Monday, November 9, 2009

good bye sabbatical

I've been back to work for one week.
It was hard diving in. I cried. Well, I wept hard.

I was scared that all my compassion had dried up and that stumbling back into the madness of direct connection to a justice system so full of injustice and ache and madness (not insightful madness, but the angry, heart wrenching madness of a system rusty at the root and too heavy with the bones of too many souls to turn in any degree of right direction) would be too difficult to stomach.

When the days were long and the flowers were blooming and life was pulsating in the perfect patterns of aliveness all around me this summer and early fall, I felt contentment. I also felt that deep satisfying exhaustion due to all of the hard physical labor I did around the yard (our little urban farm on the edge of some woods; the kind of wooded area in cities where dead, human bodies turn up--eerie woods I would not walk alone in at night).

Anyhow, I was so fortunate to have these many months off and explore the pieces of myself that have often been pushed asunder because so much of my time is spent working away from my homestead. When I list what I accomplished over the last 3.5 months it is quite amazing:
Scraped and painted front porch and railings
Got chickens
got bees
learned about beekeeping from my beekeeper mentor and some books
harvested over 2 gallons of honey two weeks ago by myself--well kk was my helper--but I did it without my mentor
rendered beeswax
made lip balm
built from scratch with no plans mobile chicken run for chickens
put together pre made coop and permanent chicken run
took a permaculture course and got a certificate
dug a four by four by four root cellar in the back yard
filled it with a shit load of michigan squash, onions, and soon some sweet potatoes
planted and tended gardens at home/gardens at community garden
made a lot of pies
went raspberry picking
went blueberry picking
made blueberry freezer jam
dehydrated a hell of a lot of roma tomatoes
taught myself to cook lamb shank
cooked a lot of good food from local farms and my own backyard
read some books
tended to kk's dying grandma
ushered in her death in our living room
eulogized grandma s at memorial service
spent a vacation up north with my sister,eo, her husband, the 3 wee ones, my ma and dad, k's dad, and grandma c and got along swimmingly
threw a great dinner party for my baby sister's,ea, pre-wedding celebration
stood up in aforementioned sister's wedding with kk and other sister
road my bicycle a lot
planted three american black currants, two precocious hazelnuts, one american hybrid chestnut, two beach plums, four regent serviceberries.
pulled out bushes in front yard including stumps, by hand, in order to plant the serviceberries
ran a chicken wire fence behind where the tall bushes once lived
went to reskilling festival and milked a goat
drew a little
loved a lot
enjoyed my friends
enjoyed sleeping
drank good beer
got my hands dirty
hit 5,000 miles on my portland
loved some more
realized how much i love animal husbandry and how one day i want to keep goats too and homestead as full time as possible

so, I am back to work and I still have an ever-flowing chest of available compassion which I am thankful for. And I have the understanding hearts of people around me, at work, who are insisting that I not jump full force into the nitty gritty and that I be good to myself.

Good bye dear sabbatical; you were so good to me and my heart is better for having known you.


Farmer Femme said...

What a fruitful sabbatical. You were in need of respite I think. I'm in awe of your list of accomplishments. If you and kk ever want to come tend goats, you're welcome to my farm in Idaho. We've had 7 babies since Saturday. I'd love to know how your root cellar works out through the winter. Really brilliant work all around. xo

jay said...

Whew. Good work. xx