I’ve been loving Anne Lamott lately. She lives just north of San Francisco, so she’s always walking around on the hills of Marin County. That is a lovely, sacred place up there. As Wimbo says, its smells like “sun-drenched eucalyptus.” She is so irreverent (Anne, not Wimbo), talking about her hatred, literally, of the Republican party. But its her honesty that makes her so easy to relate to and such a joy to read. She talks about her love/hate relationship with her body. She writes about trying to do well but failing most of the time. She is self-deprecating in a way that makes you, as the reader, feel normal. Grace is always the theme of her books.
Usually, she’s fairly light-hearted in her story-telling, even as she shares about God and her faith. Every now and then, though, she has this heavy wisdom that smacks you in between the eyes.
Last night, I read the second to last chapter in Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith. In it, she shares with the reader the advice she usually reserves for graduates when she is asked to give a commencement speech. Its not your typical, Go get ’em tigers, message. Instead of run in the rat race and shoot for your dreams and try your best to succeed, she says get to know yourself. She says that, as a successful writer, she’s reached her dreams, but that hole inside of her has not been suddenly filled up now that she has arrived. So, her advice is rest and pray and enjoy life. Okay, so you have to pay your bills. And, hopefully you can do that by working at a job that you love. But, her point is that getting that dream job is not what’s going to make you happy.
Her message is very applicable to us. Gregg sold his chickens. I was disappointing and sad about it, but he felt relieved. Day after day, he was watching their numbers decline due to the foxes and hawks and whatever else. He says that he was over-eager. He was so ready to get started working with animals, but he didn’t really have a plan. Oops. To his credit, he didn’t really know what the plan needed to be. So, what now? Quit? Go home? Pack up and move back to Knoxville? We’ve thought about it, but no. We’re sticking it out here. He’s got more to learn, A LOT more to learn. And, more and more, I think that learning is the point of all this. Making money is not the point. Hopefully that will come eventually, learning how to make money from farming. But, now, and maybe for awhile. The point is how to plan and care for animals and get something in return (eggs, wool, milk, meat, whatever).
So, we are (probably) moving, but not out of town. We are going to move to a farmhouse on the Eastern Shore. Ugh. Moving again. This makes house #4(!!) for us since we’ve been married. I can’t wait to show some pictures of the house. Its got wallpaper in the hallways which I kind of love, but then the carpet is just ridiculous. It has swirlies on it. And I think there’s hardwood under it! Oh well. The reason we are strongly considering the move has nothing to do with the wallpaper or carpet. Gregg needs to live with his animals. With the chickens, he had a fifteen minute drive every morning and evening, and then he wasn’t there with them during the day to protect them and all of that. About an acre or two of land comes with the farmhouse. On the land is a fence, a barn, a shed, a grain storage bin. All the things a farmless farmer needs to become an actual farmer. And all these things are already in place, ready for Gregg.