In the weeds

It’s hard to believe it’s only been a year since I was moving off of my old farm onto a rented farm in a different town. It was a transitional time in so many ways and it was hard to keep my ship headed in the right direction because of the dense fog. I was focused, but scattered. I felt strong, but also vulnerable. I knew change was a healthy thing, but I still felt fear. I was living in two places at once with animals to take care of at both places. My thoughts were traveling in circles, and my perspective was out of whack. It’s hard to remember how that felt, or maybe I just don’t want to

Perspective. Being able to see the circumstances we find ourselves in for what they really are. Taking steps backwards to get a bigger picture, or finding a new angle that provides a different viewpoint. When you are in the middle of things, your feelings are king. When I was a chef there was a phrase “in the weeds” that meant, overall, that you were working at full capacity and beyond, as tickets piled up and stovetops were full of sizzling hot pans. Essentially it meant you were in total chaos that was somehow under a tiny bit of control. At those times chefs can feel an adrenaline  rush and clarity of mind, I imagine much like rock climbers or fly fisherman. That focus that you get in intense activities that  is beyond the self. The self becomes the vehicle being driven with total concentration. Sometimes in those moments we lose ourselves and become happy. One with the world. Our problems don’t own us.

In a way, we are all “in the weeds” all the time. We just don’t recognize it as such. As soon as we are born we are in the weeds. Trying to breathe, craving comfort, food, warmth.  It’s pretty damn amazing that we are alive today. When I feel that sense of  wonder, I am filled with gratitude. Gratitude helps remind me that I am going to die at some point, and the grand mystery unfolding all around me is unimaginably beautiful. Somehow we can ignore for hours, days, weeks, years at a time, but in the end, when we look back, I am sure we will hold the times of beauty closest to our hearts. In the end, I want  to be filled with gratitude.

As I watched a violent movie last night I told my girlfriend, in jest, that I had decided not to die. This morning I found one of my newly born piglets cold and dead. Hundreds of thousands of animals will die today, and hundreds will be born. The only thing we truly own is our own bodies and the breathes that we take. One day those breaths will end, and meanwhile I will try to make each one count.

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