Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Compassion

A few days ago a letter arrived in the mail from a reader. It was a small notecard asking me to please update the blog more. I read it quietly by the mailbox. Then I read it again. Then I stuffed it into the inner pocket of my canvas vest and walked back to the farmhouse to process what I was feeling.

A few years ago a message like that would have made my hackles rise. I would get indignant or pressed. I knew this wasn’t that kind of letter or intention. The writer just missed reading about the farm. I took some time to be grateful anyone is still checking in.

I have been having a hard time coming here to write. Mostly because I have always (and only) wrote about what I was feeling and happening at the farm at the time of entry. When I was new to farming and falling in love with it, everything was exciting and new. Over the years it went from a dream to reality to a sometimes-nightmare to what it is now - which is everyday normal life. And right now writing about everyday things is hard while just trying to make it another week.

This has been the hardest winter I’ve ever had. Both financially and personally, getting through each day has been a constant lesson in resilience and compassion. The resilience is easier. I have created a work ethic that never lets me slip. It took a while to forge it, but my days are entirely planned and work is set into a structure and goal system I need to follow. If everything is falling apart in my life, as long as I achieved those items on that list I can fall asleep at night.

The compassion is harder.

I am ashamed to admit that almost everything I ever accomplished came from a place of very high self confidence and very low self esteem. This is a horrific combination for a blogger. It means I believed I could accomplish anything, but the woman accomplishing it was garbage. I didn't think I was good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, anything enough. And now as I reach my northern thirties I am too tired to resist my own compassion. I need it. So I let it happen.

The main thing getting me through this winter is allowing myself to accept my own kindness. To take time to rest, to eat good foods, to be held, to sleep in, to stretch, to stop drinking, to not beat myself for everything I can't achieve or pay or be - and be grateful for what I can offer. And maybe that love will carry me into spring. It'll find out how to get more firewood paid for. It'll help carry the soil to feed the King Maple in the front yard dealing with erosion and age. It'll raise lambs and pigs and glasses of ale when the sun is back and the days are long and warm as a lover's arms.

But right now it is hard to write the same sad story over and over. It isn't because I don't care to check in. It's because it is kinder to simply do the work to make things better than it is to write about how afraid I am. It's another small compassion. Please be patient with me while I allow it.