These words. These words have been my mantra today.
This isn’t the sort of post I wanted to write this year, but it’s 2020 and if you haven’t had a dream or two broken over the last 5 months, then I don’t know what you’re doing but I need your secret sauce.
Yesterday was my last day at the writers’ colony. COVID took its toll on our business just long enough, and unfortunately, I have to step away in the hopes that everything will return to normal and maybe – hopefully – I can come back.
July has been a really shit month for me. It was at the very end of June that I got word about my employment. Then, of course, one of our baby goats went missing and was never found. On Wednesday morning, we had another young goat die overnight, after which we found out that many of our goats are anemic and need involved treatment for the foreseeable future. In that case, I’m just glad I’m aware. Now, I can do the work.
It’s been hard to think about the future with the present demanding so much of my attention. But I’ve been thinking about the past, too. And that is actually why I wanted to write today – to reflect on what’s been good and believe that what’s ahead will be just as promising. Because the sun is shining and I still have a wedding to plan and a home to live in and 13 goats to manage. I still have my words, I still have my family, I still have hope. Or at least, I have no choice but to believe that I do.
So, here goes:
From the two old ladies who walk Giles Hill Road and wave at my passing car every morning, to the cats who greet me looking for food, to the writers who have made me feel known and appreciated, I’m going to miss you all. For the last two years, I’ve had the unique privilege to encourage writers to believe in themselves and do the things that I have had little time or energy to do myself. Through this, I have discovered so many facets of my own being that I didn’t know existed. I’ve uncovered a passion and a purpose in my writing. I’ve trapped groundhogs and warded off snakes. I’ve cleaned hair out of shower drains. I’ve plunged toilets and cooked a weekend full of meals for 12 people with 5 different diets (not in that order, but it made you think, didn’t it?) I’ve been able to tweet and photograph inspiring moments to an audience of over 1000, even if most of them never knew it was me. I’ve devised and taught workshops, built benches, and weeded for hours on end in the hot sunlight. I’ve held writers through panic attacks and sad stories. I’ve seen, heard, and read some crazy things. The last two years have been filled with a multitude of unexpected ups and downs, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. My heart breaks thinking about the next normal job I’ll have to find – how nothing will ever be like this.
Everything feels broken – my job, my goats, democracy, the world – but it’s going to be okay. It’s going to be okay.
Even though yesterday was the “end,” today marks the beginning, and I have to admit I feel more alive now than I have all month. Maybe it’s the impending sense of doom, maybe it’s peace with the inevitability of this moment. But when I got up this morning, the goats were already up and at it, traveling in packs as they ate up the tall weeds in the half of the pasture we just opened. The “sickly” little boy who raised our awareness came running up to meet me at the gate. The mamas who lost their kids were standing protectively with those remaining. They’ve been healing. I’ve been healing. Together, we’re growing. We’re going to be okay.
August will be better. August will be a time of growth. This month, I’m going to meet the woman I’m becoming through these experiences. I don’t know what she’ll have me do, but just like everything else, I’m sure it’s bound to be unexpected. Opportunity awaits.