Sunday, April 16, 2006

Pastoral Ponderings

As I get closer to my birthday and turning f-f-f-f-forty, I find myself being very contemplative. I guess that’s normal. Before I turned 30, I make a list of some things I wanted to do before that birthday and did most of them. I haven’t done that this time. Making a list is too restrictive somehow—way too much pressure at this time in my life. If I’m going to turn f-f-f-f-forty, I want it to be as stress-free as possible.

But there is one disconcerting thing that has developed in the last couple of years. I daydream about living out in the country, in a little farmhouse on about 5 to 10 acres. This is opposite what anyone who knows me would imagine me wanting. I used to say that if you couldn’t get a pizza delivered, you lived too far out. But now, that’s seeming very attractive to me.

This feeling is also disconcerting because I, in the past, have been rather cruel in my assertion of middle-aged men wanting to be the “gentleman farmer,” especially my dad. For a while, Dad had a some pigs, some cattle, and a few horses. I, in my teenage arrogance, thought it so completely stupid. He was a lawyer—he didn’t have time to have a farm. And considering that my idea of a life was living in an apartment in New York City, it all seemed very silly to me.

My how maturity does humble one so. When we were living in Ohio, I fell in love with the beautiful scenery and simple craft of knitting a skein of recently spun yarn into a garment. I drove around, admiring farmhouses and tracks of sprawling land, imagining how wonderful it would be to live out where there were no neighbor so close you could look in their windows from you own house. We went to a party at co-worker’s farm. The restored farmhouse, the barn with chickens and goats, and the acres of pastures with horses was all at it should be and I felt completely at home. Among all the kids running around and people getting their grilled meats and fresh veggies from the big buffet table under the tent, I looked up at the sky and said, “I’m sorry Dad. I understand now.” And for the first time in the 8 years since he passed away, I missed my Dad and wished I could talk to him.

So, there’s some kind of weird circle of life thing going on. The one person I felt like I never connected with is the one person I feel would completely understand me now. That feeling, plus turning f-f-f-f-forty is about all the emotion. I can handle right now.

To celebrate my admitting this weird new desire of mine, I bought Hobby Farm magazine. There are articles about breeding rare-breed chickens and getting great wool from your flock. Cool! And the tea kettle just went off, so time for tea and a little daydreaming.


Lisa said...

Kell, I'm sorry about the pain of missing your father. I know that pain myself. But I try to see it as a good thing, meaning that as long as I'm missing him and wishing I could talk with him, he still is alive in some way.

That looks really corny, now that I have written it down, but please know it is heartfelt. The process you are going through sounds like a cathartic one that will bring wonderful growth and change to you!

Kell said...

Thanks, Lisa. I appreciate the words of encouragement. It's amazing how feelings we don't even know we have pop up, seemingly out of nowhere.