Walking Away

Summer dayI won’t get into the politics of why the family farmer was driven from the farm to the cities. This is not that sort of writing, and it does not take a lot of study and consideration to put the pieces of that puzzle together if one wants to take but a minute or two to do so. But it does impact the mindset of people even today.

No, I am thinking more about the bridge I made to the past by looking at the old yellowed black and white photos of my long dead relations—pictures of them on their farms. They look happy. They look busy. They look real.

Here I sit, a dirt(y) poor farmer. Must not get it. Must not know what real people do. Must not be all that smart.

What people do not know about me is that I left a different kind of life to come sit here in the dirt. When I have written about natural healing, natural living, natural eating, natural medicine….on different sorts of forums and things, the overwhelming response is snickers, derision, disrespect, and insults. “You know, if you went to college and learned some things….” (I have two degrees.)

The dust has not yet settled from the stampede of family that fled in a huge rush in the wind away from me and from my decisions. How in the world could I bring such a shame to the family? How in the world could I not strive for the castle on the hill, the gold in the vault, the titles, the recognition, stocks, bonds, cigars? I am going to quote the woman who gave birth to me but who no longer speaks to me when she looked around my shabby “den” in the woods that I stay in until I can build my Earthen home, “at least you have granite countertops.”   I had to smile. Because they are really bad melamine with a “granite-looking” paper that is laminated and covered with horrible chemical-type sealants. Rickety and perched upon 2×4 supports.

“Ummm, well, actually they are just melamine.” I’d said. Because…..it mattered?

But yes, to her it did.

Walking away was a choice, a conscious choice, and a spiritual choice. I took a vow of poverty because I learned the evils of money. I watched what money did to people, what it did to nations, and what it is doing to the world.   It is the bullet in the gun at our heads, or at least the gunpowder in the bullet in the gun…..

A conscious decision to put my feet on the Earth, my hands in the Earth, and my sights on what is important to life, and to living: health, well-being, simplicity. Love, care, and existing to do good, and living to help others. Eating food grown by our hands, caring for animals, caring for the Earth. Because you really only get back what you give, in the end. You really do reap what you sow. At least on a soul level. At least where it counts.

A lot of people are creeping back out here. A lot of people feel it. A lot of people just want to go home. And that is good. That is good.

I am writing this while I take the time to sit and drink some tea. Then I will go outside to where life is: with ground, and plants, and animals; with trees talking to the wind as it blows and the leaves rustle their message.

The birds will tell me if a disaster looms: the animals will show me if the ground is about to shake, or if a fire is coming—if life is in danger. They will not do any thing at all if the stock market crashes, if someone does or does not get elected, or if, heaven forbid, I have the wrong kind of counter top in my make-shift kitchen.

There are days when I imagine holding my grandmother’s hand. She passed on in 2000 at 93 years of age. She lived most of her life on a farm.  So I ask her what she did when I don’t know how to do something. I show her my triumphs, and my failures, and I see her grey-green eyes twinkling and her sweet smile. She did the best that she could with what she had and she had a beautiful life. On the ground, with the plants, and the animals. I still smell the way her house smelled with wood smoke and good food, and the love that made it that way.

“Oh my goodness, Grandma, look! That black hen hid her clutch and now we have little chicks running around in the fall yet.” (I put the yet on there because that is how she would have said it.) And she loved chicks.

“Oh, Grandma, look! Look at the way the dog is putting the birds away. She just knows how to do that!”

Simple things. Good things. Things you don’t know until you take the time to just be with everything else.

grandma2I feel my grandma’s hand upon my shoulder now as I finish this. I feel the warmth, the love, the silent support. Somewhere between where she stood in the dirt and I stand now a whole lot of sensibility was lost. Somewhere in that in between a lot of loneliness and sorrow took root and grew.

I am just here to plant a flower or two. Because beauty is a wonderful remedy for all those shadows.

And maybe, by sharing my teatime with you, I can share a little of that sweet breeze, or that summer flower with you, too.



  1. Thanks for writing that!! I feel the same way!! I feel good about going back to the country and I don’t worry anymore what others think! I still have to work outside the home until my place is paid for but my heart is here and I am am happy here and that’s all that matters!, God bless you!

  2. You have a beautiful gift for writing…this is the second piece I’ve written, and it makes me smile (or cry, as your milk cow piece did). Thank you.

  3. Thank you – you’ve put my feelings into words. I lived that “other” life and now, in my retirement years, have returned to farming. There’s nothing in that other world that compares to a ripe tomato just picked, still warm from the sun. Or fresh goat milk, only as old as the time it took to cool it. Every morning is like Christmas when I go to the chicken coop with a basket to see what presents the girls have left for me today. I get my weather forecast by observing animal behavior and can trust that the dogs will give me all the warning and protection I’ll ever need. I enjoy the bounty of the harvest all winter when I enjoy vegetables I’ve put up – corn that tastes like it was just picked, green beans and asparagus so full of flavor my mouth begins watering by the mere sight and smell of them; potatoes, beets, squash and carrots stored in the root cellar that taste like they’ve just been dug from the earth. I’ve heard it said that the trick to happiness is to make a life that you never need to take a vacation from. Returning to the earth is just that.

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