A bit of big-for-me news: Today was my first day on the farm as a full-time farmer. Farmhand. Person who gets to look at sheep all day. On Thursday, after I clocked out from my last day at my former for realz job, I wrote the following to some friends:
“I’ve punched my last timecard. As of 4:09 pm today, I am officially a full-time farmer. This next chapter will be written in the language of the land: ancient mountains worn down into hard hills, the blush of broom sedge in snow, the soft hand of sheep’s wool, and the scent of elderflowers after it rains. This next chapter will be written with calloused hands and a calm heart. And with many, many thanks to the spirits.”
Those words echoed in my head all day today. They were true when I wrote them, as the brave words of the earnest and hopeful often are. And after cutting exactly 600 sections of wire for a fencing project today, my hands were most definitely calloused—but my heart was anything but calm. It beat in my chest soft and unsure like a baby bird. Yet also light, despite the weight of the task we’ve taken on. That surprised me. Although now as I contemplate this feeling, I think that must be the blessing of knowing that you are doing the right thing–even when you don’t know what you’re doing.
When you are certain of the direction, but uncertain of the path, the only way to go is forward. And if you never find the path, you at least had a very interesting walk, right?
This is the approach I took today. When it seemed to much, I held that baby bird up in my hands and showed it the view and said, This isn’t going anywhere. It has been here for a billion years without you. It will be here for a billion more without you. Be here now, and make it count. Work slowly, slowly. There is time to figure this all out. So the day went, with me figuring things out slowly, slowly; and slowly, slowly my heart began to calm, to take in the view, and to beat steady and true. And a little bit wilder than before.
Now that my days are governed by things other than punching in clocks, look for more about life on the farm and also about dyeing, as the dyepots are soon to be brought out of storage. That is all for now. You will soon have your fill of fence-building and compost-making and sheep-herding and tractor-repairing and garden-planting and yarn-dyeing. Ah, who are we kidding? There is never enough yarn dyeing.
I’ve been waiting years for this day. And now, here we are. Boots on, sleeves up. Woot!