Travels With Maggie: The Circle of Life

Updated on October 15, 2019

Another Day, Another Walk, This Is What We Do

It’s Monday so we need to go on our walk.

It’s Tuesday so we need to go on our walk.

It’s Wednesday so we need . . .

This is what Maggie and I do. We go for daily walks, and you are invited to join us if you like. We even decided to bring Maggie’s brother, Tobias, along with us for entertainment.

Maggie Girl
Maggie Girl

Cue the Lion King Song

I was watching a documentary the other day, “The Biggest Little Farm,” about a couple who chased their dream of owning a self-sustaining, completely natural farm in California. Their goal was to create a bio-diverse ecological system, believing that an ecosystem will thrive if allowed to do what it does naturally. It was an eye-opening, uplifting movie and I found myself smiling and crying while watching it, so powerful was the message that we are all connected, and every step we take, every action we undertake, affects the world around us.

As Maggie and I take our walk, I am convinced that my beautiful dog understands that truth instinctively. Maggie is aware of everything occurring around her. She watches seeds floating in the wind. She smells gophers and field mice, sniffing constantly until she finds their burrows. A butterfly, a robin, a hawk up above . . . a beetle, a garter snake, a rabbit down below . . . she hears neighbors a half mile away, knows when a coyote is nearby, and somehow penetrates the darkness of the forest with X-Ray vision. I think I’m attuned to nature until I’m with my girl, and then she puts me to shame.

There is so much we humans miss and yes, it is true, we don’t have the finely-tuned senses of animals, but I suspect we also miss a great deal because we are too busy being busy. Our minds are flooded with non-essentials. We are rooted in the past, or rooted in the future, and the now speeds by us practically unnoticed.

But not so, Maggie! My girl is all about the now.

Ascending the Ladder

Seeds and insects and rodents, followed by the predators, the weasels, the fox, the coyotes, and the cougars, all interacting, dust to dust, and microbes are formed, and from those microbes comes healthy soil, and from that healthy soil comes more life, more diverse life, and ain’t that cool?

Seeds and insects and rodents, followed by the predators, the hawks, the crows, the eagles, and the owls, all interacting, dust to dust, and microbes are formed, and from those microbes comes healthy soil, and from that healthy soil comes more life, more diverse life, and ain’t that cool?

And the hummingbirds hum, the dragonflies hover and skim, the ladybugs, God bless the ladybugs, devour the aphids, and each one is related, each one has importance, each one completes a picture so complicated we mere humans lack the depth to understand.

But Maggie understands it all, observes it all, and accepts it all, and damn if I don’t wish I knew more people like Maggie.

Tobias
Tobias

Toby, on the Other Hand

Toby is into everything with reckless abandon. Anything that moves is a potential plaything for Toby, as though the world was his private playground and all of God’s creatures his toys. A fly, a seed pod, a leaf, a bird, a rabbit, all are objects of intense scrutiny and all can, and will, be pounced on with a gleeful spirit.

Maggie’s brother doesn’t have a mean or aggressive bone in his body, but fifty-three pounds of pouncing can do some damage to some of the farm’s creatures, so I keep a close eye on the youngest sibling. I praise him when he listens; I chastise him when he strays from instructions; slowly but surely he learns what his place is in this strange environment, just as we all learn our proper place and roles in life.

Which Triggers a Memory

Way back, the Dark Ages, 1950’s, as a child I would go out to the driveway and step on ants. I have no clue why I did that; it was just something to do; and besides, my little brain reasoned, there were so many of them, what difference would it make.

It turns out ants are quite valuable. They are decomposers in our environment. They are soil aerators. They are food in the food chain. There are, literally, one-quad-zillion of them on our planet, and they are a key element in the balance of nature and the environment.

I’m wiser now. I am fully aware of the damage man can do to the natural order of things. I’ve seen the honey bees disappear. I have witnessed the severe drop in numbers of the orca. I shudder to think of how many species have become extinct during my lifetime, and how many more will disappear in the years to come.

Again, Maggie seems to understand this. Toby, like that little child sixty years ago, still has some learning to do.

But I’ll help him, as will Maggie, as will Bev, because I’m tired of key elements of this planet vanishing.

Maggie growls at the sound of a forklift starting up at one of the building sites.

I’m in total agreement with my girl.

The farm
The farm

On the Farm

We take our walks on the farm owned by Bev’s son and his wife, ten acres, about seventy goats, a llama, two dogs, four horses, chickens, and dozens of peacocks. It’s not a large farm by any means, but the “kids” are determined to make it the most ecologically-efficient and bountiful small farm in the area. They are busy planting cover crops to strengthen the soil . . . they understand the most important factor in a healthy farm is healthy soil. It all begins with the soil. The soil giveth and the soil taketh away, and the kids get it, and that is gratifying to see.

And it’s because of young couples like them, and it’s because of animals like Maggie and Tobias, that I still have hope for our planet. There are some very caring people on this small planet, and I suspect they outnumber the harmful ones. I suspect . . . nay, I know . . . that the mega-corporations which rape and pillage the land are outnumbered by small businesses whose owners actually give a damn. I am convinced that good outnumbers bad.

And it is my hope that the Good stands up and leads by example. I pray that the Good is willing to do that which is hard in order to ensure that this planet will be healthy for many generations to come.

Food for thought! More later, at another time, but until then Maggie, Toby, and I have mysteries to explore and contemplate. We love that you joined us on this walk, and we will always welcome you on future walks.

We will leave you with the words of our good buddy Henry David Thoreau, a man who walked his talk:

“There are moments when all anxiety and stated toil are becalmed in the infinite leisure and repose of nature.”

Go take a walk, friends, and I guarantee you will find the truth, as I have during my travels with Maggie. What more could please the soul than to walk free and know no superior, no worry, and no strife?

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Bill Holland

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment
      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

        It is always our pleasure, Genna! Thank you so much for joining us. You are a welcome addition to any walk.

      • Genna East profile image

        Genna East 

        2 weeks ago from Massachusetts, USA

        "...we are all connected, and every step we take, every action we undertake, affects the world around us." Absolutely. Everything exists in relationship. What fun it was to walk with you, Maggie and her sibling. Toby is a playful rascal and apprentice...how lucky for him to have you and Maggie by his side on his journey of learning. Thanks again for taking us along.

      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

        That makes me smile, Lawrence. I would have liked your dad and I definitely like you. Thank you!

      • lawrence01 profile image

        Lawrence Hebb 

        3 weeks ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

        Bill

        I think the way my Dad was rubbed off on me growing up, I'm one who doesn't even like killing cockroaches (much to both my wife and daughter's annoyance) and as for bees, we plant as many flowers and plants as we can, but my fruit trees are always full of fruit (mr bee pollinates them)

        Yesterday I was watching a blackbird have a feast in my box with the mint in and less than a metre away the cat was sleeping in a chair, she's a good hunter but didn't know about the bird and I wasn't telling her!

      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

        It is a continua task, Shannon, and one that only a younger man/woman can take on. You better love farming a whole lot before committing to it.

      • shanmarie profile image

        Shannon Henry 

        5 weeks ago from Texas

        I just came from this week's walk and realized I missed the last one. I had to come see what I missed, though I confess that it is a little hard to concentrate while the cats are running around like two bats straight out of hell. Like that old commercial, I wonder, "what got into those cats!?" At least the dogs are quietly sleeping at the moment.

        Now I've got to say that it's pretty impressive when someone takes on the task of building a farm, especially an urban farm. I can't begin to tell you how many times I've wished I could live on a ranch somewhere. I love the beautiful, wide-open spaces, and, of course, the views that come with places like that. But then I must come back to reality and know that I do not have the knowledge to sustain a property like that long-term. So kudos to those who can and to those who can have a farm smack in the middle of it all.

      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

        Sis, you are a sweetheart. Thank you! I lucked out getting you as a sister.

        love always

      • fpherj48 profile image

        Paula 

        5 weeks ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

        How do we know what a wonderful Story Teller you are, Bro? Because when we're done reading what you've written for us, we feel SO GOOD ALL OVER...INSIDE AND OUT!! Thanks buddy! Peace, Sis

      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

        Sound advice, Zulma! :)

      • phoenix2327 profile image

        Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

        5 weeks ago from United Kingdom

        Remember, take small bites. lol

      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

        Here we are indeed, Zulma. No problem with the plate. I'll just buy a larger one. :)

      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

        You are too kind, Sean, but thank you! It feels wonderful to see the world with all of my senses. I am alive!!!!!

      • phoenix2327 profile image

        Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

        5 weeks ago from United Kingdom

        Funny, I don't recall you mentioning Maggie could talk and, yet, here we are. lol

        I know you've got loads on your plate at the moment, Bill, so there's no rush. You'll get to it when you get to it.

        Have a lovely day.

      • Sean Dragon profile image

        Ioannis Arvanitis 

        6 weeks ago from Greece, Almyros

        This one was amazing, my brother, Bill! Deep in so many ways! Food for thought. I am going to print it and share it with my students. Thank you for your Love to this world. This Love makes us brothers and sisters with the littlest bacterium!

        Feed the mind with Light!

        Sean

      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

        Thank you, William! Maggie and Toby say hello!

      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

        Nell, you and Bev would get along quite well. And I mean that as a compliment.

      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

        I love that story, Monkey! Thank you for sharing it. They really are fascinating creatures.

      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

        Very true, Mary! Every positive action helps the environment.

      • lifegate profile image

        William Kovacic 

        6 weeks ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

        Maggie certainly is a special dog, Bill. Toby - well, I think everyone should have a Toby. Like you said, our animals are much more attuned to things. Thank you for the lesson.

      • annart profile image

        Ann Carr 

        6 weeks ago from SW England

        Yes, me too! Thanks, bill, you too.

        Ann

      • Nell Rose profile image

        Nell Rose 

        6 weeks ago from England

        Wonderful Bill. I always look up, down and around whenever I go out in nature. I drive my family nuts because I stop, kneel down and peer into the flowers etc. LOL! I love nature, I even talk to trees! true. I love your walks with Maggie.

      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

        I'm with you all the way, Ann! We have one segment on the local news called "Eric's Heroes," it comes on once a week, and it's about average people who quietly do good for the community...it's uplifting and it is my favorite news segment. I wish more people would demand more feel good segments, you know?

        Have a brilliantly delicious weekend, my friend.

        bill

      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

        Zulma, there you go again, asking for more and more and more. Who says Toby talks??? Did I ever make mention of that pup talking? LOL I'll see what I can do, my friend. Have a great weekend!

      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

        Thank you MizB! No to fire ants, no thank you ever! As for mice, cute only goes so far in the jungle we call our home. Our cat Josie doesn't do cute. lol

      • RoadMonkey profile image

        RoadMonkey 

        6 weeks ago

        Great walks. I love ants, always have. I used to lie on the ground and watch them, as a child. I know they can be more destructive elsewhere. On holiday in Greece one time, we came back to our hotel room to find a living trail of ants following the original wandering trail of a lone ant from the hotel window over the wall to a shelf where I had left a fig sitting out. I removed the fig and washed it and the line of ants gradually disappeared. I used my survival level Greek to buy a box for any fruit, so they gave me an opportunity to learn a bit more.

      • aesta1 profile image

        Mary Norton 

        6 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

        Great that you have Maggie to walk with and bring you to be one with nature. Am so happy to hear about the young couple doing their best to do more sustainable farming. Each one of us can do something.

      • annart profile image

        Ann Carr 

        6 weeks ago from SW England

        Wonderful! That farm looks lovely and very homely.

        I'm also convinced that good outnumbers bad. Trouble is, that's not news, we never have a feast of good stuff with our daily tv update of the world and that depresses me. How can we inspire good practice if we rarely hear about it? It's only dished up as an occasional small sweet dessert to soften the bad stuff.

        Thanks for the substantial dose of good stuff, bill!.

        Ann

      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

        Thanks for joining us, Linda! You are a scientist....you would fit in quite well on these walks.

      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

        Eric, you and your family get it for sure....and yes, today, I choose to be a dog. Thanks buddy!

      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

        Orchestrated it is, Heidi, and our job is to make sure all of the instruments are allowed to play freely. :) Thank you for joining us.

      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

        Thank you Liz! Overactive imagination....since I was a little kid. :)

      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

        I know, right, Flourish? 350 million people doing just a little bit better....it would make a difference for sure.

      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

        God bless you, Pamela, and may we both see the revitalization of the bees and the orca.

      • phoenix2327 profile image

        Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

        6 weeks ago from United Kingdom

        It sounds like Toby is a typical boy. He's curious about everything in his world just like Maggie, but he lacks her finesse. Keep training him and I'm sure he'll settle down. Not too much, I hope. There's a lot to be said about grabbing life by the...uh...scruff of the neck and never letting go. (I was going to say something else but decided to keep it family-friendly. lol)

        I'm fascinated by how everything on this planet is interconnected and how that interconnectivity keeps our world ticking along. Nature clearly knows what she's doing. Now if man would just get out of the way and let her get on with it, we'd be so much better off.

        Now that Toby is joining you on your walks, I'd love to hear what he has to say.

        Have a great day, Bill.

      • MizBejabbers profile image

        Doris James MizBejabbers 

        6 weeks ago from Beautiful South

        Bless that little Tobias, he sounds just like my Tas Too kitty. But then my little Tas has a purpose: to rid my house of mice. I know they are cute little critters, but when they tear into a $12 bag of gluten-free flour and ruin it, they aren't welcome here. Now if he could just figure out how to rid us of mosquitoes.

        I try to avoid stepping on ants because mostly what we have here are fire ants. They aren't welcome either.

        I love your walks in nature and hope to start taking our own soon. The temperatures have been in the 80s recently, thanks to the remnants of hurricanes and tropical storms that have reached us. We love to walk at the Big Dam Bridge that is just below our house on the Arkansas River. The flood last spring closed the walking trails down for repairs, but some are open again.

        Enjoy your walks and thanks for taking us along.

      • AliciaC profile image

        Linda Crampton 

        6 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

        I enjoy reading about the thoughts triggered by your walks with Maggie. A walk with a dog can produce some unexpected benefits! It sounds like Tobias is going to become another great companion.

      • Ericdierker profile image

        Eric Dierker 

        6 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

        So last night as we played roller ball outside my son broke off and put his ear pressed against the ground. And said "wait for it"! And a huge truck went by a street away. Now what fool taught him to be that in tune? We smell birds in flight.

        Being a dog is a choice. And we choose it.

      • heidithorne profile image

        Heidi Thorne 

        6 weeks ago from Chicago Area

        We've got our daily walk drill, too. When I was laid up with an injury earlier this year, I realized how out of sync I am without it.

        And I walk each of our fur kids separately, too. They each have their own cadence. Bailey's a solid sprint, Daisy is a lazy daisy.

        Ants. Worms. Bacteria. It's all so amazingly orchestrated, eh?

        Always love joining you on the walk. :)

      • Eurofile profile image

        Liz Westwood 

        6 weeks ago from UK

        I am amazed at how you can take a dog walk and from it draw out such deep thoughts and musings about how the circle of life works and our responsibility to uphold it.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image

        FlourishAnyway 

        6 weeks ago from USA

        If we could all strive to do just a little better when it comes to the environment change would be possible.

      • Pamela99 profile image

        Pamela Oglesby 

        6 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

        I truly like the idea of things being natural on any farm. I liked the short video of the movie. I have long been wordered about the demise of bees and the orca. We need to take care of our earth as there is no where else to go! LOL

        Continue you walks with Maggie, and Toby will learn. That little fellow just needs a bit more training than Maggie required. God bless you Bill.

      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

        I'm feeling good, Linda, and each day is better. Thanks for joining us. Toby sends his reckless love. :)

      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

        Sha, I suspect it is real, and I suspect we may be too late to repair it all. I hope I'm wrong...I hope the scientists are wrong...but around here, in our region, there is no denying that things have changed drastically.

      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

        Ruby, you and I share those concerns. You and I won't see the ultimate price paid for the money grab, but someone will have to pay for it I'm afraid.

      • Carb Diva profile image

        Linda Lum 

        6 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

        Bill, it appears that you have found what's really important in this life. I can see your shoulders sagging a little less under the burden. Blessings to you and Bev and Maggie and that little rascal Toby.

      • bravewarrior profile image

        Shauna L Bowling 

        6 weeks ago from Central Florida

        Bill, I pray the upcoming generations see what their predecessors have done to the environment and do their best to correct what Man has put asunder.

        Although there seems to be much political debate with regard to global warming, the scientists take it seriously. They're now looking to our outer atmosphere, looking for planets that have similar conditions as Earth (before it became so damaged). It seems there's a desperate reach to begin life anew elsewhere. Do they feel repairing Earth is futile? Makes you think, doesn't it?

        I enjoyed the walk with the three of you, Bill. Toby wore me out watching him bound from this to that. Oh, what fun he had!

      • always exploring profile image

        Ruby Jean Richert 

        6 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

        Money is the most important thing in the world to some corporations, like you, I worry how long the world can sustain with the raping of the land. I especially wonder about the warming of the climate. Thank you for another walk-along with Maggie and Tobias..

      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

        Thank you John! The three of us thoroughly enjoyed your company on this walk.

      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 

        6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

        I thoroughly enjoyed this walk with you, maggie and Tobias. It saddens me to think about all the species that have become extinct in my lifetime, and that's only the ones I know about. I too am confident there are more people doing the right thing for the planet than the wrong. Good on Bev's son and his wife for being part of the change for the better.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, letterpile.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://letterpile.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)