Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Under Glass Without Release

All things around this homestead are in a state of suspended animation. The garden has paused its growing and, unless you look very closely at the flowers that remain, you can hardly tell they are still living. They look so lifeless and limp in the hard, clay soil. On some plants the leaves have tinted themselves the hue of sour lemons after being water-logged by our continual rains. It's hardly consolation, but we're not alone in our struggle by any means. Loans have just been made available to farmers in my county and several around us to cope with their losses as fields lay fallow and barren. Knee high corn? Not this year in most places, folks, but if we're talking weeds, perhaps. Everything but our crops seemed to germinate once the rains subsided.

Building the chicken coop is also stalled again for the moment, although now there are four walls, openings for windows and a door frame. As a semi-private hiding place with a great view of the stars, it is perfect, but otherwise it needs a roof and a few other things before it's fit to house hens. So far the plan is to focus some effort there this coming weekend, but, as with the garden, we are at the mercy of time and others so we can simply do nothing but wait.

Meanwhile, most of my writing has been for paying clients instead of patiently waiting blog friends. I've not really been focusing on my own blog for lack of progress to report and too few hours in my harried days. In my few moments between ghostwriting blog posts, I'm pouring my soul into marketing what seems to me to be my singular talent, one that borders on obsession at times. Putting pen to paper or fingers to keys and giving birth to ideas, phrase by phrase, is all I can imagine doing joyfully as work, and so I find myself driven to realize that dream. Again, although my business is steadily increasing, it seems like just another dream suspended as if under glass, so close my eyes can take in every minute detail and commit them to memory, but too far away to touch. It's this same proximity mostly in all these half-realized dreams that's driving me nearer to madness, the anticipation and frustration mounting like being teased ceaselessly by a lover without release.

Instead of creating food from soil or worlds with my pen, necessity drags me back to days filled with agonizing solitude in my retail job. While I keep hunting for something I could turn into a career and nurturing my home-based business, I still need a way to provide for those who depend on me, so five days a week I sit alone and in silence at work and wait for something to happen. It's overwhelming and depressing at times, but doing nothing is not a viable option, so I simply try and do more. There's little room for self pity when you're aiming for progress.

Instead, I keep trying to remind myself that, much like life, building this homestead's a process, and not an end in itself. I can't will it to happen any faster on my own. Truth be told, there really IS no destination, just a series of stops and starts in the endless circle of life. Instead of fighting the current, I need to simply float sometimes like waves on the ocean, and not wish away the minutes. This is difficult to do without tremendous focus (a skill I'm pretty sure at the moment I lack), because all my farming mentors are years ahead of me it seems, and I see where they are and grow impatient that I seem so far behind.

One day we'll be closer and those folks will likely be farther ahead still, waving at me from the rearview mirror. Or perhaps fate may have other plans I just can't see now. That's just the mystery and seduction of life. For today, all we can do is pause, take it in and breathe. Some days that's all there is to do.


  1. A really wonderful post, Heather....and yes, some days all we can do is breathe! That is both the beauty and heartache of the homestead way of life....willing it different won't make it so.
    And I think you are so right not to will away the moments.

    Small steps are still steps...keep taking them! (and I suggest you bust into song, a~la Broadway: "The sun will come out....tomorrow!") It won't change anything, but it sure makes you feel better to belt one out!


  2. Thanks for your kindness Karen~ but I don't know the words. Guess I'll have to substitute my Adele and Iron and Wine tunes instead. :)