Seeing the Wood for the Trees (and the tree for the wood)
On the same day that I blew out my birthday candles and blew into a new decade of my life, Storm Ali came and blew a 150ft beech tree over into our sheep paddock. I'd received an email the night before, telling us that work on our fencing for the sheep was scheduled to begin in 3 weeks time. We'd celebrated, the end was in sight. No more chasing sheep across the fields they weren't supposed to be in. No more leading bad goats out of the rose bushes and into the field they jumped out of. No more 'chats' with our neighbour who is oh so very sick of seeing our sheep in his field. And then, just as quick as we could dream of this easier life that awaited us at the end of October, we watched as the storm took out 20ft of the wall that was going to be used for the electric wire, as well as the back door and lintel to the dying studio that we'd worked so hard to set up. As we stood surveying the damage, Kevin and I looked at each other and burst out laughing.
There are days where I walk around and all I can see are the things we need to do. The overflowing compost, the veg garden that desperately needs sorting for autumn, the laundry that seems to perpetually be the size of a small island off the west coast, the fencing, the trees needing pruned, the apples needing processed, the emails needing written, the kittens needing rehomed, the hay needing ordering and so on and so forth ad nauseam. It is literally endless, and, except in the few moments of absolute exhaustion that pop along from time to time, rarely feels burdensome.
The sheer work of this place, of this life we are trying to carve out for ourselves here on this windy hill has shaped us in ways I wouldn't have predicted. As someone who likes to tick things off a list, I would've expected myself to be felled like that beech tree by the unrelenting effort it takes to keep us afloat. I am a runner - things get hard and I am the first to walk away. Somehow though, it's those aspects of myself that have worn away in the last five years. We've cultivated a keen sense of the ridiculous and learned to always choose to laugh when given the option of laughing or crying.
We turn up, do the work and choose to see both the hole in the fence and next year's wood pile in that fallen beech tree.