Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Inspirations and misplaced memories

Sean here.

     For those of us who choose the seemingly never-ending uphill battle that IS a farming life, it is probably a good idea to look back every once and again at where this desire really originated in the first place.  Yes, yes, we all wish to know where our food comes from and avoid GMO's and save the environment and the joy of working the land and ladidadidadida......and I'm OF COURSE not putting any of these reasons down. All excellent justifications for breaking one's back and bank account; howsoever, many of us could probably jump into our way-back-machine and discover that our desire to "live on a farm" reaches into our roots of mental development.  Back when we were bodies of energy and skulls full of mush, this idea was implanted.  Thus, it has always been sitting there, deep in the back, while we lived out our normal, boring, non-farming lives, waiting for a chance to leap out at us again, full of teeth and adventure.  It grips us with a tenaciousness that will not be sated by any sort of ration or reason because there's no grown-ups to tell us, "Sean, we don't have the land to have a farm", or "Sean, chickens are smelly and where would we keep them?" or even "Sean, goats can't just live in the basement you know..." Au contraire.

     I spent the majority of my first decade of life in a little spit of a town named Waldo, Maine.  And don't even try, I've heard it all my life.  If you need to ask "Where's Waldo?" check google maps.  Smartalec.  In a little house in the woods,  I had it all.  Acres of dark forest to explore, a local pond to catch bullfrogs, and a Nintendo Entertainment System when the weather wasn't aggreeable to either exploring or bullfrogging.  However, in my six to nine-year-old (skull of mush) brain, it was nothing compared to my friend Billy's homelife.  Because Billy "lived on a farm."  One with all the bells and whistles.  Barn, silos, tractors, hay lofts, sharp pointy implements that could skewer you at any moment - a young boy's Xanadu.  Every chance I had, I would be over at Billy's place.  Weaving amongst the cows, burrowing through the hay, chasing the chickens through the yard -  this was the life I was meant for.  Of course, Billy, knowing the Truth of "living on a farm" that being that no one just LIVES on a farm, sought out every opportunity to come to my boring old non-farm house to play on my NES.  Why is it that children are typically so desirous of a change to their daily routine, where as adults, a small change can lead some to a nervous breakdown?  That sense of discovery and adventure in children sometimes transfers over to a nastier adult situation called "wanting what we can't have."  And it's a much less desirable trait after the bloom of youth has passed.

     This, I believe was my first conscious exposure to the lure of the farm.  It was not the last though.  Through the years, whenever it was encountered in the wild through a random barn on the side of the road or the unsmistakeable smell of a cowfield, that farming memory would awaken and tweak the rest of my brain.  Not a big tweak, but just enough to let me know that the child inside of me that still didn't want to listen to reason was still alive and kicking.  And he wanted to chase chickens again.

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  1. Meredith/GreenCircleGroveMarch 12, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    I DO like the way you think. I grew up on a farm (although not Billy's), saw how much work it was and how there was never ever time or money for a vacation like the town kids' had, tried the other life and have come full circle. No vacations, no money. Chasing chickens. And loving the farm life.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. I love this, Sean! How you described it in the first paragraph is just perfect. I never knew I wanted to live in the country with chickens until later in life, but I think it was something implanted in me when I was young. Our desire just grew and grew until we had to do something about it and move out to the country. We are so happy!

  3. Awesome post!! I grew up in a non-farm household, too, and daydreamed the whole time of living out in the middle of nowhere with lots of farm animals. Now that those dreams have come true, I couldn't imagine living any other way.

  4. I was reading your article and thinking,"There's different about this blog." Then, I noticed, "Sean here." Your description of playing at Billy's farm made me feel as if I were there--the barn, the tools, the animals, the smells. I'm happy you're living your childhood dream.


  5. Lived in the same house, played in the same woods, hung out at a different friend's farm throwing rotten apples at the cows...and all I aspire to is a few boxes of lettuce.

    What does this prove? That the desire is either innate, or derives from a love of bullfrogs. Tabula rasa is a lie!

    Waldo had the best climbing trees. Remember that spruce behind the trailer? I coulda lived in that.


    1. I never got to the top of that spruce. You were crazy. I remember climbing down and having to soak from my fingertips to my elbows in turpentine to get all the sap off. I also remember climbing from tree to tree out in the little copse between the house and the road. It's really a wonder we survived to adulthood.

  6. This was such a beautiful post and made me wonder what it was that first sparked the farming desire for me. We had friends of the family who were farmers ~ I remember being about four or so, and visiting the farm for a day trip. The fact that it was so long ago but remembered so vividly makes me think it must have really triggered something. Thank you so much for linking this up to the HomeAcre Hop!