On My Belly in the Dirt
I sat on the cement floor of my mudroom (somewhere around 37 degrees) and just started crying. You can't help these things, sometimes. I was second guessing every choice I had made over the past year. If I had not left Orvis I would have more money. I would have health insurance. I'd still have my 401k. And besides all those financial things I would be in a warm that I wasn't paying to heat, place surrounded by people who made me laugh. Instead I was broke and cold, crying on cement. I was nearly out of firewood, almost out of hay for the animals, and probably out of oil. I was a mess, trying to figure out how to thaw pipes when I couldn't even thaw out my own head.
I started thinking about all the things I was supposed to be doing instead of crying on the floor and felt instantly guilty. I had design work, writing, and work outs planned. I had errands in town, chores outside, and people to call. The NOFA conference was this weekend in Saratoga and so was the Draft Horse CLub's winter sleigh ride - both of which I wanted to attend but both required time and cash I didn't have. So I was just feeling stuck.
It's at these moments when you either keep crying or start working.
So I started working. I had problems to fix. I either could call a plumber and start trying to fix them myself or I could keep crying on my cold butt. I stood up, and I got to work. And I think it was becoming a farmer who switched that ability inside me. When you take care of something or someone else, you can not dissolve into any sort of negativity long. It is not only pointless, it is negligent. My goats and dogs could care less about my relationship history or arguments with my family. All they know is that hay should be here by now and the water heater is on the fritz. So I threw myself into work, into repairs, into chores and started calling plumbers. If I couldn't fix it, I'd find someone who could.
That became the theme of the day. I went out and fixed all the water heaters, and changed their power sources to avoid any more blown fuses and shorting out. I wrote a list with each animal's species and then what I would want if I was a sheep, chicken, horse, etc. I gave the sheep extra hay, extra bedding, and some sweet feed and corn for the calories to burn in this cold weather. I double checked the coop for drafts, made it more comfortable, and refilled water fonts and feeders. I brought rabbit bottles inside to defrost and hugged Bonita. I did the same things I do everyday, really, but I did them with this higher purpose of love for the critters. Some people see therapists their whole lives hoping for someone to pull them out of a funk. I wish I could hand everyone of them a dairy goat.
I posted on Facebook about the pipes and someone mentioned a hairdryer. I read it and scoffed, but then reread it, soaking up that wisdom. knew I couldn't get into the crawlspace with a hairdryer because I could not fit. So I devised a ridiculous plan to build a "heat arm" which meant duct-taping a hairdryer with an extension cord to a broom handle and laying on my stomach in the crawlspace's maw until I heard the water run. It was in those ten-fifteen minutes on my belly in the dirt that I got a lot of thinking done.
Folks, I am fine and the farm and the house is fine. No one should ever read this blog and pity or worry about me. Everything I go through is my choice, as is my life here on the farm and all the hassles and hardships that go with it. I don't write about these things because I want to be saved. I write about them because I want what I realize to leave this head and go out into the world where *maybe* it can help someone else and make it something bigger. I had a few shitty days, but I am fine. I really am. In a few hours a new wood delivery will be here and I'll be laughing with Tom, stacking it outside the farmhouse. In a few days I'll have enough cash set aside to order a 50-bale truckload of hay from Nelson. I'll catch up on my bills, I always do. And no part of me wants to be spending weekdays in someone else's office living my life on hold. But every now and then doing all this alone eats me up inside, and when a stretch of cold days get to you you can't help but suffer a little breakdown. But I always snap out of it, and such sad days are grower fewer and farther between. This is growth, and healing, and while it may mean reaching deep conclusions crying on your belly in a dirt-floor crawlspace — at least I reached them. And the difference between the person I became and the person I used to be is that the girl five years ago would know the same things, but not act on them. The girl in the dirt yesterday realized some heavy shit, and will be fighting to resolve them with all she's got left to give.
Stay warm, friends. It gets better.