Farm life soothes with tedium, richness

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“Whenever I have worked on farms, I have found my thoughts drifting back to the early agricultural parables, perhaps because the very nature of manual work leaves one’s mind open to unhampered thinking, and perhaps because many farm chores today are remarkably unremoved from farm chores thousands of years old — shoveling out irrigation canals and mounding dikes, milking cows or collecting seed.” — Nora Janssen Seton, The Road to My Farm

In the early morning quiet, before the world beckons attention to various matters, this is the time the farm is the loveliest place to be.

Yellow finch dance on the pasture wires, the swallows and wrens zip and dip about, flying from tree to shrubs before taking off to explore. Butterflies and hummingbirds hover over late summer flowers. Squirrels and chipmunks scamper about, providing my farm dogs an early morning game of chase.

Before long, the quiet is chased away by the demand of a much larger world. The horror of headlines and telecasts invade this peaceful place, and while I realize we as a people need to stay informed, there are many days I long for quiet and solitude and freedom from knowing truths too painful to comprehend.

Solace in country life

I have long believed that country life offers a peace that is needed by an aching society. It offers a reprove from the grinding pace as well as the inherent anger and stress that invariably brews from living in cramped, noisy, demanding places with little hope for escape to a better place.

Isolationists have been told for a century that this tack will not work. We cannot un-know the known, though ignorance really would be bliss. Somehow we all must grasp what a horrific world exists and find a way to battle it.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world” is a quote I have long held on to, especially in the years I was raising my children.

I think what seems achingly and overwhelmingly tough is that the changes we wish to see are incredibly mountainous, seemingly impossible to scale.

A wise old gentleman once told me to never lose hope for a better world; he urged me to keep in mind that forever throughout humanity there have been both good and evil, constructive and destructive forces, man destroying and mankind building and bettering.

Author Nora Janssen Seton, in exploring her own personal longing to purchase a farm after earning a Harvard degree, posed the question, “Do we perceive agriculture as a chore and the burdensome province of the poorest tier of the laity, or do we see agriculture as a wisdom and the blessed inheritance of mankind? In fact, it is a little of both, as is true with most of life.

“Farming encompasses both the tedium of manual labor and the richness of the most elaborate science.”

I just know for many people who lived on and loved the land, leaving it seemed a good idea. For many, as the years rolled by, they often found themselves longing for the work and tedium that comes with farming, because along with it all also comes peace, joy, a connection to nature that is somehow incredibly healing.

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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, in college.

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