Get dirty, have fun and grow more food with great gardening tips from real-life gardeners.
The first warm days of March have come. In with blustery rains, sunshine, one rainbow so far and of course my completely irrational euphoria. Despite telling myself that I am crazy and to stop it, I switch my internal control to 'spring.' A winter spent diligently, delightedly, reading my back issues of Mother and every homesteading memoir or how to book known to modern man; in two warmish weeks has given way to manic chronological list making. I am operating as if our McKinley expedition departs next week and I have the nagging feeling that I have missed some obvious key piece of the plan than success hinges on.
To be fair, planting seedings before the garden fence is up amounts to laying out a buffet for the deer. As I lay in semi sleep consciousness this morning berating the daylight savings system mentally and figuring out a way to start my year of regular running by facing the treadmill later in the week, fear crept in. Maybe it has been there ummmm, let me see, my entire life. Ok, a life of honesty and authenticity is what I work for every day so: I have been occupied with worry, doubt of my own worthiness and plagued by an inability, or at least unwillingness, to accept credit for my accomplishments for the length of my memory.
I choose to no longer agonize and dissect my childhood hurts and malformations, my years of miserable self destruction and its predictable results, but instead realize that for whatever reason my heart woke up one day. The spark of me never went out. It is the spark I recognize in my little boy, usually if I have been too harsh. I see that little light, asking for nothing but a little shelter from the wind and glowing steadily through all kinds of assaults. That unwavering warmth inside never leaving, just waiting patiently for a little tinder and recognition of its existence. My little spark refused to be damped. When I realized it was still glowing, all I know is my life turned into a quest to nurture that warmth and goodness. Clumsy at first, and often still, my actions and thoughts are part of a journey meant to shelter and celebrate that light. Not a candle lighting ceremony to celebrate the existence of me, but a kind ritual keeping of the flame to provide warmth and sanctuary to my community.
Living in harmony with and recognition of my spirit, values and without sacrificing those for a 'normal' life is what drives me. Now when a decision doesn't sit well, when money is tight(er) than usual and I look with panic at going back to work and utilizing daycare, when I semi wake in the weak March sunlight with unnamed weight pressing my chest down it's time to find a clear line of sight to my light. What is bothering me and why?
Funny how living your values and removing the distractions and energy drains of things not in line with your core values and mission makes the most profound self discovery almost commonplace. I lay there thinking 'Oh, I am worried about failing at growing our food, finishing all those projects, getting into financial trouble and losing it ALL because of no one but myself.' Well, better sort this out. I needed a mental slap, maybe gentler. Coffee. Coffee and a view of the ducks out being ducks. Maybe check in with Jenna Woginrich. Her blogs, though I am not as faithful a reader as I ought be, are the mix of practical advice, personal reflection and outright gumption in the face of failure that I craved. She reposted an older blog post in which she discussed failure. Not as something to avoid, but as in an inevitable part of dreaming big and going after it. She got me and was there for me.
I will fail, which isn't a failure if I am living this life. I made the list and have supplies. I will pick up side jobs to buy lumber and build a tiny savings. I will dig the flower beds and milk that future goat. I will order the damn chickens and bees before they are no longer available. I will not drag my feet to the point that failure is imminent. I am marching out, hoe in hand, to make this land ours. If and when I fail, it will not be for lack of trying. I will not cower indoors, making lists and plans, while my orchard dies off.
I know without a second thought this homestead is our place. I will walk barefoot among my fruit trees guided by the familiar feeling as an old woman. What I won't do is be an anchor around the neck of the world. Living a life that does not reflect my values, spending a life trying to buy happiness and acceptance rather than actively showing kindness to humans and making the planet a better place for all, pushing down externally generated self loathing in some pointless race to public superficial arbitrary 'success' is no life at all. Seed starting starts today, the chickens and bees are coming. Hello life, I am jumping in and promise only to be me, clumsy crying fighting passionate loving laughing bungling compassionate digging working authentically me. Thanks for having me, is it ok if I bring my chickens?