The Rear View
You can breathe a collective sigh of relief because I am not going to write a long rambling post detailing the successes and failures of last year, which officially became “last year” only yesterday. I am not going to evaluate the idiocy or genius of each decision, pick apart what could have been done better, or rate my overall performance as a human. Nor will I stroll back into a memory littered with regrets about the enormous losses we experienced here, some avoidable. Some not.
Last year I learned the obvious lessons one might expect from a person’s first year living full throttle on a small farm: the weather matters most, feed is expensive, hay costs even more, everything will hurt a little, everything will stink a little, and – very important: where there is livestock there is dead stock. This truth came across as a sucker punch the first few times, but now it’s ground deep into every dirt-encrusted pore. Last year I learned the most about loss, a pain still metallic in my mouth. A hollow thud in my gut. A dread-smeared worry that whispers on my shoulder no matter what, no matter when.
The antidote to all of this is the food we grew, raised, or made, despite or because of the weather, the high feed and hay prices, the physical strain, the inevitable aromas. And the fear of dead stock can’t keep me from the livestock – our extended family of wooly beasts whose time here, however fleeting, leave indentations that will forever change our shape.
This year I intend to be gentler on myself. Learning from all the “last years” is the best we can do, trudging into this new one. Happiest new year to you and yours, be they two or four legged, feathered or furred.