Last night, over a beautiful dinner of delicious local fair, gathered from the Farmer’s Market, and prepared by the skilled hands of my visiting brother, an interesting thing occurred. This thing that I speak of can only be described as a sense of present-ness. The feeling that comes when one is submerged in a task without looking toward the future or back at the past. It is a place I rarely find myself in ( being the busy-body that I am) and a place I often aim to be in ( aspiring to Zen-ness like I do). Mostly though, in my aim toward Zen, I find myself falling a good deal short of the mark, ending up flat on my face in both physical and emotional ways. The funny thing is, after years of trying to be “in the moment”, I am beginning to think that the secret to this way of being, may very well be, that it does not come, from trying. No, what appears to be happening to us, is happening quite naturally and without attempt of any kind.
Over a few glasses of a splendid bottle of Brunello, not exactly local, but what the hell, we realized, (Mark, my brother and I) that not one of us knew what day of the week it was. Beyond that, we didn’t have clue what the date was. The only thing we could collectively gather, is that it was sometime just after dusk in mid September. This was followed by a string of jokes about whether or not we had slipped into another dimension whilst digging and clearing and stacking in the lower field. I never mentioned it to the boys, but between you and me, I never under-estimate the power of Fairie. You never know what dimension we could stumbled into down there in the Alder Grove. eh eh eh. Needless to say, we spent the next while theorizing as to what sort of magic was indeed happening.
Here is what we came up with, be warned, some or all of the following theories below are Italian wine induced.
Number 1 Nature’s Rhythms
When living in nature, one quickly synchs up with the natural world. (This of course is not our theory, as there are continents of wise ones who have been saying this for millenia, but we can tell you, that we now know it to be true). We have noticed that the light in the sky, and the weather patterns moving over head, and the sound of crickets at dusk, and the crow of the rooster in the morning, and the hum of the hive in the afternoon, all have a rhythm. And this rhythm is organic and fluid and flexible and changing, and because it is, we too have become more accustomed to nature’s ebb and flow. We too have become more in tune with the here and now.
Number 2 No Set Schedule
Since we don’t have a schedule based on days of the week, our schedule tends to grow out of each day. What the priority is today, will be very different tomorrow. The result then is that life becomes a string of tending to priorities instead of Tuesdays. When you are in the midst of a thousand details, at the beginning of an enormous plan, there is only one place to be, and that is here and now. That is, giving your attention to one detail at a time, and then, when it is completed, to celebrate its being done. This I think might just be the secret to saving oneself from the human condition of overwhelm, impatience and total exhaustion. If we were to think about everything that needed to occur on our farm, throughout each and every day in a non-stop way, the result, I am quite certain, would be two very ragged people, getting very little accomplished, but more ragged-ness. Priority this week is deer fence.
Number 3 Keeping it simple
The 3rd secret to present-ness might just be “keeping it simple.” This way overwhelm doesn’t take you out of the present and land you in panic. Yes, as far as I can tell, there is no need to do things the hardway, if you don’t need to. Google is an amazing tool, someone, somewhere in the world, has had this same problem as you, guaranteed, and nice of them to write about how they solved it. Walkie talkies are also great. And I laugh while I write this. Last week, when Mark first came home with a set of little blue walkie talkies I thought he had lost his mind. But after a week of saying ” Apiary to Lower Field, do you read me, over” and “Lower Field to House, please bring water, it’s %^&in hot out here, over” I think he made an excellent purchase, even if it wasn’t in the budget.
Yes, we have officially been here for 10 days, and 10 beautiful, hardworking, backbreaking, weed-digging, tree-cutting, stick-piling, land-clearing, fence-building days they have been. It has been hot and tiring and perfect. It has not been easy, but there has been ease, if you know what I mean. The neighbors have come over with berries from their gardens and offers of tractors and chicken raising advice. Indeed, all things on Honey Grove Farm are very good, if you don’t mind being sweaty and dirty and a little sore. If you don’t mind squabbling about the best way to build a deer fence, and you don’t mind disagreeing about the priorities. If you don’t mind that when you run out of batteries, town is far away.
Thanks for being out there, cheering us on, it means a lot.
N and M