Some chickens are Rhode Islands, but no man is an island
It is one of those days. Those weeks. Those months. Normally here at Jolly Folly Farm, I try to stay focused on farming, farm issues, and animal welfare issues. No one likes a whiner. No one. A few years ago there was another farmer who enjoyed whingeing. Everywhere he looked, there was some sort of problem. Everything he experienced was "for" him or "against" him. It was exhausting just to see. Every human who has ever really lived has been on the receiving end of the shortcomings of other folks and of the world at large. Some of us have been dealt a sharp blow in the short-term. Some of us have have been worn down daily by circumstances and people that conflict with how we want to be in this world. How we react -- with anger and bluster or with endurance and grace -- determines the effect those experiences will have on us and the effect we have on people around us.
So why is your egg farmer prattling on about non-farming issues? Because as I sit here, selling and not-selling eggs, I'm watching cars drive by and shivering in the once-warm afternoon now turned frosty. I love watching the cars, I love the fresh air, but there is an ever-present fog that hovers over my mind most days. Sometimes it just makes me forgetful, sometimes it makes me stop in my tracks, paralyzed with the inability to decide which way to turn. I am, in some ways, overwhelmed and drowning by the recent events in my own life. But I am also keenly aware that each car that passes holds a passenger who has, who is or who will experience the same thing.
I could bore you, amuse you or shock you with the things that have happened to create this mental fog -- but those details are meaningless. What does have meaning, though, is that no matter what I experience, no matter what you experience, you are not alone. Sadness, exhaustion, frustration, futility, depression come to each of us in different ways. No one who chooses to truly live is ever immune to these things.
A friend and customer stopped by last week and was going through some tough stuff. I know she is still going through some tough stuff. I couldn't stop myself from grabbing her in a hug and praying with her right there in the parking lot. We both agreed that if you are fortunate to live long enough, this planet holds a lot of garbage that we all have to wade through until we get to the other side. For me, my faith is the only thing that makes each day bearable. As I told my friend in my less-than-poetic language: "If I believed that this life here on Earth was all there is, it would be unliveable -- because sometimes it's really a bunch of crap you just have endure and do the best you can while you're here. Heaven is the reality - not THIS. This is crap." We both laughed. In spite of the garbage the world likes to throw at each human, we enjoyed a laugh -- because in that moment, we were not alone.
So, for what it's worth, I just had a compelling need to put that out there. Maybe it's ME who needed to tell myself, or maybe it's you who needed to know. There are so many farmy things I SHOULD be putting up on here. I have the notes for my sprouting experiment and need to upload the pictures. I have notes for tips on navigating the world of roadside stands. But, like I keep saying on here, today is one of those days. And it comes in the middle of one of those weeks. Which follows one of those months . Which is part of one of those years. So I feel the need to tell everyone and anyone who might read this -- you are not alone.
I don't know what keeps you going. But I do know, you are NOT alone. I cannot count the pebbles beneath my boots, nor can I count the people that pass by that are in pain. But measuring, numerizing and tallying those things is meaningless. What matters is that we are here, and if we choose to be, we are together. Yes, I am happy to tell you about my chickens. Sure, I love singing the praises of Farmer Tom's awesome jam. But more importantly, I just had to spread the word that you ARE NOT alone. Eggs are $5, but camaraderie, prayers, hugs and commiseration are FREE and plentiful and never sold out. You are NOT alone.