His name is Rubedo for the melding of colours on his coat. A brown, which is not quite brown. Not quite earth or rust either. A mix of gold and copper and zinc – at least, that’s the online definition of the alloy Rubedo. Evidently, Tiffany & Co launched an entire jewellery line in the metal not too long ago.
Rubedo is the daddy doggie on the farm – a Labrador-Saint Bernard mix. His missus is a golden mutt called Rio, and together they have a bunch of puppies who look nothing like mamma or papa.
We’re at a farm-stay couple hours from home. It’s the kind of place that makes you linger. Linger long enough to discover canine connections and why Rubedo was named after a precious alloy. Linger long enough to discover the personalities of the other animals who call it home.
There’s Chestnut, the horse, missing one white sock from his hooves (the mystery of disappearing socks seems to extend to the animal kingdom as well). Three turkeys strut about with enough oomph to give the Kardashian sisters a run for their money. Hiding in the undergrowth is a pair of white ducks who prefer to keep to themselves, as if to say this menagerie of animals is below their pay grade. Cows and roosters and frogs and bugs of every conceivable kind (I prefer not to linger too long on those!) stop by to say hello.
This is not a dream vacation with meandering infinity swimming pools and mile-long buffets. It’s a getaway where you give yourself a moment to exhale – deeply, slowly and intentionally.
You give yourself permission to take on a simpler pace of life. Where time slows down. Where napping is almost mandatory. Where there’s gloriously little to do.
Except stop long enough to notice.
To listen to the ever-talkative crickets like the soundtrack of an old Western. To notice the elegant bend of the coconut trees and the dappled sunlight through the leaves.
After sublimely lazy afternoon naps, we clamber up some rocks, with Rubedo and Rio panting alongside us, to catch the last few rays of the sunset. I would like to say the sunset was spectacular. But it wasn’t. The cloud cover made for a hazy orange glow. But that was the point, almost. The place gives you permission to take unimpressive, low-key pictures that you don’t want to post on Facebook. It strips off the gloss. I stop to take a picture of nature’s free bridal bouquet, lace-like against the purple-pink dusk – something I might otherwise ignore.
Our host asks if we want to see giant spiders. That, naturally, is met with a resounding ‘yes’ from the 8-year-old. So, off we go on rambling walk – with the sole mission of finding spiders. Tiny frogs quickly hop out of our way as we wind our way down a path to nowhere. We stop in a clearing and our host points to huge spiders suspended between the trees, their delicate webs belying their strength. They dance in the breeze, sending shivers down my spine.
I lead our motley crew back to the farm. But then the moon. The moon stops me in my tracks. It’s a full moon, luminescent, almost-gold. It’s worth slowing down again. Just to notice.
To notice the beauty of the world around you. To notice you’re blessed. It’s a stepping out of the routine. So you can reset and recalibrate - and then go back to how things were.
But now things look a little less daunting, a little more doable. You’ve had a break from the busy and you know what it’s like to give yourself permission to slow down.
In the midst of the rush, you remind yourself it’s okay to rest. Exhale – deeply, slowly and intentionally.