By Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist
NDSU Extension Service
Sometimes, words are really difficult as events shake our foundation.
Questions without answers abound. Words of hope and encouragement fall by the wayside. Our world simply stops. We stop, ponder and question.
However, on the range or any place that maintains the living, the world may pause, but it does not stop.
We may look to pause, to simply get away. Unexpected events bring that emotion forward, generally when something is wrong, very wrong. We all have this innate feeling, a feeling of emptiness, of loss without a fix. We cannot go back; we cannot change what has happened. We simply may sit at a gate, looking back, but it’s a gate that will not open.
Today’s world seems to move the tenets of wrong. Our foundations and core remain solid but questions multiply. Who is going to feed the cattle? Who is going to open the pasture gate? Who is going to go get fuel? So much is taken for granted, so much is assumed, and then there is nothing.
Living is vast and tough, reflected in the bumps and bruises accumulated in our days on any given day. We call it living, but we too often are called to task and are reminded all too well of the fragileness of life.
In times of loss, I often recall a memory of a day gone by, a sad memory, a young, tragic death. I remember returning from the funeral and picking up an egg that was about to hatch. Emerging from that egg was a new life, totally unknowing of the day’s events and emotion. How fragile that new youngster was, and yet so fresh, so full of life on a day that another life was lost.
The youngster pecked away: first a crack, then a hole, emitting the most beautiful light the youngster had ever seen. The youngster continued pecking, faithfully believing a better life existed outside the shell. Blind, unending faith brought the youngster from the security of the egg to the vastness of a new world. Faith turns us from that gate that will not open, turns as around and sends us on a new path.
The emotion of my tears was simply morning dew for the youngster, who had no knowledge of how tough life can be, only a brightness of new life, ready, willing and able to secure tomorrow’s future. I simply returned the youngster to its mother, who quickly embraced the newborn, no questions asked.
Today, we face a void because of worldly events. Yes, fall roundups and next spring’s calving will continue, which will bring smiles to our faces. Even more new life, once hatched, will fill the room full of new expectations.
But life is still different: We have the desire to be alone in the quiet space, at least for a while, but a call came: The bulls are out. A deep breath, a muttered “Not now,” but we respond, noting the crystal-clear North Dakota skies and majestic powdery clouds drifting by. We also notice the cold wind, with a slight howl to it, that has come and gone for centuries, and breeched the hill, reminding me we are not in charge.
After the fence was fixed, I pondered: We feed each other and yet we hurt each other, truly a challenge within the fragility of life. Feelings have not faded. We are still “one nation under God.”
For those of us who remain, we know life is very fragile, and for those who have given their life, we must rest assured there is much more. We do not know, but we hang on to what we have, to what is good. And faith turns us. Through bad times, we seek healing and we seek what is good.
Good does not go away. Our very foundation of goodness is real, but so is sadness. Faith, hope and love reseal life’s cracks and pass on our foundation to those to come.
For now, forgiveness ultimately allows chapters to close, leaving us to still ponder where the “more” is. For now, joy is in short supply, but hope remains. Hope sustains something very precious: us.
As we sift through the physical, emotional and spiritual rubble of the past darkness, we must continue a resolve to realign priorities. Perhaps someday, we no longer will need to wonder when we all will be able to truly be arm in arm, side by side. Who knows?
We are all truly individuals challenged to make good, to bring love and pass on hope. But we are not in control; the forces of nature, of space and of that which we are not privileged to know always will be here.
We can seek peace within ourselves, and when we have peace within our self, share that peace with those around us. And then we realize we do not need to open old gates; we need only to pause, share the good, and turn and move on down the path. Life is not easy but truly worth living.
As we throw that last bit of hay to the cows or gather one more calf that somehow managed to slip past the gate as the sun sets, remember tomorrow is another day filled with hope. We have no assurance of what is to come, but each day is one step closer to knowing the truth, a truth that once revealed, will bring joy to one’s heart and sadness will be no more. Peace be with you.