These days, the air around the farm is crisp and cool. It smells like ripe apples and woodsmoke.
Before I started buying houses and tearing them apart, I spent four years living in places that didn’t have proper seasons and even the year I spent on the beaches of Hawai’i doesn’t compare to the simple pleasure of experiencing Summer fade slowly into Fall.
And by “fade slowly” I mean that one day you’re sweating your ass off with record high temps and humidity, and the next morning you walk outside with your hair wet and it turns into little icicles that make a cheerful jingling noise around your head while your eyeballs freeze.
So it’s true that, objectively, I love the changing of the seasons. But it’s also true that as the daylight begins to fade, and the temperatures hover just a hair over freezing at night, I am filled with a constant low-grade panic brought on by Things That Are Not Done.
The chicken coop, the pasture fence, mowing the back four, fall planting. Finding my drivers license, taxes, laundry, the dishes. Finishing the master bath, laying flooring, installing light fixtures, the kitchen. This is the litany of projects and chores that runs through my head, a constant loop of things I should be doing. I used to fool myself into thinking, “when these five things are done…” as if I would one day screw in the last light fixture and all of the sudden there would be no more projects.
I mean, what would be the point of life without projects?
I like the projects. I like the pressure to get them done. I have not once, in the last four or five years, felt like I was on top of things, and that’s pretty much a conscious choice. No one forces me to get donkeys or chickens, to buy old farm houses, or to tear out my kitchen. (I have not, in fact, torn out my kitchen. I have, in fact, gotten lots of donkey hugs.)
I am not “put upon” by the universe, I am blessed. And sometimes those blessings require a shit-load of work. It’s not uncommon for me to get caught-up in that work. To be convinced the world will end if I take a weekend to hang out with some friends instead of building a chicken coop.
But life always finds a way to stop me in my tracks and take a deep breath to appreciate what I have.
To be grateful for this crazy life I choose to lead. Coop or no coop, life goes on. New projects replace old ones (or, fine, unfinished ones.) There is always work. There will always be more to do.
But there are also, always, moments of awe.