Sunday, September 29, 2013

Bridgewater, Maine

September 29 -- 2009

Leaving the farm is going to be harder than I at first thought, I must admit. I also must admit that I've been grieving for much of the last month, maybe still grieving even for the objects I lost at sea—not exactly the objects but the ideas. The leather notebook with five years of story seeds. The dream journal with four months of dreams.

I know I must regard these things as ephemera, as things that are lost, and I feel I should be strong enough by now to let the things go. To let all things go. As I must let this place go if we really decide to adventure again. But I am dragging my feet.

The longer I farm, or whatever it is we're trying to do here, the more I realize that it's simply an act of heroic emotional resilience. I understand why farmers don't want their kids to be farmers. Because there's tragedy in it, and death, and I simply can't bring myself to eat or harvest the food in the garden as I write, knowing that I'm leaving it, that I'm leaving this land. I simply don't have the emotional strength for it.

Which maybe is okay. Maybe all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well. Maybe it's okay that I just ate four leaves of kale with my rice tonight. We've learned, also, that the boat needs its wooden mast replaced, so whatever departure may not be as imminent as I'd hoped. And of course as soon as I learned that I was desperate to leave this place—leave this earth, these roots—always wanting what I cannot have.


Anonymous said...

Letting go of physical objects is something I struggle with. My husband desires to live as minimalist a life as possible (his fascination with micro architecture makes me nervous). His yearning for an empty space makes me examine my yearning for a cluttered one. He and I agree that our lives are fuller and happier without smart phones, cable television, and other such stuff. But we draw our personal lines at very different places. If our house burned down but our family and menagerie of farm pets survived - but nothing else - he would be at peace. I know I wouldn't be, which makes me start over examining myself.

I don't like feeling dependent on "stuff" - and yet, I touch a beloved book's spine and remember all of times and places I read it, the emotional place I was in, the memories it holds that are unique to me. That can't be wrong, can it? Still, if my house burned down, I know I would mourn the loss of the thousands of books and periodicals lined up in neat rows and haphazard piles in my house, and my favorite orange dutch oven and collection of cast iron skillets that have fed my family night after night after night.

Melissa Jenks said...

I know exactly what you mean. When I left for the boat this time, not knowing how long I was going for or when I was going to be back, I brought only physical objects that I thought I'd be okay with losing--that if the house burned down I'd be okay with losing the things I'd left behind, and if I lost everything on the boat I'd be able to deal with that too. The crazy thing is that everything I brought with me on my fateful dinghy trip were the objects that held the most value that I brought--but there was part of myself that had reconciled to their loss, too, even before they were gone. Or so I thought.

I'm not just attached to my beloved books or photographs or kitchen supplies. I'm also attached to my data. I like to know when I last heard a song, to have a record of my edits to a document. It seems like I should be free of these attachments but maybe I'm not there yet.