A jagged rock isn’t the most comfortable of seats. Despite this, my mind is clear and at peace while I sit on the flat part of a large and pointy rock at The Point in Mossel Bay, South Africa. The sound of waves crashing into the shore and the cool breeze that makes the heat from the sun feel pleasant on my bare skin makes me feel like I’m at home. As does the way the water dances around the rocks after a wave crashes against the boulders in front of me. It’s a sight that reminds me of a day in an old blue barn in Centerview, Missouri where a mud covered hose spews water into a rusty bucket.
That day, the fresh morning air chilled my lungs as I quickly paced down to the barn to make sure our pigs had a drink to refresh them after spending the day underneath the blazing summer sun. My hand came back caked with mud as I released the hose after I had put it in the bucket. Beautifully clear water swirled similar to the dancing water by the rocks at The Point. Muscles in my arms and legs turned to jelly after hauling the heavy bucket to the pin. Miss Polly looked like she was in pain, but her eyes showed determination to successfully deliver her newest litter of piglets. My entire body filled with a loud excitement. Focusing on each individual step, I carefully hurried to the house. Something beautiful was taking place in that old barn, and I didn’t want to miss even one second of it due to my clumsiness. “Hurry! Come to the barn as quick as you can!” I yelled to my mom and little brother, “Polly is about to have her babies!”
My brother and I did our best to catch our breath as we sprinted back to the barn with my mom following with the video camera. Our faces filled with happiness. Polly was our first sow, and her having baby piglets meant we were about to experience a very natural and wonderful event. We quietly, but very quickly, tiptoed back into the barn remembering that too much disturbance would frighten her and could cause complications. We squinted our eyes and looked closely to find one little black lump squirming around near Polly’s back side. The little bundle of new life made its way to its first meal.
My heart stopped for a moment as Polly pushed piglet number two into the world. The piglet’s first tiny squeal was faint, but beautiful, making us fall in love with it even though we knew it would cause us mounds of stress in the days to come. Once the rest of the little lumps arrived into our world, the sight of them taking their first breaths made my family members and me proud of our sow for creating new life and a beautiful moment for us to enjoy. Miss Polly, a brand new mother, quickly jumped up to clean all 11 of her new, squealing piglets. She seemed to count them as she gently and quietly walked around her creations, then laid down to feed them before they got any louder.
Since that memorable day, I have realized that life isn’t just about creation. Staring out into the ocean while sitting on those spikey rocks at The Point was a reminder of that day, and also a reminder that life is all around us. It’s in the sand of the beach, the deep waters of the oceans, and even old barns in Centerview, Missouri.
Just as the new school year came around to interrupt my summer with my new piglet friends, a friend of mine comes up behind me to interrupt my mental screening of this home movie. I felt as if the shining sun had replaced my heart because of the happy memory in my mind and the gorgeous view around me.