and peace to the melodious song. Between the parts of his song he bent his head, listened and looked around. Did he experience the beautiful view while listening and did he feel joy? I really hope he did.
Spring is slowly returning to our farm. It is a busy time of year, but also lovely to be able to be outside in the sunshine with the dogs while working. Today we finished repairing the fence round our biggest pasture. Tomorrow the cows and the calves will come out on this pasture from their winter paddock. Here they will spend the summer and autumn. For me it is always a joy to let them out on pasture so they can live as natural as is possible.
Being catholic with a strong love for France it is impossible to not feel a great sorrow and loss when hearing about the fire. At the same time it was so beautiful to read about the praying people around the church, the courageous firefighters and the priest father Fournier who risked his life to save the crown of thorns and the holy sacrament. That is what I call a true priest.
I live on a farm where I have God as neighbour. Strange as it may sound, he is there just 50 meters from my doorstep. He has been there since I was born. My parents moved to this farm 1982 and immediately wanted to have, since they had it on their previous farm, the holy eucharist present. To be a catholic in Sweden today is, as my brother Clemens coined, “to be a stranger”. Almost all catholic churches was seized by the protestant state around 1540s. So today, if you want to have a church, you must build it yourself. My parents started building a chapel as soon as they arrived. Later it became a consecrated church, a very little church, the smallest in the diocese and consequently the smallest of all catholic churches in Sweden. Nevertheless Jesus Christ is present there in the tabernacle, completely. He is my neighbour. To live with God as neighbour creates a presence that is discovered in silence in front of the tabernacle. I love to sit there with just candles lighting the church. This little church is the heart of the farm. The church bell tells about it, the red oil lamp indicates the place and the prayers witness about it. He waits there in darkness. I think it has made a mark on my life, because you always relate to him hiding in this little church wherever you are on the farm or if you are walking in the forests and fields in the vicinity, a reference point as well as a refuge. And maybe it is not he that is my neighbour, but I his? It must be so, but in secret.
What is it like to be a farmer? For me it is not so much a choice of work as it is a choice of a way of living. Farming is tough for your body, especially when you are a woman. However, I have always loved to be outside and work with my body even before I took over the farm. To be a farmer is for me to be as close as I can to nature. I want to work with nature, not against it, so our farm is entirely organic. I love to see the calves and the lambs bouncing with life in the spring. Just to have the opportunity to rest for a moment, look into the sky in silence with the animals and plants around me fills me with pure joy. But of course farm life is hard, not just to make ends meet, but the moment I realise that I depend on the animal’s life and death. That is the hardest thing I think, but it also gives opportunity for humility when I realise my dependence of nature. The way I live is far from any career in real life and I think that is one of the reasons why I love this life so much, I can greet the peaceful forest and fields and forget myself in wonder of the beauty that surrounds me.
The capacity to wonder has always followed and fascinated me. It is as Joseph Pieper says in his book Leisure the Basis of Culture, that wonder is the recognition of not being the cause of the beauty, a sort of bewilderment mingled with joy and surprise. For me my animals and the nature I encounter always fill me with this sort fascination and gratitude to the one who caused it.