Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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©Katherine Dunn.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

I got lost in the future but the old donkey pulled me back

This morning I was on the tractor and caught this photo on my phone of Mother Matilda, grainy but a dreamy image that captures the essence of that second. And then I had this epiphany–I remembered where I am and that everything is okay.

You see, last week when I hurt my ankle, I sat on a chair in the living room immediately after it happened, and it really hurt. I actually went into a different place, like I went into the future time zone somehow. I got a bit depressed because I shocked myself into a future reality that may or may not happen. I began to question if we should stay here as we age, I imagined all sorts of scary scenarios that could happen if one of use fell ill or broke a leg. I have seen farms fall apart like this. I have seen farmers and animal caretakers grow old and the consequences to them and their charges.

I was very out of sorts for a few days, and I realized it was because of what would have to happen if we were to leave the farm in the near future. It was the animals, the responsibility to the animals-all of them, including my flock, that got me over thinking. Some farms would take a flock to auction if they had to move quickly [assuming they could not find other farms to take them]. I have never been to an auction and will never go to one. My practice and covenant to myself and my animals is nobody goes to auction, even the non working ewes, or ewes that become disabled in some way. Everyone dies here. I have two retired ewes right now, Daisy and Lilly, who are living with The Misfits, and they will be there until they die. There are thirty other sheep behind them. I choose to farm this way, it is not necessarily something that other farms-or most-would or even could do due to economics, space, paddock use and manpower. I get it, I also respect it.

But I went forward to a place and time that did not exist. A time where I had to leave the farm and rehome as many animals as I could, and make hard decisions about elders.

This morning, my ankle, which I injured 6 days ago, is starting to come back to normal. I was able to put my Muck boot on without the Ace Bandage today. It still is limited in quick movements, or certain positioning so I am still being very cautious with it. But as I got on the tractor and witnessed this beautiful autumn morning, on our land that we love, I remembered an important fact-

It's today–

not next week or next year, or twenty years from now. Don't worry about what hasn't happened a wise person once told me. It's a waste of energy.

While I need to be aware-as does anyone of any age that moves to a farm and has a lot of creatures-that there are many responsibilities that are part of this life-physical, financial and emotional. While I don't put the animals above me, I do consider them to be individuals that need my constant attention–when something goes wrong, that becomes the priority, not what I'm having for lunch. That is perhaps the part of doing this that many don't realize-the wear and tear to one's inner head. The responsibility to each animal-what is best for them today, and tomorrow and their entire lives-is always there. You can't shake it.

But today is today, and so far this morning, all is well. And as I took time to stop and visit with Matilda, I found this tiny leaf on her back. Definitely a message for the moment.


lishofmann said...

Ohhh ... how well I know the razor's edge of falling into fear versus practical, responsible thinking/planning. What I have to remember is I cannot begin to imagine the forces that will come forward to support me should the need arise. What is the saying, tether your camel and then trust in Allah? Do our work, do our part but then we must surrender the outcome (the camel staying tethered, not running away) to forces greater than ourselves. Take care with your health, take care with the farm and the misfits as that is all that can be done at this moment. Laying a good foundation. Then trusting that other hands will come in to lift you all up when and if that should be needed in the future. I think it must be a common fear, as we get older, this concern for when we will no longer be physically able to carry on our responsibilities. This is why I find building community so essential now ... the individualism of our modern society is lacking this vital piece of support but so many are addressing that now. I don't have donkeys or old goats, but I tell The Girl she has many many MANY aunties out there and that brings us both a level of comfort and ease. Do take care with the ankle! Having sprained many an ankle in the past, rushing it only results in a weak ankle "slipping out" again. xo

Katherine Dunn/Apifera Farm said...

This comment is so perfect for me, and to hear it now is perfect too. The community of intimate relationships needed more and more, the trusting that at a time when needed we will have strength and help- yes, all of it.

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Thank you for reading! The farm and my art/writing keep me hopping, so might not respond immediately. Thank you for understanding. ~Katherine & Apifera ~