I never have cultivated much of a fashion sense, but at this time of year, clothing starts to feel very important to me. This morning, the indoors seemed warm and inviting, and the outdoors looked like a place to avoid. Still, my toddler and I had to venture out in the cool mist to take care of the animals. He was dressed in a yellow slicker with a hood, looking like a ray of sunshine to me, and I wore my Carhart jacket. Both my husband and I balked a little at the idea of buying the pricey Carharts, but we pushed past our reservations, each purchasing one as a gift for the other.
My mom, who always wishes beautiful things for me, was a little disappointed in my husband’s gift. “How does it look? ” she asked.
“It depends, I guess, on the look you’re going for,” I answered. “If you’re trying to look like a farmer, then it looks perfect!” Honestly, the feel of it it is more important than the look because when I’m wearing that jacket, I am rarely distracted by the weather.
This morning, my Carhart protected me from drizzle as my toddler and I marched out to care for a batch of chicks in the most distant coop. Instead of paying attention to the rain, I was wondering whether the speedy toddler was going to trip and crash on his stomach in the mud. (He did fall, several times, but picked himself up, saying “I’m OK.”) The rain that looked so daunting from inside was not even worth my attention.
When the chicks were done, we opened the hens’ coop and brought some corn and damaged squash to the hogs. Watching the hogs nibble and wrestle with some of those hard squash, I breathed that cool damp air, and savored the smells of wet earth and newly fallen leaves. Standing quietly under the trees by the pig pen, it felt like I had an intimate relationship with this little patch of the world.
There’s something special about being outdoors, not for fun, but because we need to be there. We end up learning how an autumn drizzle sounds sounds falling in a field of sorghum sudan grass, and we know how clean the snowy winds smell. We end up seeing the stars far too often, going out after dark to take care of something, but those stars can feel like mysterious companions when you’re looking up at them often enough.
In the end, my mother’s wish that I should have beautiful things is fulfilled by that rugged looking Carhart jacket. I am gathering a rich collection of stars, the perfume of rain, the treasure of intimacy with a little patch of the world. Anyone who tries to store such extravagant beauty in their heart is bound to be changed by it.