Something you miss.
Ironically the thing that immediately came to mind is something that I’m not sure I would ever choose to do again – farming. The thought creates inner turmoil, for the entire experience was an intricate tapestry of complex emotion. The memory of joy and heartbreak are so interlaced that it’s nearly impossible to see the individual threads.
Farming offered me some of the most remarkable and profoundly moving moments of my life. However, setting aside the personal angst of a lousy marriage (which is draining enough on its own), the experience was soured because I didn’t have an equal partner. I poured everything I was into the farm’s success. I literally gave my blood, sweat and tears; I worked myself to exhaustion and compromised both my physical and emotional well-being. It was beyond disheartening when my efforts and ideas were dismissed and unappreciated, particularly by someone who contributed part-time at best.
I gave everything of myself and received absolutely nothing from the one place I was looking for validation. It’s pretty hard to disassociate that feeling from the experience.
Obviously, I don’t miss any of that.
What I do miss is all the simple beauty that comes with living intimately alongside the cycle of nature. The tentative promise of spring, the vibrant lushness of summer, the grateful bounty of autumn, the peaceful slumber of winter. I miss the humid scent of potting soil in my greenhouse and the excitement of seeing thousands of isty-bitsy seedlings noticeably growing, day by day. I miss covering the dining room table with hundreds of seed packages and feeling unaccountably wealthy.
I miss the overwhelmingly intense feelings of joy, relief, pride, and gratitude when the limp form of a lamb takes its first breath after a difficult birth. I miss being humbled as I sheltered beneath a maple tree that had stood steadfast over 200 summers while watching newborn goats frolic on green pasture. I miss the unexpected treasures of everyday life – fluffy day-old chicks, the first ripe tomato, a wild tom turkey strutting for my hens, the treasure hunt of digging potatoes, watching a kestrel teaching her fledglings to fly.
Most of all I miss the sense of stewardship. That I was taking an active part in caring for a tiny corner of the earth.
No. I don’t think I have it in me to “farm” again. However, someday there may be a secluded cottage in my future… I envision madcap, riotous gardens – flowers, herbs, and foodstuffs and an eclectic collection of critters to keep me company. If I’m lucky, the neighborhood children will start rumors that I’m a kitchen witch. They might not even be wrong.