Wednesday, December 20, 2006


That smell that fills the air from May to November, no matter how weak the scent it is still there. When you come to the farm from the suburbs it's something you can't miss. It hits you when you open the car door or drifts in your window as you come closer to your destination almost as if warning you to go no further upon penalty of leaving smelling like you'd just dropped from a cow's hind end.

I didn't grow up on a farm but I lived on my parent's newly bought farm for about 4 years just after I graduated high school. Not my choice place to be but at that time I felt it was my only choice because I wasn't ready for college. I worked a few different jobs-retail, babysitting and even one job on a large dairy farm just down the road from the farm I lived on. I fed the calves.

Mixing the milk in 5-gallon buckets and lifting them into the back of a truck, filling a few bottles and then driving out to the area of the farm where the calves were housed at. In the winter it was the worst! The drive was all rutted from the ground thawing and freezing, it was hard to wear gloves because they'd just get wet and freeze to your hands and the less layers you wore the better because it made hauling the buckets around easier but you'd end up with a chill all the way to your bones that felt like it would never leave. Who would want that life?!

I don't remember how long I lasted at that job, a year maybe, before I moved on. One thing I knew after living and working on a farm was that I never wanted that to be my life. I didn't want the midnight calls my father would get from being the manager at the large dairy when something would break or the cows got out. I didn't want to have to spend hours in the cold walking or driving over rutted driveways to work with the cows that would probably end up peeing, pooping or slobbering on you. And most of all, I didn't want to come home every night smelling like a cow, having that manure stench radiating from my skin and clothes...yeah, a shower helps but you just know it's going to be the same the next day...manure happens.

So life finds me today, 5 years later, living in suburbia-where I'm told people go to die. Working as a nanny for an amazing family, great hours, great perks, things changing all the time and opportunity to work part time at other jobs or go to school. I'd love to say I've taken advantage of those two opportunities as much as possible over the past 5 years but that'd be a lie, instead I'm not much further along in anything then when I started. I guess I can't say that nothing has changed...I have grown as a person, I have learned new things about myself and some of my ideals have changed.

I still believe in God and feel that I have a personal relationship with Him but I don't hold to all of the ideas many Christians hold. I believe that people should love who they'd like to, that it is not my place to tell someone that they aren't living as they should because I am not God. A few people have questioned me on this and in the end, for me, I don't feel I'll have a problem standing in front of God and answering for my beliefs. I think that in this life we've become so dependent on what other people think of us-how we're living, what we look like, etc.-that we don't look into ourselves to know how we should be living our own lives. I also have a desire for a more simple life, for growing things in the dirt, producing my own food, to feel like I have something to show for my efforts and to have something physically to give to others.

This brings me to where I stand today...can you guess?...hoping to move back to the farm, not living in my parent's home but living somewhere near by. I can't say what I want exactly I'd like to do on there, all I know is there is this strong desire in me to be there and to have access to the ground and more physical labor. To be closer to friends and in a smaller community where people have concern for each other and offer a helping hand without being asked. Of course there are draw backs and things I'll miss about the suburbs but to me the positives outweigh the negatives. So, someday, God willing, I will be back there, plunging my hands into the dark soil, planting seeds, waiting for them to grow and harvesting the fruits of my labor all the while savoring the lingering scent of manure.