It’s not that I believe nothing good will happen in my future. It’s more that I’m still letting go of all those dreams of the past.
It’s not that I’m unable to glimpse other possibilities. It’s more that I’ve spent so many years moving in a certain direction that inertia keeps me going.
This is the perfect time of year to find where exactly I want to go. Things in the natural world tend to go underground. What’s above the surface is watchful and purposeful.
I’ve spent too much time beating myself up for not being younger and more conventionally ambitious.
I’ve raised eight kids. I’ve built two micro-farms. I’ve established a land-based learning center. I’ve gone to grad school, worked as a desert archaeologist, and I teach in a college.
On this track, I developed some ideas about where all of this might take me. I watched it all blow up in my face a few years ago. “We wrecked it in our own backyard,” as the poet said.
I’ve been digging deep and it tends to take me deep into the past.
I’ve been looking at how earlier experiences connect to my current experiences.
It’s bittersweet, for sure.
I guess all of this shit is compost for composing this new life.
There are some things that I’d been an arrow aiming for that simply are not going to happen.
I have friends who say “don’t say that!” “Don’t say it won’t happen!”
Some of the same friends who don’t want to hear me say that I’m old.
But really, friends, some things are not going to take form right now, not at my age, not in the current economic and academic environment of my world. And I’m not young anymore.
All this really means is that other things will move more easily into this vacuum. And that I know where I am in the continuum of this life.
Things change. People come and go. Other people get sick. We get old. Depending on which day you catch me, I’ll tell you different things about how I feel about “getting old.”
Mostly it is what it is. I’m working against a deadline. I know a helluva lot about deadlines. I’ve got this one.
That part is good. Maybe I’m not as ambitious as some people might like me to be. That doesn’t mean I don’t like to work. I do. I’ve got one piece of work that I really enjoy and I’m paid a little to do it. I have another piece of work that I don’t get paid in money to do, but I’ll never stop doing it, as long as I’m able.
None of this is enough to support me, so I have to fill in the blanks. I have to find more “work worth doing,” as John Holt put it succinctly.
I miss doing art. I feel it tugging at me. In fact, I can feel my bones getting ready to turn in my grave if I don’t do something about that longing for art.
And, yes, I know gardening is art. I think that has sustained me over the long haul. But. Still. I know there is more.
So in these two weeks, while I recover from this god-awful virus or whatever the tests show it is, and before I go back to work, I am going to do a lot of sitting.
I’m going to just sit and let the waters clear. I’m going to see what I can see. There’s a future, out there somewhere in January, and I want to see clearly enough to walk into it.