Come with me as I learn a new, deeply meaningful skill set from scratch: That Farm Thing. From the removal of rocks, to rivalries with plant-stealing rabbits, to the dream of a self-sustaining homestead. There will be hilarity and humility. Come laugh with me as I stumble onward and I’ll share what I learn with you!
Have you ever caught a glimpse of something in the far reaches of your vision, but each time you turn to look, it eludes you again and is gone in an instant?
This sensation, somewhere between physical and imaginary, echoes the intangible pull of seeking.
I have been seeking for so long. I have always sensed that upon finding That One Thing, I would be able to collapse into the relief of having found “It.” It certainly wasn’t This. I’d know if it were, that pull wouldn’t still nag at me if it were.
“It” ~ was always a farm.
I should have known. The evidence has tugged at the hem of my sleeve my entire life. I can snatch the names of plants and insects from thin air but can neither retain nor relish in a television script. I never sleep more deeply than inside a meager tent, just one thin layer between the forest and myself. I am never more alive than when biting into summer’s first tomato, grown with my own hands.
However, I gave no power to those quiet, humble preoccupations. The “need” to walk the conventional road clouded any curiosity I may have held toward those frivolous instincts. I fought them for all of my adult life, always searching.
April 30, 2016
A troubled drive home, a two-line email and one bold click sent me careening off a cliff into a new life that was completely unforeseen. Something in me evolved on that day’s commute, and I knew I would never return to my professional position. Uncelebrated and morally challenged, I succumbed to the crushing truth that the culmination of years of work had been painfully wasted.
So I walked away. I had no plan for Monday, and frankly cared little about the consequences of my resignation. I met friends for happy hour, cried, and tried to shake the regret of having lived an optical illusion for more than ten years. Cheers to the job changed my life.
One year later, we bought a farm.
During a moment in time when That One Thing was exhausted from chasing me, from waving banners and shouting at me with all of its might, I quit my job. I curled up in a tiny ball and did not move. I sat very still for a long time. I slept like my life depended on it. When I woke up, I looked around with hazy eyes into the quiet. In this instant something in me… heard it. A thin, tired, critical plea, hardly audible. Consciously I had no cognizance of what had occurred, however I decided without intention that remarkable day that I might enjoy a gardening class.
I cannot fully explain the metamorphosis that occurred during the first hour I spent on the farm, but it was like standing in front of my childhood home for the first time in 10 years. The farm smiled at me, benevolent and patient, and welcomed me home.
I had been noisily consumed with finding That One Thing, and It was graciously waiting for me to quiet myself and clear the path.
Now a year later, I own one quarter-acre of rocky, neglected dirt. (Dirt that is filled with promise, she says enthusiastically…?) I am the photographer and marketer for Urban Plantations, a company that builds organic gardens and farms, and no longer a mere cog in the wheel. My vision both personally and professionally is to join efforts with change-makers and regenerate the land, growing local nutrient-rich food.
The only mountain left on my hand-drawn map is this:
I don’t actually know how to grow food.
I have built a vibrant professional resume that boasts years of careful cultivation. I have honed my expertise in business and management endeavors, and in visual, photographic, and creative projects. Not eager to cast these years into the wind, I have procured a position that allows me to celebrate those past experiences through work that matters to me.
The only thing I am sure of in this new beginning is that the fleeting shadows are gone from my periphery, and I’m holding the only map I need.
Let the adventure begin.