Wednesday, July 27, 2011
My First Open Letter to the Universe
Dear Universe (or God or whatever you go by these days),
This is just a note to share with you know a few things I discovered this morning during my sweaty hour of meditation while pulling weeds in my garden. Please bear with me on the length and the fact that, most likely, this will be the most rambling, poorly connected post ever. I have a few things to say and, at the moment at least, they seem pretty damned important to get off my chest.
I want you to know, first and foremost, that the irony of events you've bestowed upon me over the course of this year so far are not lost on me. I can see quite clearly the lessons you intended for me in these things, from the way I reacted to a shoplifter's mental illness to the patience required of me in chicken coop building, all the way through to the futility of the act I was engaged in this morning as these things occurred to me. I get it. I've been an ass.
I realize also now the irony in the concept of homesteading itself, which is something I turned to as an effort to honor my heritage and slow the pace of my life in this hectic world that seems hell-bent on planned obsolescence, exponential growth, and repeated manic episodes of materialistic consumerism and excess. I realized, I think, early on, that those were values I wanted no part of and, instead, I wanted to reconnect with the very essence of life by producing my own food and clothing myself to the extent I am able here on these 2.5 acres with my immediate family. I had thought this would allow me a less expensive, slower, more thoughtful and deliberate pace of life, and I can see now that was an assumption made in error. If anything, homesteading, while rewarding, has cost me more in terms of time and money than I can ever hope to recapture during my lifetime. It has not, in any way, done anything to remedy the hectic pace of my life. Rather, it has increased it for both my husband and I, as each of us tries to fit in the chores of this lifestyle around the necessary paid employment it takes to buy all the things that have become obvious necessities as we transition to life in the country, such as chicken yards and tomato stakes.
In moving to a place where I had hoped that I could spend more time relaxing in nature, it seems I do less of that than ever and am more often engaged in a seemingly futile struggle to ward off the invasion of various insects and plants I hadn't intended to co-exist with so intimately. In just the last week alone, I have spent more hours battling ants and pulling out plants that I am sure serve some purpose I will discover at a later time from my garden, only to have them both reappear as soon as I drop my guard. I would like to thank you for the continual test of both my patience and my memory simultaneously. Weeding my garden this morning was an excellent reminder that all of life is but a grand experiment, the key to which is being able to recall what did not work long enough to avoid repeating it in the future. Next year, come hell or high water, there will be raised beds here or I will be planting directly through mulch. This much I am sure of.
Not only do I find myself with fewer hours I can devote directly to relaxation, but I find myself, being all the way out here and most often alone, more prone to bouts of madness and melancholy. I have also discovered myself in the same position I once faulted another for, treating her coldly and without compassion. If I weren't certain there would be repercussions I might not recover from (and the victim as well), I'd certainly apologize right now and tell her I understand, finally, her suffering and am sorry if I had any part in aggravating it. From this point forward, I promise I will strive to be more compassionate towards others and work towards a career that can grant me more control over this aspect of my integrity.
I need to thank you too for the fresh perspective you've given me in regards to money and completion of projects, the two of which there never seems to be enough of. The chicken coop, in particular, is a very raw reminder of this that I can see from nearly every point in my yard. What began as a cost-saving and eco-friendly reuse of materials has morphed into a project costing several hundred dollars that I could have spent on a pre-built coop and had laying hens here months ago. However, if I had done that, I'd be missing some very precious moments spent working with my family toward a common goal and opportunities for both some much needed motivation and reflection.
There is not only irony here amongst these weeds, there is often contrast, a yin and yang I often overlook in my day-to-day existence. I will try to be more mindful in the future and more appreciative that what once was a constant rush and blur of activity can suddenly and without warning come to nearly a complete stop. I will try to find peace and meaning in these moments, no matter how frustrating they may be.
So thanks, Universe, for these varied and important lessons. Thanks for the chance to pursue my dreams and a lifestyle I wouldn't trade for all the money in the world. Tomorrow when I am out weeding my little patch of earth, I'll smile at the under-ripe tomatoes and know it's all ultimately worthwhile, even if I scream and cuss and fight life as it happens day to day.
Posted by Heather at 12:11 PM