I have decided to change my tack on blog writing. I have to say that I personally have become some tired of listening to myself for many months. Where I used to be able to find gratitude, solutions, connections, and satisfaction, I am no longer inspired by what I am writing. Time for a shift.
I began to write this blog at the end of November last year. A full season of vegetable and meat growing was finally behind us. Having my entire headspace for farming was still new and fresh to me. All of my activities on the farm before that year were done with an infant on my hip, before heading off on my long trek to my job in the city, amidst the chaos of too many commitments. The three days leading up to our wedding day, we planted 10,000 strawberry plants. I often packaged vegetables or conversed with customers at the farmers’ market with a baby in a backpack.
Our life here was only ever one foot in and one foot out of farming. To give farming a real chance, I needed to see what it looked like with both feet in. With subsidized day care for my children (thank you, socialist state of Quebec), I was able to work on the farm and still have child care with a farmer’s wage. The opportunity was a true gift.
But here are two things I have learned. One is that there is not just one way to farm. When others would tell us how it was going to be, it was important to remember that the world (of farming and beyond) is ever changing and it doesn’t hurt to try a new way. The other is that there is only one way to farm. With passion.
The passion is what feeds you when your crop fails or an animal needs help giving birth on a cold winter night. The passion is what keeps the joy alive. The passion is what gives you energy to do the work every day, day in and day out. The passion is what brightens your soul and tells you that you are achieving your life’s work.
The day your passion for the work (endless, relentless, demanding, often unrewarded work) subsides, there is nothing left to do but get out. If you don’t get out it will consume you like a cancer and leave you broke, depressed and unfulfilled.
Fortunately, I still have a great desire to do many things with this piece of land that we own. Over the past two years I have learned which of these things I have passion for, and which I most definitely do not. I have also learned that my husband does not share the same passions as I do. This is fantastic news simply because we both like to keep to ourselves and do our own thing. Further, our interests are 100% compatible and complementary. We are blessed.
Now that I feel I have finally defined my role on the farm, after many years of defending or clarifying myself, I feel it is time to move on from writing about it. Where writing once served to frame all of the potential directions a woman in my position could go, I now find myself wanting to live more intentionally in the present. I wish to give up the search for my inner Farmer’s Wife.
I do not believe it is necessary any longer to justify the worth of what I do on this farm. I do not feel the need to defend the value of my accomplishments. I have done what was right for me in each moment and for that reason alone, it was always enough.
Acceptance. Forgiveness. Surrender. Kindness.
A lady can learn a lot by employing these deeds on herself. Attach them to her childrearing, money-earning, art-doing, homemaking, food growing, rest-taking, project-making, dog-walking, friend-enhancing…and all of the rest of it. This is the key to a woman’s sanity.
I have known lost sanity. I have had unfathomable (to me anyway) clarity. I have been to the city and back. I have longed for children of my own, and I have silently longed for brief moments that I could have my life back without them. I have coveted what other women have. I have felt unworthy, yet other times proud.
All I really ever wanted to do was create something that was meaningful to me. I don’t know where I signed up for the simultaneous self-beatings that came along with it. Farming for me has been a mixed bag of feeling never good enough and feeling on top of this big ol’ world.
But now I wish for the beatings to stop. I shall put down the whip. I shall move towards something lighter. I shall focus on capturing beauty. I shall put down the bone when the bone has been chewed for too long. I shall work towards a path, a vision, a method, and ideas that enrich my life. I shall spend more time feeling gratitude.
A friend of mine recently told me of her regular habit of building vision boards. In my current scrapbooking obsession (I actually haven’t started yet, I’m still too intimidated), I’ve decided to make visual representations of the life that I wish to live. From what I gather, you ought to be quite careful what you wish for when you do this. What you dream will materialize before you know it! Much of the vision book will simply be a story about the life I am already living. A lot of it will involve wiping away the anger or resentment from years past. Most of it will be about building something wonderful for the future.
In November, a new blog called Inspiration Station will begin. In it I hope to share my ideas for making a ‘scrapbook’ of ways to build a better life. In it, I hope to learn how women everywhere are making this happen in the face of their daily challenges (be they farming or clerking). I’ll keep you posted on where to go to find me.
It’s gonna be an incredible journey. Yet in a world where everything moves too quickly, I’m hoping it will be an oasis. I want to build a place to disembark from the hectic train of our lives and stop for some nourishment for the soul.
An Inspiration Station.