Everything that matters

There’s a beautiful photo essay on Emergence Magazine this week, text by Erik Jacobs and photos by his wife, Dina Rudick. Erik has been battling cancer during the pandemic. He writes about that, and his struggle with “opposing notions of purpose: his long-held dream of tending a thriving farm and the persisting urban reality of his small, fenced-in yard” in Boston.

I couldn’t help but notice—the Someday Farm Jacobs describes is my actual life today:

Twenty-five acres of fertile fields and forest, with a pond and a stream. There’s a barn there, full of history and swallows, a Jersey cow for milk, chickens and goats, and endless space where my kids can run, barefoot and free. There, days are a Divine Office attuned to the rhythm of the seasons and demands of place. A patch of land where I can control the chaos of the world and insulate my family from its future. A home where I care for the earth and am fed in return, body and soul. And eventually, when my time comes, I will lie down, wrap the soil blankets around me, and finally rest.

How blessed am I.

Twenty-four acres of (not so) fertile fields and forest

The pond belongs to our neighbour, but that in no way decreases our enjoyment of it

Our barn is full of the history we made when we raised it with our family and friends

Our milk cow is a Holstein and we share with her calf

Our goats didn’t work out well, but the pigs make up for it

There is endless space for my grandchildren to run free

Here, “days are a Divine Office attuned to the rhythm of the seasons and demands of place”

“A patch of land where I can [escape if not] control the chaos of the world”

“A home where I care for the earth and am fed in return, body and soul”

“And eventually, when my time comes, I will lie down, wrap the soil blankets around me, and finally rest”

The losses I’ve been grappling with during this pandemic pale in comparison to what Erik Jacobs and his family are going through. Like them, my losses did not result from the coronavirus, but as Jacobs so eloquently puts it, fear and death become a prism, “shattering my existence into a spectrum of truths previously unseen.”

I remember when our someday farm existed only in our imaginations, which gives me hope that Erik Jacobs and his family will find their farm one day. Even if they never do, they have found everything that matters.

As have I.

6 Responses to “Everything that matters”

  1. Avatar carin

    I felt myself breathing slower as I read this. The most important thing about paradise is knowing you live there.

    Reply
    • commatologist commatologist

      Carin, yes! I really love what Jacobs wrote in his essay:

      “My fixation on our Someday Farm, to the exclusion of what lay before me, feels like a virtuous cousin of the flaw that endangers our species: the tendency to desire and consume anything and everything, simply because we can. The trait that keeps us hungry and searching, even though we’re already fed. I had tasted the sweetness of life lived close to the earth, and I wanted more: more land, more years to tend it, more unobstructed sunsets—a deeper well of connection. I still want that. But what’s been illuminating in sickness and this pandemic is how much of that deep well I can touch right here, if I can shut out the world of what’s infinitely possible and instead focus on the infinity that lies between me and the horizon.”

      Reply

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