An essay on fifty-six days a farmer

Life is never dull here on the farm - the past week has been an especially good example of this. At times I am overwhelmed by the day's requirements - from how to keep specific plants healthy to how to move a hundreds-of-kilos-heavy dairy cow out into the pasture to how to employ a person to parenting an exuberant toddler to preparing nourishing meals for others to keeping up with the laundry to a flooding polytunnel to finding time to myself. To be at once so altogether busy, preoccupied, tired, excited, joyful, useful, stretched, solitary and crowded!

I am learning constantly, and challenged daily to focus my body, heart, mind and soul to what is important, healthy and constructive in those short twenty-four hours. I've been rethinking too this idea that happiness is derived from specific achievements of art/children/health/work/beauty/relationships
- rather a life well lived (that is happy and full) is a way of being in the day present, intentional, flexible, ordered, incarnational and at peace, regardless of what gets done, what clothes fit, how often my babe wakes in the night, which seedlings grow, if a sketch is drawn, or blog is published or email finally replied. I have a tendency also to worry, over analyse, critique, plan - and yet I don't want to be defined or remembered by what I planned or worried about. I want to be defined by what I got done and the character I cultivated through it.

A farmer does not simply farm.
A mother does not simply mother.
An artist does not simply paint or draw.
A wife does not simply love and obey.
A cook does not simply chop, stir and spoon.

But each and all require - endlessly - love, compassion, creative-thinking, mediation,  problem-solving, sacrifice, contemplation, rest, service, pleasure, kindness,  planning, spontaneity, humour, mistake, forgiveness, trial and harvest.

And so I am now
fifty-six days a farmer
and also a mother-bear
weed-puller, sky-gazer,
lover, adviser,
merry maker.
cook and tree-
tender, night soother,
student and subject,
egg cleaning,
delivery woman.
of yoghurt,
sower of seeds,
enfolded by Him,
and always
loved child.