Life Lessons From a Border Collie

The Border Collie showed life at its finest, most joyful, and en pointe.

I never know where I will learn an important life-lesson. It can be from some experience I have, hearing something that resonates or makes me question something that I think I am certain about, or, as in last evening’s lesson, on television.

There is a show on British TV where people are giving up their congested life and looking to move to the country. Some leave London, others leave towns and villages that have grown beyond their desires for peace and quiet and new opportunities.

Interspersed between the showing of three properties, the host might visit some treasure of the area where the people are looking.

On last night’s episode, the host went to a sheep farm.

The sheep were playing and eating on a hillside and it was time for them to go home for the night.

The Border Collie was given his signal and off he went. He ran around the sheep, knowing exactly where and what he was doing. There was an ease of determination and wisdom in what he did. Instinct? Training?


He gathered those sheep with grace and agility, and I swear, he had the biggest smile on his face. He moved back and forth in an undulating sweep, and the sheep knew who was boss. The wooly things pranced in a group and straight into their pin. After the gate was shut, the Border Collie skipped over to a long, metal water trough, jumped in to cool off, swished around for just a moment, and hopped out.

Job well done.

It was brilliant. He was brilliant in his ease, desire and technique.

And I thought, my granny pants, it is that simple.

I don’t know about you, but I can make life a tad more complicated than necessary. I can get into thinking that all fo the puzzle pieces need to fit together in some organized form. Emotionally, physically, psychically and energy, working in tandem.

Good luck with that.

And that is only the part that deals with me, in my own little mind, and not the world at large.

Frankly, I have given up on dealing with a lot of the world. Within the last three months or so, I have been simplifying my head. With intention, I have worked on getting a lot of things out of my mind that I really can’t want to do anything about.

The Border Collie knows what he can handle, and he does it well. He stays focused on the task at hand and then has a jolly time in between. Any animal or person who hops into a water trough after completing a task, knows what life is about.

I will let you in on a bit of a something-something. For most of my life, up until recently, I have felt like I must create. If I wasn’t creating art or working towards trying to get people to try to see other’s people’s perspectives, and “fix” things, I felt unsettled.

Something in me shifted. I recall a moment when it dawned on me that I had to let some of these things go. One of those things was trying to get people to be open to change and listening to others about politics, and getting a dialogue going.


It was brilliant at that moment when I thought to myself, you are an idiot. That isn’t your job. Don’t let something like that, that will only cause you angst, weigh you down.

Another thing that I learned within the last couple of months is that I don’t want to paint. I don’t want to try to paint. I simply like to doodle and illustrate and play around on a very small scale.

Putting away the easel, paints and the notion that I could plow forward in that medium, was a huge relief. I was trying to talk myself into doing something that just wasn’t me, anymore.

I will be 66 a week from Sunday. And each day, I continue to learn about myself, the world, and where and how I fit in … or don’t.

Right now, I am sort of a Border Collie of baking. I chill and do my research and learn about my subjects, and then I say go, and off I go like that collie, and get focused, pick up steam and get the job done and then jump into that trough of water for a cool down.

On my first visit to Ireland, I went to the Bantry Fair. It was on a hillside, out in the country. If I could take you there, to that place and time, I would. A crowd gathered around a big wooly sheep. He was having his wool removed by the world’s fastest sheep-shearer. Yessirreebob, he was fast.

I used to be like that, my mind worked like that. Speed. Fast. No time to waste. Chop. Chop. I thought it was great.

But now, if I was there, I would probably think, for crying out loud, slow down. It isn’t the speed. It is the experience. Enjoy it.

Many of my joys come from within close proximity, these days. I am not chasing anything. Instead, I am building a life that is more centered, yet less self-centered. What a joy that is.

Humans think they are so smart, but in many ways, it is in watching our four-legged friends or two-legged friends with feathers, that we really learn about life.

I have to laugh right now because I am not sure if what I said will make sense to you. I am not certain I made sense to myself. But that is life, too.


PS. The photo is of towels.Pioneer Woman towels from Walmart. I think they are cute.


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