Saturday, May 9, 2009

Do you feel the urge?

I read this article the other day that suggested that the recession might provide an opportunity for folks to pursue personal dreams that they might otherwise put on hold. The author makes a clear distinction between things that we're kinda interested in, and
"real creative urges, those we are meant to express, [which] don’t go away. If ignored, they bother us, affect our health, fester and eventually turn us into the living dead."
Is this true? Do we all get these urges? I didn't think so. I know very few people that have these undeniable passions. I've always tended to think that this pervasive, and not-necessarily-so-helpful sentiment -- that most people have a passion that they just need to follow to be happy -- that has always bothered me and made me feel like I'm missing something, like I'm incomplete and inferior.

But now I am a month deep into this farming thing and I love it. I love being outside and being so, so tired at the end of the day; I love the smell of soil, and the way the knees of my jeans get caked in dirt. Plus, it excites me to think of eventually handling the business side of things, handling my own operation, searching out a market, getting into value-added food production, making business decisions, constantly improving and innovating...

I've had some rough days here on the island. I haven't found too many kindred spirits; there's a closed-mindedness about certain things and a religious zealotry to the love-of-small-towns and cerain ways of life that makes me feel uncomfortable and unwilling to open up to people, but that said, farming itself -- the work -- is probably the closest I've been to this "real creative urge."

But am I a fickle lover? How long will my passion last? Summer will be hot. I will sweat and get weird tans and 40 hours a week of work when the sun is shining and the swimming holes beckon is going to be tough.

For now, though, I am going to quash my pessimistic tendencies and see if these seeds I'm planting germinate into something good.


  1. colorado was a bit like this for me: 3/4 of the way through, there were times when i thought i'd made completely the wrong decisions but i think i would do it again.

  2. Yes. I guess that's how it has to be for those of us without single-minded zealotry for something. Never being quite sure this is "it," but doing all we can to remember to enjoy what we enjoy.

  3. i totally feel you, girl! i'd like to elaborate, but i don't want to just end up repeating the sentiments you posted here. but let me just say a hearty AMEN! and just add, i think that part of the satisfaction you will get later at the end of this year will be the moments you pushed and struggled through... that's part of what makes an experience so uniquely our own... that we would endure patiently all of the BS for the delight that comes from whatever or whomever... anyhow, my love and greetings from NY!

  4. Having spent too much of my time working on farms while in my teens and for $0.75 per hour...I look back on the experience and fondly remember the sunrises and sunsets. Especially the sunrises. I didn't own the crops....just a hand. There is a distinct smell of working soil that is especially strong in the early morning. The body is refreshed, the morning cool, and the crop a little more mature. Unlike our lives...this maturity holds promise. A promise that touches all senses. Breathe deep and remember. You're planting a chapter in your life that will remain a part of the tapestry you know rh

  5. Thanks for the lovely comment! It's so amazing to me to think about how many folks I know who did some kind of work on farms 20-40 years ago. These days it seems like such an anomaly for a young person to be involved in agriculture.

    I do feel the sense of promise that you're describing;- growing things is so elemental, the feeling that you're coaxing something from nothing -- Michael Pollan likens gardening to a kind of (actually successful) alchemy -- getting value from nothing more than dirt and air.

  6. You have to be super dedicated to follow your dreams like that. Most people don't have it in them. My dad made his living as a professional musician for a couple years, but when his band never hit it big he went back to school to become a computer programmer. He said he would look in the Calendar section of the paper seven or eight years later and see the same bands he was playing with, still plugging away.

  7. Wowsers. Yeah. I don't know if I have the attention span. OR to put it in a nicer light, I'm interested in so many different things I feel like I could be happy doing a lot of them...