How I’ve missed you. Last I posted, I wrote about how we can do hard things. Since then, well, I’ve mostly been doing those hard things. Under my breath, every day, “I can do hard things…I can do hard things…I can do hard things.” And guys? It’s getting easier. (My mother-in-law bought me a print, just to remind me; I hung it on the wall in my bedroom. (It’s an Etsy thing; you can find the print here if you like.) It’s one of the first things I see when I wake up and one of the last things I see before I go to bed. And I think it helps.)
Have you ever been at a spot in your life where you can literally feel things transition around you? The winds shift, and things change, and you have to learn to adapt or you get left behind.
In the past few weeks on the ranch, I’ve felt the shift as seasons transition from summer to autumn. A few leaves have already fallen, but most are holding tight, ablaze in a sea of colors that remind us how beautiful transitions can be. Temperatures are dropping at night, and high and low temps easily vary by more than 20 degrees over the course of the day. The shift in seasons, slow at first then all at once, seems an apt metaphor for my life right now. Jeremiah’s business keeps him on the road almost constantly these days as he shoes horses and attends conventions and clinics, sometimes student, sometimes speaker. He’s gone more than he’s here at the moment, and I’m convinced that isn’t going to change.
Our relationship dynamic is shifting like the seasons, adapting to our new reality.
My relationship with with the farm is changing too. I’m learning to take care of things, not just the day-in and day-out, but all of it. This almost farmgirl is taking farmgirl lessons all over again with a long list of things to learn. Mostly it has to do with equipment, the only area of the farm that was completely Jeremiah’s domain up until this point. In my husband’s absence, my dad, a former farmboy himself, is teaching me. A few weeks ago, he taught me to use our zero turn mower, a necessity as every stitch of grass on the property was overgrown.
It was slow at first, but now I’ve got a handle on it. With my dad’s help, we mowed about half of the property that first evening. Next on the list is our skid-steer…and a weed wacker. (Side note – I’m really not sure how I made it nearly thirty years on this planet without learning to use a weed wacker.) More learning is coming down the line. The farm will need to be winterized soon. And the snow plow isn’t too far away. The mower was just the first step of many I will need to take.
I’ve been having a lot of talks with myself as I work through these new things. Pep talks mostly, reminding myself that I had a Master’s degree before the age of twenty-three, that I can do hard things, and that a lawn mower (skid steer, snow plow, etc), even one my husband thinks is too much for me to handle, will not be a problem.
My relationship with myself is changing too. When you share your everyday life with someone, you sort of take care of each other and naturally fill in where the other one lacks. I would make sure Jeremiah ate something other than Doritos and candy bars. He made sure I occasionally took some time for myself, or he lightened my load by doing morning chores by himself before I woke up. Without that balancing force, I’m re-learning how to take care of myself. For the first part of the summer, I was failing abysmally at this. All my time and energy was devoted to work and the farm…or worrying about work and the farm, and I was constantly exhausted.
But it’s getting better.
I’m relearning to let my soul rest in this place and re-charge. This evening, I sat in the grass with one of the barn kitties while the horses’ water trough filled from the hose. She climbed into my lap and cuddled. I leaned back against my elbows and allowed myself the luxury of doing nothing. (Guys, there is something magical about sitting on the ground…maybe something about the dirt inviting you to grow roots.) Sure there were stalls to clean and buckets to fill, but there will always be such things, and, like most things, they could wait another ten minutes. (I could write a whole post about how our culture has lied to us about the need to always be doing and how it leads us to fill time with cellphones and television to trick us into pretending productivity…but I will spare you for now and simply encourage you to occasionally sit and breath with no other object.)
There is a chill in the air when I wake up now. Morning chores require a sweatshirt. Soon enough, I’ll be plugging in water buckets and preparing to deal with snow. I’m going to try to be ready for it when the cold settles in, but until then, I’m going to enjoy the transition itself, reveling in the perfect fall weather, the leaves that can challenge any flower, and the peace that only comes from sitting with the animals, knowing that my responsibilities will wait just a little while longer.