“Is your farm as peaceful and beautiful as it looks and sounds in your writing?” It’s a question that both G and I get from time to time since we made the move from Meridian to the family farm.
The answer is both yes and no. The farm certainly fits the Merriam-Webster definition of “idyllic” as it is pleasing and picturesque in its natural simplicity. I have snapped countless photos of the sunrises, sunsets, clouds, trees and wildlife in our relatively brief time here as full-time residents, more than enough to document and establish “idyllic” status.
If our dogs (and cats) could talk, they could most certainly attest to this description as well. Romping and running freely outside is now a daily activity for them. Our time outside, like theirs, has seen a dramatic increase, and as a result, our needs have become more representative of that inclination.
For instance, fences, gates, a barn, chickens and ducks are currently high on the priority list. G would add horses, goats and a donkey to the list, and she would also tell you that I am moving far too slowly toward the acquisition of all these critters, as thus far we have only added a blue tick beagle named Birdie to our brood.
In addition to our increased time outside, our reading has increased exponentially with a mirrored decrease in time spent watching television. When we moved, we decided that we didn’t need cable or satellite, and I haven’t missed it one iota. We do utilize a few streaming services for movies, documentaries, etc., so it’s not as if we’re living off the grid; however, that idea does hold some appeal for me.
In her book “Braiding Sweetgrass,” author Robin Wall Kimmerer writes, “A place becomes a home when it sustains you, when it feeds you in body as well as spirit.” This statement makes me lean heavily toward “yes” as the answer to the earlier question, as this place truly has fed both our bodies and our spirits.
If I am honest, the less-than-idyllic times have come, for the most part, as a direct result of my shortcomings. I told G this summer that it seemed there weren’t as many projects, and the grass didn’t seem to grow as fast when I was running up from Meridian on the weekends to tend to things.
However, I remind myself that it was during those weekend jaunts that I always thought about how great it would be if the farm were home. Now, most often, the problem is that it seems there is never enough time to get everything done. As a result, I often find myself rushing to finish the task at hand rather than living in and enjoying the moment.
It seems that no matter how idyllic the backdrop of your life, stress is stress, even when it is self-imposed stress. To that point, Kimmerer also notes in her book that “we have to unlearn hurrying.” I had to remind myself of that lesson this past Saturday.
I had rushed around that morning trying to beat a rainstorm while helping G and her mother clean out a storage unit. In my mind, the clock was ticking as I needed to plant food plots and finish mowing that day as well.
Driving out of the woods after planting food plots Saturday afternoon, I finally slowed down enough to take in the majesty that surrounded me. Nature’s palette was on full display in the small meadow nearby, a yellow sea of goldenrod interspersed with the brilliant purples of ironweed and wildflowers.
As I sat there admiring the beauty of the meadow, the realization hit me that in all my scurrying about as steward and caretaker, this little section of the world had done just fine without me, and that was reassuring, pleasing and, most of all, humbling.
I was reminded of Matthew 6:28-29. “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”
It was also clear to me that these colors, these connections were not random. They were, in fact, well-ordered, and that, in the words of Kimmerer is, “Why the most ordinary scrap of meadow can rock us back on our heels in awe.”
Take time this week to marvel at the beauty of the world that surrounds you, and until next time, I look forward to seeing you out there in our great outdoors.
Email outdoors columnist Brad Dye at email@example.com.