Monday, April 27, 2009

that'll do

I have become a great disciple of the hammock. Every night I sway out there, thinking about things that make my mind reel. Usually until they stop and all that's left is some gentle rocking and peace of mind.

Tonight I brought out blankets, pillows, and a banjo. And I plucked along my favorite waltz as I looked up at the waxing crescent moon over the pines. The wind picked up now and again, rocking me even more. The creek sang, the frogs chorused, and occasionally a sheep cried out in the dark, from across the pasture. I played my banjo and thought about my day.

Every time I do an interview, or a radio show, or go to a book event--someone always asks me if I'm lonely? I suppose I should be, but I'm not. There are of course people I miss when they're not around, but there is no blanket desire to seek out company for the sport of it. Things are how they are. I like being by myself. It allows for times like tonight. Quiet. Full. Completely engaged in the world without getting attached to it.

That'll do.

No, I am never lonely. I'm always thinking, and that bides all my time and borrows more I haven't yet earned. Tonight I swayed and I was glad.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this post because it echos a conversation I had with my best friend today. There are those of us who *choose* to be alone. It's not alone out of circumstance - but alone out of choice, and that makes all the difference in the world. I'm glad to know there are others out there like us - who simply choose to be alone and enjoy every minute of it. :)

April 27, 2009 at 10:34 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I agree, Jenna (and Robin). My best friend and I have the same conversation every once in a while. We also agree, that it would be difficult to get used to 'not' being independent. More the having to explain or not going, or doing, on the spur of the moment, deciding on the fly to go somewhere other than home after work, than bank account wise, if you know what I mean. There's nothing wrong about being CONTENT. If more people were, there'd be less problems in this world. :-)

April 27, 2009 at 10:50 PM  
Blogger Mama Pea said...

Our daughter grew up as an only child 'out in the boonies' with only infrequent occasions of having other kids around. Now grown, she says that although much of her childhood was spent 'alone' (good ol' mom and dad don't count), she never felt lonely. Today she's one of the most self-sufficient people I know.

I think the secret is if you're happy with yourself, you'll never be lonely.

April 27, 2009 at 10:56 PM  
Anonymous David said...

I hear you on this - I spend a lot of time alone in the yard, looking at the sky and then watching the stars. The silence and the stillness gives me time to think. Great post.

April 27, 2009 at 11:46 PM  
Blogger granny said...

I have just recently found your blog,and I love it.I wish I hadnt waited till I was 45 to live the life I love,so good on you for being so clever so young! I have also ordered a copy of your book,from the UK,(Im in Australia) so now the wait is on :0)With kind regards,Granny

April 28, 2009 at 12:46 AM  
Anonymous Carrie said...

I'm totally with you on this. There are times, that I enjoy being around other folks, but there are also times I choose to be alone, all by myself, to think things over, think about the future, and enjoy nature all around me. Some people just don't get it. Don't worry Jenna there's folks out there just like you...hell I'm one of them.

April 28, 2009 at 12:53 AM  
Anonymous Michele@A House Called Nut said...

It's a curious thing, being alone in nature and not feeling a hint of loneliness. Having lived my whole life in urban areas, always surrounded by a busy social life, I was afraid of the isolation that countryside living might bring with it. Instead, now that I'm in this beautiful, remote place without even neighbors to speak of, life feels very full and peaceful.

April 28, 2009 at 4:07 AM  
Blogger Yarn Cat said...

I talked about you with my sister another day saying her girlfriends should stop whining about finding a guy and start living a colourful life like you! There are so much more out there than finding the right man.
I am engaged and getting married in Sept, but honestly if I haven't met this understanding man who let me to be alone whenever I need to be, I would prefer to be alone and do whatever I want. Seriously.
But people always like to assume there are only two kinds of people in the world: people who are in a relationship or lonely.

April 28, 2009 at 6:04 AM  
Blogger Mountain Man said...

Right on - my hammock too! Love it. Just swing and watch the dogs and the garden.

April 28, 2009 at 8:58 AM  
Anonymous Tony in Asheville said...

In a modern day of constant stimulation, we seem to think in only reactionary means. We "put out fires" but rarely have the peace, quiet and more importantly the time to actually contemplate.

The brain is bombarded by tv, radio, internet, and just general chatter. We know more about celebrity marital strife (whether we want to or not) than we do about or own goals and dreams.

One cannot stop to smell the roses if they are in desparate effort to put out fires.

One can still get lonely but you do have interaction with people in your life, just not at your home right now. When the mind is content with what is is focused upon (contemplation) there is less and less need for other stimulation. This does not mean you will become a shut in, just that for now, life is more colorful and detailed when you can think about it.

April 28, 2009 at 9:40 AM  
Blogger karental said...

Just because other people aren't around doesn't mean you are alone. I think humans sometimes misunderstand this.

April 28, 2009 at 10:01 AM  
Blogger Craig said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

April 28, 2009 at 8:56 PM  
Blogger Craig said...

It's great to see so many people echoing your sentiments on being solitary. I'm always explaining this choice to friends and family who simply can't understand. But little do they know the great satisfaction and pleasure of enjoying one's own company. Great Blog.

April 28, 2009 at 8:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My all-time favorite homesteader, one of the MOST committed and original around, Tasha Tudor was fond of quoting Thoreau:

"If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."

Life is too short not to live the life one has imagined! Continue savoring your daily blessings! Susan

April 28, 2009 at 11:32 PM  
Anonymous Monica S. said...

I just finished reading your article in Mother Earth News and had to drop you a line. This short article really resonated with me...I also sit in front of computer all day creating designs and if I'm lucky maybe some of my own artwork. But what I really dream about is the life you're living...maybe it's strange for a girl I don't know, but I long for my own chickens, living off of the grid, having a couple of goats or sheep, making my own cheese and wine...and my own property in the Adriondacks. We live about an hour south...anyway, I admire you for seeing the joy in simplicity, something so often forgotten in this day and age...and thanks for being so inspiring!

April 29, 2009 at 9:32 AM  
Blogger Yvonne said...

How I long for a life that you have. It has been my dream to do exactly what you are doing. Not sure if I will ever get there but I can still dream. I just ordered your book...can't wait to get it and start reading it. It will be a great break from this last school semester. Take care and God bless.

April 29, 2009 at 10:56 AM  
Blogger AnotherNobodyOnline said...

Just read an article you wrote for Mother Earth news. I'm looking forward to reading your blog. My own organic garden is starting to become a reality as I finish the fence this week. We're in Michigan so I've still got time. It snowed here 3 weeks ago.

April 29, 2009 at 12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In a way, I've chosen to be alone, though if the right man came alone I would be perfectly happy too! It drives my mother and grand-mother crazy that I do so much alone (I'm "isolating" myself according to my g-mother). Neither one knows that I'm now looking into homesteading. They'll think I've completely lost it!

Rhonda from TX

April 29, 2009 at 2:32 PM  
Blogger Jana Huddleston said...

I love the post...I find life in the country to be peaceful, not lonely. I really enjoyed your book - I'm adding it to "My Favorites" list on my blog,!

April 29, 2009 at 4:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're such a fake yuppy "green" farmer wannabe,
peddling your shit everywhere.
You make me wanna puke.
You don't know shit about self reliant living.
Get your Banana Republic wearin' ass back into your AWD Subaru and drive to your cubicle in the city where you belong. And stop writing like you think you know something. Cause you don't and you look rather stupid you 20 something dressed up for Halloween marketing bitch.

April 29, 2009 at 7:17 PM  
Blogger Laurie said...

Bought your book today..Love it! Also love reading your blog! Wish we had the *** to do what you are doing..maybe someday!

April 29, 2009 at 8:35 PM  
Anonymous wildallium said...

Ummm...I'm hoping the Anonymous lame-o poster comments above get taken down. Just saying. No hate belongs here friend. Move on.

April 29, 2009 at 10:20 PM  
Anonymous Carrie said...

I have several comments to make after that post. First of all, Jenna has so many different balls in the air(aka chickens, bees, garden, sheep, rabbits, A JOB, etc.) that she puts all of us to shame. Building up the kind of "green" garden that she has takes time, patience, and a lot of hard work. And I give her credit for doing it because I don't know who would want to eat the insecticide laden waxy crap you can buy in the supermarket. I give her credit for wearing her Banana Republic JEANS for what they were made for. Dirty, hard work instead of a fashion statement. Jenna doesn't write like she THINKS she knows something, she does, and she writes about it to HELP other people. I've found her extremely inspiring. And, speaking as a 20 something, i find it a lot more interesting to read a blog about something REAL. To know that someone else out there my age is putting all their energy into something REAL. wildallium is right, no hate belongs here. And if you hate Jenna like you say you do, WHY IN THE HELL are you even reading her blog? Quit being a bully and do something USEFUL with your life.

April 30, 2009 at 1:10 PM  
Blogger Artful Gathering said...

AMEN, to the last post! Go get a life!

April 30, 2009 at 7:07 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Thank you Dawn, Ali, and Carrie for those kind words and sticking up for me, but this person has every right to say whatever they want about me. This is a public forum.

Sorry I upset you, Anonymous. It was not my intention to do so. Perhaps someday I'll catch up to your level of tact and certainty.

April 30, 2009 at 7:43 PM  
Blogger Sylvia said...

Lonely? One of the reasons why I have my little urban homestead is because of all the 'noise' in my life. I have a husband, 2 teenage boys, a 'real' job, church responsibilities, etc., etc. Being with my 4 hens, digging in my potato patch, watching my 11 baby turkeys grow brings such peace and joy to my way too hectic life. One day my boys will be grown and gone but I hope I have modeled to them to find a space in their life for other beings that you nuture and love whether they are animals or plants.
Take your time, Jenna. When the right person comes along, you will know it and rejoice in the companion. Same goes for babies. Have them because you are ready, because you have space and time in your life, not because all your friends are having them or your parents crave grandchildren.
Thanks for a great blog.

May 1, 2009 at 9:31 PM  
Blogger Mimi said...

I am 100% with you! I have always been someone who values my alone time. I consider it really important to my well-being. In fact, if I don't get enough time to myself, I feel really bothered by too much interference from others. I like people, have friends, family, but I have always felt that I'm truly happy when I have time to think, to be in touch with my own feelings and thoughts. I feel sorry for people who have to constantly be in the company of others to be happy. They miss a whole dimension to life. I have so much I like to do that I can do in solitude and it's so rewarding--I do believe that people who don't have that peace and solitude aren't really living life to the fullest. I'm sure I have a deeper sense of nature, animals, humans, and the spirituality of nature, that most of my acquaintances don't. I'm not being critical of them, but I enjoy that feeling of really knowing that I am what I want to be and where I want to be. Thank you for saying this--those of us who can relate appreciate your simple, honest, real feelings. Mimi

May 5, 2009 at 8:57 AM  

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