Thursday, April 2, 2020

Highest Stakes

For the past ten years I have lived on this little farm that felt so separate from the entire world outside it. Not exclusive, but separate. The reasoning being that in a world where all my peers were living a drastically different and modern lifestyle - I had chosen to live dramatically domestically. As the rest of society churned and swayed with commutes and offices and remodeling kitchens and buying seltzer machines and concert tickets I was home, milking goats and raising pullets. I was making my own cheese and learning the banjo. Friends were getting married and traveling to Europe and my passportless ass was living like the turn of the 19th century; shearing sheep, driving horse carts, training hawks, planting seeds... You understand, as many of you have as well.

There is a peace of mind and wholeness of spirit that comes from staying put. When I left my full time job to work from home it felt radical and brave. But now I am in a pandemic, alone, and it doesn’t feel brave any more. It feels scary and uncertain because while I was the one living month-to-month by the skin of my teeth I knew the majority of you were safe and partnered up and stable and certain. I knew I was a risk, this whole farm, but that my readers had it together and if I failed at this farm I could leave and return to an apartment and desk job if I had to. But now all those office jobs and that buzzing world past the threshold of this farm has come to a stand still. We are all homesteaders now.

We are all trying to figure out what to do and how to make it. And while I am glad I have this small homestead with water and food and social distance - it isn’t the same. There isn’t whimsy in it, there is now the stark jab of survival that isn’t sugarcoated with the safety of a functioning society and I hate that I am mostly alone.

Being alone in the woods during an International crisis isn’t like in the old days. I’ve got the modern marvels of both Tiger King and nonstop news to read. There is a helplessness to it. All I can control is what work I have and the small goals and lists I make every day. In that way nothing has changed. But what has changed is how much harder, more than ever before, sales have been. If I do make sale it’s for $20-$40 bucks for some soap and not the big logo or art sales I used to make. No one needs a logo in a pandemic. So I am making a lot of soap and doing my best to only go into town a few rare times to ship goods.

I am mostly writing here to use up some energy and share my fears. I would like to hear from you, if you could? Send me an email, a twitter or IG DM? Reach out and let me know how you are doing and how you are coping? Are you also alone? The more people that can connect the better I think we all will feel. Or I hope.

Today as rain falls on this farm I am staying home. I am not going to do the basket of laundry in town. I am not going to mail things at the post office. I am going to eat what I cook or bake. I am going to hug my kind dogs and talk to the girl I miss so much my ribs ache. And I am going to try and make music, and art, and read stories or watch enough episodes of British Bake Off to be reminded of a time when a baking competition was the highest stakes of the day.

I miss you.