Take the Back Road
I try not to sink down too deep into negativity but, if I’m being honest, 2014 sucked. It was also amazing. This year I left the office. I built a dairy. I sunk everything into the farm and expanded it in the process. I took a lot of chances. This year we made enormous decisions about the future without any faith they would work out. But that’s how it is, in general. Choosing anything but inertia is a gamble.
These blogs are tricky little stories, and I decided long ago the genre of mine would be purely non-fiction. Mostly because I’m not a very private person, and also because I like honest farm stories. But this year there was a lot we kept private, in fact there was one enormous story line we buried years ago since it wasn’t exactly related to farming, was extremely personal – was extremely painful. This year, we decided to get proactive about the situation. We decided this would be the year of the dairy and possibly – finally – the year we’d start a family after so many years of that not working out. Maybe both would happen, maybe neither would. I decided to approach each goal the same way: stubborn persistence since – let’s face it – you only get one shot at life. So I jumped into both with equal fervor. I went straight from dairy building appointments to fertility doctor appointments. I got sick a lot from medicine, recovered from a few surgeries, but still dragged myself out to the front pasture and talked about electrical plans, milking systems, and the barn construction. If one wasn’t going to happen then I was determined the other would. And after several years, many recent months of tough choices and painful procedures: we’re getting both.
It’s a reflective time of year, naturally, this being the last day of one balanced on the cusp of another. So as I was driving down the winding back road into town today, I thought about everything that’s happened in 2014, one that I will remember as both very dark and very bright. I thought about the fact that there is a longer, but less treacherous road that leads to the same destination I was going into town. And then realized it’s not the route I ever choose. Every time I’m headed to the grocery store, my car turns on autopilot down the little road that twists, is marred with potholes, narrows down to only one lane and sometimes gets blocked by high water or crossing cows. But every time, every time, it’s the only one I’ll follow.
It’s been a hell of a year – raw, gritty, emotional, joyful. And now I’m ending it just as I end the third month of pregnancy (with twins). Two babies that will be born in the Year of the Goat, an animal just as stubborn as us. The same year we will, somehow, open the doors of this little dairy I built at a time when I also fought to build a family. There’s no real lesson in all this except for what I believe to be true: fight for what you want, regardless of the odds against it, and accept that it might not work out. (But it might.) But mostly, mostly – don’t be afraid of taking the back roads to get there.