Leaving The Ranch is something that becomes slightly harder every time I come.
It is not that I by any means despise where I am going - I miss my family when I am gone and my pets and the parts of my life that are filled in there by activities and people. There is always - at least for me - a certain sense of comfort by being surround by my "things"; in that, I suppose, I am more of a Hobbit than anything else.
Part of the dislike of leaving, of course, is the simple fact that every time I leave it will likely be three to four weeks before I return, which means three to four weeks before I will see my parents again. Sometimes, like last month, one or the other of them is not really "there" due to sleep issues; sometimes, like this month, I cannot see them at all (Plague cautions and all). It is not the sense of knowing that at some point they may pass away; that is something that at their age, I have steeled myself for the day the call comes. It is the sense of knowing that at some point, they simply will not recognize me. That, I am not ready for although I know that it, too, is coming.
Part of it is that there is simply so much to do here. The house needs to be painted at some point; there are trees that have fallen that need to be made into firewood; and simple things - like, say mice patrol - have come up. And that does not even cover the list of projects that I have thought that I would like to do (Oh, there is a list of those as well. It is rather long, and could easily consume my time until I pass).
Part of it is simply the fact that being here is amazing. Every single day, one wakes up to woods and trees and wildflowers. I have seen a multiplicity of birds - songbirds, hunters, scavengers. A plethora of wildlife is outside the door: deer, jack rabbits, skunk, fox, coyote, mountain lion, bears (and mice, I suppose). Nature is here, full force, going on about its daily and seasonal business in a live action television show the likes of which Hollywood can never produce.
But I suppose the greatest part of it is simply the peace I feel when I am here. I cannot define for you why or how this peace occurs, only that it exists. Part of it surely is the isolation that is here, but part of it as well I suspect is simply that here one is not packed cheek by jowl into a place where every direction you look you see a neighbor of some kind and the air is not filled constantly with the sounds of city living. The stresses here, while real - power outages, potential fire or snow damage - are if controllable, at least consciously manageable. Not so the city: I can change none of the risks there I face at all.
But whether ready to go or not, I must. And so I will pack my suitcase and computer bag, clean out the ashes from the woodstove, set the thermostat to "Low", seal up the house (and hopefully the entrance for mice!), and head down the Hill to go to the airport, submerging myself again into an urbanity that claims that it holds the keys to a modern and fulfilling life, but too often just seems to present shackles destined to hold me from living instead of enabling it.
I honestly think we are created to have ties to the land, to be bonded to it. So I'm not surprised that you feel the way you do.ReplyDelete
I've had people try to tell me that the Bible doesn't teach agrarianism. But honestly, the more I read it, the more I see how Scripture makes more sense from an agrarian worldview, rather than from an industrialist worldview.
Leigh, the agricultural writers I find most moving - Gene Logsdon, Wendell Berry - understand this better than I. Logsdon, of course, moved back to the land he grew up on, and Berry ended up going back to the place where he grew up, in a cabin his Great Uncle had built (A Native Hill; A Long Legged House).Delete
Oddly enough, I think people can bond with other locations as well - those that love a particular urban setting so much they will never depart it. The mechanics must different and far more based on the social relationships and "flavor" of the location, but it does seem to be a thing.
The Bible was written at a time when agrarianism and hand craft were all there was. And in the sense of treating everything well - animals, fellow humans, the environment - it certainly seems better suited for agrarianism than industrialism. I can only imagine the actual implications of giving industrialism the seventh year "Sabbath Rest"...
I am always at peace when down at the farm too.ReplyDelete
Ed, I do not know what it is, I only know that it is.Delete
I think you nailed it with the "other locations as well." I knew a guy that hated the wide open and felt alive in the city. We had little in common except the need for air and water.ReplyDelete
I haven't been "home" in long years. And I miss it. The flat, brown dirt calls me some times. The wide open sky and constant wind beckons me. The place I remember exists in only in my head... But the desire to visit is almost overwhelming.
That you have a mostly untouched old home is a wonder and a comfort to me. Enjoy it to the limit.
STxAR, there are people that have dwelt for generations in cities and feel of them the same way I feel of The Ranch. It is something I cannot understand, even as they do not understand me.Delete
It is a wonder and a comfort to me as well - and a stewardship I need to pass on.
Just started reading your blog- so what keeps you in the city? Seems like the window to move could close pretty quick, and more to the point- if you love the ranch, and don't like the city, why not spend your days there? I am of the belief all the stuff we are told we have to have accumulated to "retire" is a trap- I do not expect SS or most retirement funds to be around, or be worth anything if they are, nor do I expect our medical system to offer much "healing" in the future.ReplyDelete
Raven - What keeps us here is youngest, Nighean Dhonn, who has about two years left to complete high school. To the extent I can, I would like to give my children the gift of finishing out school in one place - it was a thing my parents gave to me that I only came to appreciate later in life.Delete
In terms of everything else, there is really nothing. I will miss my Iai class and volunteering at the rabbit shelter, but I may pursue opening a dojo if we move and there are always other animal shelters that need volunteers.
In terms of a job, it depends - my job will accommodate me working remotely now but I am still a resident of New Home; not every company is willing to do paperwork in more than one state. It may be that I will have to take up a position which is based in Old Home to some extent, even if I still work remotely.
In terms of retirement and medical care - it will be nice if they are there, but I do not count on them. Expenses would change pretty significantly were we to move overall, although some things would be higher.
Thus tradition versus modernity.ReplyDelete
John, the older I get the more I desire the traditional.Delete
Be glad you have a place to still go to. My Boomer mom is selling the farm to move to the city so she can spend all her money before she dies in an apartment with nothing to take care of. Sickening.ReplyDelete
Hedge, I am grateful. We had to relocate my parents last year to a high level of assisted living; they were foresighted in that they planned to be able to have this happen and not have it impact the Ranch.Delete
I am sorry. That would tear me up.
I think you've learned, as so many of us have, that "home" is loosely defined. You obviously feel at home at the Ranch, but it's not really home because your family is not with you. And yet, "New Home" isn't not really home, either. Maybe it's more about contentment than being home.ReplyDelete
In any event, in the short time I've been reading your blog, I can tell you are a reasoned and pragmatic person, and you look at the big picture. I've a feeling your current situation is temporary, and one day, God willing, and perhaps one day soon, you will in fact be at home -- and content -- at the Ranch. And kudos to you for wanting your daughter to finish high school where she started. Years ago I made a similar decision and never regretted it.
Butting into your exchange with one of the other commenters, should I ever be left alone, I will not keep the home my children grew up indefinitely. There are many reasons a person decides to move on and make a change later in life. And in my view, he/she has earned that privilege.
Thank you Bob. As I have noted (many posts back in the Dark Ages of the Blog), when the time came that we had to move here, everything worked out perfectly. I could not have planned for it better: our unemployment was to run out in June and I found a job that started in early June. They paid for the move and we almost effortlessly found a house and and school. The only snag was selling our then home (and had the bank not intervened, it would have been smooth as well). As I have read about God's intervention, Seldom early but never late.Delete
Homes are hard things. I think that - had my parents decided to sell - I would have felt the same as Hedge does, but perhaps for separate reasons - although to be fair, I did not feel that way when they sold the house that we grew up in, but by then I was long gone and had little attachment to it (and I knew where they were moving).
I am gladdened to hear you took the same approach to high school. One of my dear friends from high school had to move for her Senior Year and while she is a big enough person that she soldiered on, I do think there was a wistfulness there that has not to this day really gone away.