Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Showing up

Okay, I'm here. Writing. Well, that sounds more like I'm doing it grudgingly, which I'm not. This is something I really want to do, but for some reason it's become a struggle. Again. And, no doubt, it's because I keep waging the battle in my head instead of just sitting down to write. Seriously. I think that's a lot of it. I'm mean, my fingers are moving across the keyboard now, so there's clearly no mechanical failure. Odds are pretty good that if I just show up and do this from time to time, I'll occasionally write something that I actually like, and maybe in the process, figure a few things out.

Much of my writing in the past was done to figure something out. I was in a bad situation and needed to get out, so I wrote. I got out and needed to make some changes so I didn't make the same mistakes again, so I wrote. I was alone and had a lot of time to let my mind go to a place far away to think, so I wrote. There are a lot of other reasons to write, though....to remember, to share, to play with words, to create.

It's interesting, just sitting down here to do this, feeling the slick surface of the keys under my finger tips, hearing their click and thud as I press them down, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. There's a sense of relief, actually, recognizing that I'm doing it. I'm not just thinking about it right now.

So, showing up is a start, and now the trick is to let go of my expectations of where it will take me. Yes, that's it. I need to let that go and just write.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Haycation reflection

I've been on vacation for almost two weeks now...vacation from the paying job, the one in the city, the one where I sit inside an air conditioned building all day and either talk on the phone, go to meetings, answer e-mail, or show people around the school, the one where I wear dry-clean-only clothes and carry a briefcase. I have not, however, been on vacation from the farm and have, instead, leaped head first into the farm life, making it my sole vocation for these two weeks. It's been good, albeit hot, the hottest two weeks of the year to be exact. I'm trying not to take it personally that come Monday, when I return to the office, the high for the day will be a mere 90 degrees, a good 12 or 13 degrees cooler than it's been any day this week or last.

Our days start at six and include the usual chores and an assortment of projects around the farm, things like setting up a planned rotational grazing system for the sheep, which included examining and treating the sheep for worms and/or foot rot, cleaning out the barn, hoeing in the garden, and mowing the lawn. We've also managed to host a couple of private dinner parties during these two weeks and come up with our farm plan for the fall and winter months. On a calm day, we're in bed by 9:30 or 10:00. Most days it's been around 11:00. All and all, I'd say, it's been good.

And without two hours of commuting everyday, there's been time for a nap or to read and write and I'm grateful for that. In fact, I'm not really sure how I'll give those things up to be able to return to the office.

Last night we worked with some chickens, clipping their wings so that we can move them to the Hennebago tonight. I looked up and saw stars twinkling in the sky, so many of them, their vastness almost overwhelming. I was struck by a sense of my smallness in the vast scheme of the universe. I felt a deep sense of gratitude for my life, for a chance to be human, to live on this earth, to be witness to stars twinkling and chickens cackling and spiders weaving their webs and goats running in a green pasture. I have a truly amazing life.

Amazing to be sure, and a bit surreal at times. We have a buckling who has been a bit sickly this week. He wasn't responding to the treatment we've given him and was very anemic. He needed a blood transfusion, so I loaded him and his mama (so she could be his blood donor) up in my truck and headed into town to our vet. This is not the large animal country vet we normally use, where the sight of a goat would be all in a day's work. This is our small animal, pet vet, a friend who was kind enough to answer the phone at 8:30 this morning and agree to do something that's not part of her normal operation. I think it was the point at which I sat down in the waiting room with the buckling's mama that I realized, "My life is not normal." Did you catch that? I sat in a vet's office waiting room, milk goat in tow, while she stubbornly tried to graze the tile floor.

The little buckling is improving. If all goes well tonight, we'll pick him up tomorrow and wonder why on earth we saw fit to transfuse a goat. He'll grow up, perhaps live his days out on this farm. If we're lucky, he'll breed our milk goats and give us babies as beautiful as he is. Regardless, our lives will carry on, daily looking after the care of 20 goats, 47 sheep, five llamas, six dogs, five cats, and more chickens than you can shake a stick at. We'll manage to grow some vegetables, and we'll host people for dinner parties and treat them to fresh food grown right and cooked well. This is our lives, and it suits me just fine.