There is an unusual stillness in the air this morning: not a stir of wind. It is not raining, nor snowing, no blzzard or squall: I've seen nothing like this for weeks. The weather has been swinging from -15 c to +15, from drifts of foot deep snow to torrential sheets of rain that melt it as promptly as it came leaving a splatter of red mud and squelchy softness. This morning it is still, perfectly still. I wonder what can be next as a the birds are high in the innocent sky.
All these categories of weather thrown at us this past couple of weeks have given me a good idea about the vulnerabilities and needs of the old house I've moved into recently: the spots where the roof leaks, the windows that rattle like dry old bones, the eves that the vermin have pulled insulation from, the electrical outlets tht breath icy cold air. I respond to her as she groans and drips and pull my chair closer to the fire.
I live alone in this grand old house that has room for a dozen, on a farm that used to encompass what are now 10 other holdings. I am a long way from what I still think of as home, the west coast of Canada, and I am rooted here now by the presence of the cows and my new field turned, covered cropped and ammended for the garden to come. But I am lonely today without the distraction of extreme weather and the emergency repairs it requires. An unavoidable opportunity to reflect upon the state of loneliness that the choice between freedom and obligation has imparted and the vulnerabilities and needs that the reality of my new world brings. I am a woman of the soil who cannot live without a garden of her own but who could not afford that where her deep and meaningful relationships lived. For now it's the sweet grainy breath of cows and outrageous phone bills that fill that need. But I am part of a legion of farmers with land and space for others, who struggle alone and dream of attracting the rare breed of idealist with common sense and ethic who can work as passionately as they think. I'll list my farm in SOIL or LLAF, perhaps the Intentional Communities, perhaps WWOOF. Perhaps I'll write away for a mail order bride or fill the house with Haitian children. What I do know today, in this stillness, is that I will not groan and drip in old age with just cows, earthworms and virtual farmers for comrads. That as basic as land without debt obligation is to me, so too is community that resides on the land.