“I once knew an old lady who lived by herself in the Golfen valley of Herefordshire. She was one of the happiest old women I have met. She described to me all the work she and her mother used to do when she was a child: washing on Monday, butter-making on Tuesday, market on Wednesday, and so on. “It all sounds like a lot of hard work,” I said to her. “Yes, but nobody ever told us then,” she said in her Herefordshire accent. “Told you what?” “Told us there was anything wrong with work!”
Outside today, I could feel the crisp autumn chill in the air with a slight warmth from the sunshine. I stopped and breathed in the pure country air, listened to the chirping of the hidden crickets and other tiny creatures, observed the natural order hidden in everything around me, unobserved most of the time, sometimes as visible as the intricate threads of a spiders web when I picture it, closing my eyes, listening, and feeling. Day to day when we rush around going from A to B without any awareness, with our eyes only as open as they need to be to perform what we have set out to do, much is lost.
Spreading fresh straw around the goat paddock I felt sincerely that there was nothing I would rather be doing at that moment. This is work, yet as children we were taught that work as something to be avoided, a means to an end. I certainly never felt the way I do now while shuffling around in the toxic air of office jobs.
My husband took over much of the work outdoors as my belly become rounder with pregnancy and all my strength seemed to go towards growing this baby after around the eighth month. Nine months later I feel I have regained my strength. I walk out the door with a smile on my face to breathe in the morning air, feel the chill on my skin and say hello to the goats as they bleat appreciatively at the sight of their hay being refilled.
Maybe I’ll have other ideas about work when we have hay to make, vegetables to harvest, acres of weeding to do and all that comes with what we’re getting into. I hope not. I hope I have the sense to go about these things slowly sometimes, observant, with the knowledge that I’m living exactly as I want to live.
Tomorrow we officially own a few acres of land. I am all at once elated, nervous, overwhelmed and relieved that this is finally happening, the life I have been dreaming of for over a decade.