Updated: Dec 14, 2020
I’ve always thrived indoors. Whether baking bread at home or writing in a coffee shop, I’ve been most productive and fulfilled inside, out of the elements. In the cocoon of my kitchen I’ve felt safe and free to reflect, meditate and pray. And I’ve felt inspired creatively in the cozy atmosphere of a coffee shop. These environments have served me well.
Now, as I work on our farm, I’m beginning to experience some of that same fulfillment outdoors. Some days I spend several hours outside doing necessary farm work. Often I listen to an audio book, but today I made a choice to experience the quiet. I thought back over the past couple of days and the mistakes I’ve made. I considered what I’m learning, and areas in the farm - and my life - where I want to improve. Most of the time I learn through my mistakes. Maybe you do too. Today, as I looked at an overgrown hydroponic tower, I knew I was in store for another lesson.
I had put off cleaning the tower because the Swiss chard growing at the top continued to flourish. At just under five feet tall, I hadn’t inspected the top of the tower closely in a while. I had no idea how big the roots were and how disruptive they had become to the tower functioning properly. Whacking away at the four inch thick root, I was struck that like the root, there are some areas in my life I’ve neglected. While the plant looked great on the surface, what I didn’t realize, because I didn’t investigate, was the root system was caught on the overhanging support wire. The tower had begun to lean slightly, causing water to overflow and flood the surrounding area. But that’s not all. Since the towers are all connected to wiring that keeps them upright in windy conditions, my neglect had caused one or two other towers to lean as well. My failure to diligently maintain the towers reminded me of my similar failure to maintain relationships with those I love and to take good care of myself.
Some days it’s overwhelming when I consider how much I have to learn. But I’m beginning to see that thriving in my new environment isn’t just about learning hard lessons. It’s also about enjoying candid moments, moments like today when our Great Pyrenees, Samson, chased chickens out of the pig enclosure, and later when the ducks waddled their way from the back part of the property into the hydroponic garden. The weather this morning was overcast and misty, but what I experienced today showed me that it’s possible for me to thrive in any environment. I just have to be open to it.
This piece first appeared in Sherry Asbury Clark’s column, “Finding Myself in a Small Town,” in the 11/28/20 issue of the Corsicana Daily Sun.