At 12.21am this morning the sun shone directly on the equator and for a brief moment, night and day were in equal balance, well nearly anyway. In my experience, balance is an illusive and ephemeral concept, strived for but never quite attained. But every now and again, like today, it feels like I’m in the sweet spot and all is well with the world. This morning I woke to a perfect Spring day, sunny, 23 degrees with a slight breeze, yum! Its such a beautiful time of year on the farm. Everything is in bloom, the garlic is perking up after slow steady growth during winter, juicy turmeric and ginger is harvested and the kitchen garden is prepared and ready for new seedlings.
In the past I barely noticed these in between moments of alchemy. I had my eye firmly on the horizon. As soon as the mystery evaporated from whatever I was doing, it was time to move on. Anything in between felt mundane, mediocre, of no interest. Life on the land can be one of extremes but amongst the intensity there’s a gentleness to the daily rhythm that I’ve learned to appreciate.
Our decision to move here was also seen as a bit extreme. Neither of us had any farming experience. We had a veggie patch and we composted but we were both city folk with city jobs. We wanted a radical change in lifestyle, a total swing of the pendulum from city life to a farming life. After little deliberation, we jumped in with both feet, took on a lot of responsibility quickly and emotionally invested in the tree change dream we had constructed for ourselves. I couldn’t get my hands on enough books – permaculture, free range pigs, native beekeeping, you name it, we wanted to do it all. We literally hit the ground running as our first garlic crop was in before we settled on the property. Before we knew it, we were up to our armpits in farming projects. Our furry family grew just as quickly. At last count we have two dogs, six dairy goats a horse and a cat, with a kitten on the way. We’ve said our fair share of goodbyes too. To two goldfish Vincent and Vanessa, our first furry child, beautiful Sugar dog and two more horses (RIP Bonny and Snitzel). Life on the land can also be heavy on the heart.
I remember one morning early on in my goat milking days, I burst into tears covered in milk after Violet the goat had kicked over the milking bucket, again. I felt totally overwhelmed. As much as I loved the idea of hand milking my goats, I’d reached my limit. I couldn’t do it all. These experiences of being in over our heads have all played a part in our change of focus, towards finding that illusive balance between what can we manage while continuing to pay the mortgage and still having fun along the way. We’ve had to let go of our original ‘dream’ and give it some serious tweaking. After nearly five years of expanding we’re streamlining, de cluttering, letting go.
And after finally letting go of the dream, I am happier now than I’ve been for a number of years. By practicing some non attachment, ironically I’ve become more connected, I’m enjoying the reality and appreciating the sublime beauty that surrounds me. We’ve realised that we have nothing to prove to ourselves, or anyone else, and that failure is as much an essential part of the rich experience of living on the land as success.
With Spring in the air, I’ve also manifested some magic in my wardrobe this past week. In the words of Marie Kondo, if it no longer brought me joy, I thanked it for its service and moved it on. It was like dusting off the remnants of past lives. No more hanging on just in case. I was brutal. The need to metaphorically lighten the load has been building for quite a while. To get more in touch with my old backpacker self, to travel light, stay open to knew perspectives and approach life with a beginners mind. I have less and less energy now to maintain the extraneous stuff that doesn’t nourish me.
Since living on the land, the equinox and solstice have become opportunities to connect with the rhythm of nature and the cosmos, the rythmns that connect us all. For me, they’re also times for reflection, times to stop and take stock of where I’m at. Today I’m relishing in the gentleness of the in-between, holding steady, ready for the next swing of the pendulum.