It is difficult when you are a farmer, even a small one (that is, own a small farm, not be a small sized farmer) to get off the farm on any sort of regular basis.
The chore list extends to infinity and beyond. It can make a seemingly industrious person feel downright lazy to indulge in some personal, off-the-farm time.
But that is exactly what I need to keep some "work-life" balance. So I do my best to have some small adventure off the farm every week.
Today I took the short drive up to Mill Bluff State Park, not too far from Tomah, WI. All the park gates were closed, and I wasn't sure which entrance would yield the best hike, so I took a chance on the Camel Bluff loop, an easy, level, 1.25 mile circuit.
The trail is wide and pretty sandy, but hard-packed so it's not difficult walking. It's also mostly in the shade of mature stands of pine, which would make it a cool saunter on a hot summer day.
The trail was so easy-going that it made it very easy to really enjoy my surroundings, and stop often to take a closer look at details near the trail, like the angelic looking seeds of the milkweed pod.
Setting them free in the breeze is one of my favorite tiny pleasures in the fall.
There are side-shoots off the main trail that lead up to the individual bluffs, and I took advantage of those, too.
I may have even climbed up a bit for a better view, although I found the view at my feet to be as delightful as the view of the horizon.
"There is an ancient conversation going on between mosses and rocks, poetry to be sure. About light and shadow and the drift of continents. This is what has been called the "dialect of moss on stone - an interface of immensity and minute ness, of past and present, softness and hardness, stillness and vibrancy, yin and yan.”
― Robin Wall Kimmerer, Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses
Warm sunshine uninhibited by the shade of the white pines now streamed down on my bare skin, warming me as I stood up with butterflies in my stomach and took in the grandeur of the view around me.
All too soon it was time to climb back down and head back to the farm in time for evening chores, which have gotten earlier as the sunset creeps backwards on the clock.
I did not have time to do the trail to Mill Bluff itself, but I will be back with that journey in mind.
Until then, it is back to the tasks at hand, here at the Little Farm.