The Art of Heartful Living


Being on the ranch is always good. I enjoy getting out of Dallas and picking up a chainsaw or a grubbing hoe; one or both are always waiting for me here on the ranch. It’s a different world – a different kind of work – from my teaching at DTS, and it’s good for me.

But being on the ranch with Evan, our nearly 2-year-old grandson, is a different story. Work takes a back seat as the Nueces River becomes the “Great Gray-Green Greasy Limpopo” from Kipling’s, The Elephant’s Child. The ancient river oak takes on the visage and voice of Tolkien’s, Treebeard. There’s treasure buried under one of the great sandstone boulders at the bluff; and the rusty old windmill becomes a magical rocket ship with blades spinning so fast that sparks fly, and it takes off to the moon, where we eat green cheese, drink green moon-water, and return home in time for warm chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies, and cold milk before night-night time.

Yep, the ranch is a different story when Evan is riding on my lap in the OGJ (Old Gray Jeep), turning the wheel, yelling at the top of his lungs, “HI WINDMILL!” and waving as we pass by (every time), then looking up at me and putting his hand on my face.

He will ride ANY vehicle with wheels attached. He will walk up to ANY truck, tractor, car, or jeep on the place, joyfully point out the lug nuts and then ask to get inside. We will sit in my silver Tacoma (named HiYo!) as it is parked, engine off (in view of the windmill) pretending to drive, with me making appropriate engine noises and shifting sounds (the gears tend to grind) – for 45 minutes! Then, when we get out (“Evan, PoP’s going to count to 10, then we have to go inside to eat supper!”), he will stand beside the front fender, patting it gently and saying, “By-by, HiYo!”

Where does this fascination with all things “truck” come from? I haven’t a clue. Nor do I care. Because it’s time spent holding Evan in my lap. Making truck noises. Spinning yarns as we watch the spinning blades of the old windmill. Teaching him to climb up into the welcoming arms of Treebeard. And just sit. And be.

That is the art of heartful living.

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