Wednesday, May 6, 2015


Since last fall, things here have been... how to put it?  Things have been life changing.

There has been a lot of adjusting, hope, and frustration.  Worry, despair and small comforts.  Like a warm, sunny day in the middle of winter, a lot of little things bring joy.  The arrangement of beautiful  seedlings sprouting through the soil, the calmness that daily toiling brings.  These things inspire.

But still... it's been a challenge and I find I've needed a lot of time to myself in order to recover.  Emotionally and physically, I feel used up.  Like a field that's been asked too long to grow crops, I need time to be fallow.  To let weeds grow and not feel the pressures of producing in the world.  A fallow state of being is restorative.  The more I live, the more I feel that our culture has lost the acceptance of fallow state - both for land and for people.  Acknowledging and fully accepting that people need fallow time, makes the restoration smoother.  But forcing back on track before the recovery is complete, leads to future fragility.

So that's what I've been doing lately.  The drama of people and events has been much calmer since the winter solstice, so I've had time to be fallow.  I concentrate on daily toil - wake up, feed chickens, compliment sheep, tend the garden, prepare simple but beautiful foods.  Focus on small joys, like a burning red sunset or the way the light and shadows play against the surface of the water as it is stirred by the wind.

I've also fallen out of step with the world of people - even more so than I was before.  I don't know if this is will end well, as humans are social creatures and we need people for emotional and physical support.  But it is as it is, and it will change with time as I emerge from my fallow state.

Already, I don't go to the movies and I haven't eaten out in almost 15 years (except at select places where I know the cooks can accommodate my diet).  Since New Years, we don't have cable TV and I'm hardly ever on the internet these days.  I'm much more interested in spending my time doing things than dreaming of doing things.  My sensitivity to ink and paper has lessened, and with it my use of the library has grown with great vigor.  When I do read, it's usually books rather than webpages.  I've even taken to eating meals at the dining table - when I can find space between the pile of books on cooking and the pile of books about growing food for cooking.

What this fails to cultivate is the skill to talk to others.  No smartphone, no apps, no movies, no tv shows, no restaurants, no multiplayer video games - no one's interested in my latest adventure with pulling new life out of a sheep's lambhole, or my latest squash breeding plans, or exciting new recipe conversion where I took a traditional Italian chickpea pasta stew and made it in a pressure cooker in under 20 min instead of the usual 4 hours.

What's there to talk about with people?  I don't understand half of what they say, and I suspect they feel the same about me.  I don't share a common frame of reference with most people.  Sometimes that makes me glad.  The world is worrying me - or more to the point, the values of the people in our culture scares the pants off me.  I don't know where I fit.

But all that's bla... boring.  Uninspiring.

If you have read this far, what you are really interested in is if I'll be keeping my blogs going.

The answer is that I don't know.

Often I think that the internet is overfilled.  Like crops overgrown with weeds and cannot get enough light or nutrients to produce a harvest.  Sometimes weeds can restore a field, other times they are damaging, choking out the plants that nourish us.  Only the few plants on the edge of the field, where they have space to spread and soak up sunlight - only those plants do any good.  What good could I possibly add to this overcrowded internet?

Then again, I also enjoy sharing things that inspire and enlighten me.  The internet is always willing to soak up my contribution.  Like tossing a penny in the fountain - everyone does it, and one penny more or less makes no difference.  Yet, we still reach into our pocket for a coin to cast into the water.