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Embracing Change

What a year.

I began this year with the highest hopes. I turned in my notice to quit the corporate job and work the farm full time. I applied and was accepted to two new markets in two new towns. Plans were moving along without a hitch for our wedding and adoption celebration. We had the best familymoon ever planned and ready to go. It was going to be the best, most rewarding year of our lives. We were ready.

And then COVID hit. And our home flooded because of an avoidable electrical issue. And political turmoil ramped up even harder than before. And our communities were forced to finally bear witness to atrocities against American men and women of color. And horrific injustices were met by our elected leaders with more racism and civil war. And our neighbors and friends became people we couldn’t trust or understand anymore. And the light and love just got sucked out of the world, like a flame blown out by the coldest wind my generation’s ever seen.  

The Brand New Buck Family got knocked on our butts very quickly. We went from having multiple income streams to just one. We had an entire basement to rip out and rebuild. The flood took so much. I lost the girls’ baby books. Two of my markets fell through. Our plan to secure healthcare through my bearded man’s job fell through. Our honeymoon needed to be postponed and may eventually be permanently cancelled. We cancelled the wedding and adoption celebration, too. We may or may not host a celebration in the future, but it’s uncertain. And now, we’re moving – jumping the gun on our 5 year plan because frankly if I am to make this farm work and be profitable, I need Much. More. Space. So we’re selling our beautiful microfarm and potentially moving out of state. I’ve cried more this year than I have in many years.

And all the while, the heartbeat of our community is muffled, angry, and divided. No harvest celebrations. No apple orchard field trips. No co-op gatherings for the kiddos, or Saturday-night potlucks, or new-baby snuggles, or birthday celebrations, or weddings.

What a year.

And yet….I sit here, typing this in my warm living room. My girls are happily working on their homeschooling studies. My latest seasonal soaps (Freshly Fallen Snow – new blend coming this winter!) are cooling in the kitchen. A candle flickers beside me and I draw comfort from its glow. I’m wearing my favorite shawl, the yarn wrapped around me like a royal robe. We have elderberry syrup curing in the pantry and a very special bearded man birthday to soon celebrate. The pups are curled up and sleeping and a music box from Annabelle’s room accompanies the sound of the breeze through the leaves. The air outside turned crisp just yesterday. The rain fell in sheets and buckets and now we’re shrouded in a gray but cozy blanket of cloud cover. The leaves are turning earlier this year than they ever have before and my flowers seem to nod their heads in agreement….yes…they say…yes, we are ready for an early rest this year. Bring on the gold, amber, and crimson. We all need the rest.

Despite the year’s hardships, I sit with a roof over my head, soft cushions underneath me, bread baking in the oven, a man who works tirelessly to allow me these pleasures, two brilliant and healthy kids, and family and friends who support and love with hearts so big I can barely handle it. We’re still going to have a little marriage and adoption ceremony in a few weeks. It’ll be just the four of us, all prettied up and adorned in my flowers. It’ll be different. It’ll be good. And the fields keep growing and showing me bounty through the madness.

Change is necessary. Change is hard. Change brings forward so many feelings of fear and uncertainty. My imagination runs wild thinking of all the horrible things that may happen because of my choices today….but then again, my imagination runs wild thinking of all the amazing things that may happen because of my choices today.

The magic isn’t waiting at the end of our transformation. We won’t feel a huge rush of normalcy when COVID “ends” and we won’t suddenly be united again after the next president is chosen and we won’t wake up and finally see all our fellow Americans receiving equal rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The magic isn’t waiting at the fulfillment of wishes and hopes and dreams. It’s right here, in what we do right now, in this breathless moment of anguish and limbo…this is where we find magic. It’s the way we hold one another. It’s the way we hold ourselves. It’s the way we speak to those who disagree. It’s the way we fight for those who cannot speak.

To remain stubbornly stagnant in a time of change is to deny yourself the opportunity to grow. It’s like cutting off your blossoms because you don’t want anyone to bother your roots. Your stems will break if you don’t bend in the wind. The darkness will dissolve you if you don’t seek out the sun. Growth is the perfect dancing partner to change. It is hard. It is miserable. It is emotional. But growth, like change, is necessary.

And so grow, we shall.

Our new home, wherever it ends up being, is a fresh beginning for our little family. We’re walking into it with gratuity and – if I’m honest – a renewed pride in what we do, who we support, and what we believe in. I’ve lived most of my life caring about the opinions of others and seeking approval from the people who mean the most to me. I am excited and thrilled to think of creating a life without such restrictions – a life where I can support those who need support, including myself.

Let’s see where this wind of change takes us.

Sending pretty, crispy leaves your way,

Jen and the Dancing Feathers Farm Crew

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