Thursday, September 13, 2012

The simple life?


Years ago I craved a more simple life, I dreamed of living on a farm far away from “the rat race”. Because up until 11 years ago I had never even been on a farm, in my mind farm life went a little like this: I would wake at dawn to a roosters crow get out of bed , have a big yawny stretch and come into the kitchen where a simple breakfast of biscuits, eggs, coffee and orange juice was waiting for me.  Kiss the wife and head out to the field. Later I’ll sit down to a county lunch go back out and work and come in to dinner, smelling like hard work, sweat and Stetson cologne. Relax with a good book, maybe a board game or cards or maybe just listen to an old timey radio show. Or maybe I’ll have a few to many swigs off the ol’ moonshine beat the wife a little and belittle the children. I digress… 

The simple life called to me like it does everyone who finds themselves overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with the demands of their life, whatever that may look like. My life 11 years ago was complicated by a new relationship, the residue of a bad break up of the old one, an aging parent and a struggling business. I had formed new friendships through the farmers market and after a visit to a friend’s farm I knew that was the life for me. One unfettered by the drama of a city girl. Visiting this farm was like a dream. I wanted what these folks had, bad. So I did the things that would take me there eventually.

Here is something I learned; folks this aint simple, there is not a tiny little bit of working a farm that is simple.  I am surprised sometimes of how much attention and focus is required to really get things done. When bad things happen and they sometimes do I can always link it back to lack of attention. When you look out at something you are not just looking at the place your eyeballs are pointed you’re looking at the whole canvas, looking for clues, things out of order. You don’t just look down or look up you look everywhere. Your brain is constantly measuring risk, and danger and when your brain says it ok then its ok. You move on. Auto pilot is forbidden, when auto pilot is engaged foot goes in milk bucket, folks get run over by tractor, drip tape gets cut up by hoe, an animal dies, water troughs runnith over and cheese gets fed to the chickens. Take my word for it this I know. Oh, I’ve never run over anyone.

So, if I were to talk to myself ten years ago, I wouldn’t say my life is simple by any stretch of the imagination, I would explain;  I don’t have a boss chasing me around or co-workers to gossip about, traffic, computer screens, or bad coffee, but …..It’s tremendously difficult.  It’s the most gratifying work I’ve ever done. I’m constantly being tested and challenged. I’m always learning something, usually from making mistakes. I would say for me this is an authentic life one that is best suited for my nature. It’s not for everyone but I have found a place where I feel I fit.  But “simple”?  no.  Beautiful, gratifying, complicated, profound? yes. The illusion is preferable to us all as window dressing but what’s behind and with-in lie’s the real prize.  

I’ve come to understand the truth of the matter is the “rat” race is a state of mind. So is the simple life. These are all ways of thinking, not necessarily by default. Ten years ago life was complicated. It’s complicated now but my way of thinking has changed in epic proportions. I still struggle, cry and feel sorry for myself when I feel things haven’t gone my way. The difference is I don’t feel like a victim anymore, I can always trace it back to me. 

There has been times when I have regretted my decision of moving to Oklahoma giving up a life I had worked very hard for, and times I feel like it was the best decision I have ever made. Today has been the later. I'm excited about the work I'll be doing today even though I know I will struggle. I'm at peace. 

1 comment:

Marie Wreath said...

Hi there! I feel a bit unqualified commenting here, because the "farming" I do is strictly hobby related, not for my livelihood. So there is a vast difference between us already. But I still identify with so much of what you have said. What appears to be idyllic is just the finished product... Guests rarely see the muddy feet, underclothes filled with hay, unglamourous EVERYTHING, and heartbreak when an animal dies. Nor do they see photos of plants that don't produce, because who takes those photos? LOL Anyway, thanks for writing this. And I am so glad you are finding peace and satisfaction with your life change!!