Moving to a 186 year old farm has its challenges. I have lived in the city my whole life; sure it was the suburbs, where the public transit system consisted of buses only, no subways outside of the Big smoke but it was still urban. None of my neighbours owned chickens, horses or cows, and the only grass to our ownership was called the back yard. What on the surface looked like a movie script about a middle aged urban couple moving their family to the country where hilarious mishaps would ensue, a more tempered and grounded reality has instead unfolded.
This move was more than just arranging furniture in a new living room; this deal also came with learning the logistics of a huge bank barn, finessing the timing for our first harvest of hay, becoming comfortably familiar with the women who boarded their horses on our property as well the personalities and temperaments of the horses themselves. Researching best equine pasture management and implementing our own solutions for sustainable pasture health and growth. A topic I assure you we had zero prior knowledge or experience with. Then learning real fast how to be prepared for frequent power outings and gliding into a workable routine when it inevitably happens. Here a power outing not only means an inconvenience for us in the house; it means the outdoor automatic water feeders for the horses also don’t work. A cold dinner used to be my biggest worry; now with 10 horses on the property, creating a viable backup energy solution has eased my panic attacks. There is also the new morning routines of turning out and feeding horses as well as the “holy crap” moments when turn in for the horses for the night disrupts our spontaneous dinner plans, because our brains haven’t fully re-calibrated to “farm time” and I haven’t even mentioned the daily mucking out of stalls yet. This all without mentioning getting 3 kids settled into new schools and routines, one with special needs and finding the time to actually unpack and organize dozens of boxes still in storage in our garage. This adjustment was also being carried out around my “back of my mind” setup for this Equine Guided Learning Centre that was part of the reason for the move in the first place. Pages on the calendar were being torn off, and I hadn’t yet figured out exactly how I wanted to approach the essence of the business.
However, it has almost been a year since we moved into our rural address and each day and each month has taken me deeper into the rhythms and pulse of how time works here. Yes I have come to realize time works differently out here, it has its own framework and its own schedule and it doesn’t bend for anyone.
Now this all sounds very charming and I could just leave you here with this romantic whimsical description of time, but that’s not practical enough. With that approach the words would just stay on the page and never reach that space within you that is capable of resonating with my intent.
So here is what I mean….. Time here is very practical and methodical and it has taught me to stop watching the clock and the calendar with its judgements and expectations and start to wait instead for the beat of impulsion; that moment when it’s the right moment to move forward. It has given me the permission and wisdom to not be fooled by the expectations of the calendar and to instead move like the seasons do, who move and change when they decide it’s time to move and change. No amount of groaning by us humans alters a mid-April ice storm or +34 degree temperatures in the end of May. Enough green grass in the paddocks for the summer grazing pleasure of our horses is totally dependent upon enough rain for the grass to grow without scorching temperatures that would also dry it up. It’s a delicate balance and one I have absolutely no control over.
So here’s the question 11 months of farm life has taught me to ask:
How about letting go, even just a little of the stress and strain of expectations we internalize by our inner critic and the “judgy” eyebrow lifts of outer critics when we feel we have lagged behind because the clock has struck the next hour or the calendar has turned another page? How about releasing the stress and anxiety from unmet expectations of what we should have accomplished by a certain date and instead allow ourselves to feel the natural impulsion of timing instead of the expectation of timing?
Life here by no means has been totally unhinged to schedules, but my anxious worrying, hand wringing and fretting about “what should have been accomplished by now” has been given notice.