We've been consciously slowing our lives down for years. It all started when I was ping-ponging coast to coast for work. Living in the city frayed my every edge (and I had a lot of edges back then). Saturday mornings, I'd eagerly seek sustenance at the farmers' market, and I came to realize I wasn't just after the fiddlehead ferns or the apple-blossom branches or the Jersey tomatoes or the pumpkins or the Christmas trees. I longed to participate in the growing season. It wasn't enough to live off the fruits of the land, I wanted the land and the sky and the rain falling down and the plants growing up, up, up.
And here we are years and years later with a home on a piece of land where we grow some of our food and gather eggs from our own chickens and put up pickles for the winter. It feels like the whole world is right here where we live and yet, by necessity, we still do the work of the world-at-large. And there's where the grind comes. I rarely look at the clock, but even as I'm picking the first Sun Golds (hurray!) and stirring the jam or feeding the sourdough starter, I'm beholden to three or four different projects on my computer. And Birch started a new business this year. Even with the homeschooling, the girls have been taking on more and more responsibility in their studies. Sometimes it feels that we spin as fast in our slow lives as we ever did in our quick-quick version.
|Always a blur of snuggle and spin|
"Get off the car!"
"Get out of the car!"
"Don't head-butt the cat!"
"Oh, no, not the roses..."
"Don't chase the chickens!"
"Goat in the house!"
"Oh, no, not the bok choi!"
"Two goats in the house!"
"Don't drink out of the toilet!"
You get the picture? Wild.
|Those two cinnamon streaks ahead of the girls? The goats.|
Fast as they are, the goats have finally, finally, finally taught us about slowing down. I've always loved that Gandhi quote about being the change you want to see in the world. Getting the goats has made us become the change we professed to want in our lives. The goats made us truly become slow.
This summer, learning to tend goats has led us to trim back our expectations of ourselves. Fern and Blossom looked forward to turning eleven so they could take the Red Cross babysitting course and become official for the work they love. Instead, they're babysitting goats. They are also reading for hours and picking blackberries and baking and playing in the river while the goats scamper along the rocky ledges.
It is the best summer we've ever had, slow and full: a growing season.
We're linking up with other families who are all striving for the good life with Simple Lives Thursday. Prepare to be inspired.