farm life

Where We Belong

I grew up learning how to fly fish. I’d spend the afternoon wading into a bubbling stream, a fishing pole in one hand, and a tacklebox in the other. The sounds of birds cheerfully overhead with their sing-song voices echoing through the forest. The wisp of my fishing line zipping through the air as I made my cast and the feel of it slipping through my fingers as I gently pulled my fly back in again. It was one of my most favorite childhood memories.

There’s something both humbling and healing about nature, it has a way of reaching into the soul to soothe the ache for places untouched by the horrors of humanity. It didn’t matter if I caught a fish that day or not. No classroom lecture was more valuable than the lessons nature was able to teach me. Dragging my kayak into a muddy river, stretching my legs across the bow and dipping my feet into the water below to allow tiny fish to nibble on my toes… it was exactly where I belonged.

If I’m being honest, it’s where we all belong. Not fighting against nature by being cooped up in town houses or living in suburbia. Not surrounded by people who measure the length of their grass rather than letting it grow so that birds and foxes can nest. The ridiculousness of HOA squabbles set aside along with petty neighborhood arguments over things that are truly meaningless to the bigger picture. Spending our lives being afraid over how we’re going to come up with the funds to pay large mortgages in an effort to keep a roof over the heads of our children. Worse yet, trying to figure out how to put food on the table when the cost of produce continually rises. Instead, we should choose to allow the dirt we walk on and the labor of our hands to do the providing while sharing that nourishment with others. Prioritizing our needs over the love of things.

When I had my son, it was vitally important to me that he have the opportunity to grow up with this kind of freedom. Not just to visit it or only be allowed to taste what a life like this could offer only once in a while… but to own it every single day. To learn about different animals, share our home with nature, and watch my boy discover the beauty of growing our own food. To teach him the responsibility of nurturing the world around us while maintaining empathy for the only planet we have to live on. To teach him that in buying less, we actually have so much more.

When the pandemic hit, many people discovered the value in this way of life than ever before. My city living friends were flocking to buy homesteads. I witnessed more people put down their cell phones than ever before. Adults helped their neighbors cope, parents began taking charge of their children’s education, and best of all… people were actually interacting with nature. News sources were put on mute and choices were made to take back what’s always been the most valuable thing of all… our freedom.

Animals walked among skyscrapers, whales were able to move closer to the shoreline to feed rather than starve. Smog cleared and the earth began the process of healing. No one had ever seen such incredible phenomenon’s… right up until we reverted back to old habits. That’s when the healing began to rot again. Nothing changed for our little farm though. We continued to wake up surrounded by woodland nature. We fed our animals, tended to our garden, and best of all… we spent summer days teaching our son how to fish. We hiked our way up mountain tops to explore, left nothing but footprints behind, and continued working towards living below our means.

In South Korea my husband and I saw apartment homes full of community gardens. Everywhere you looked, people found a way to plant beautiful things in the ugliest of places and they did their best to help one another. This lifestyle isn’t the only way to live, but it’s one of the better options available. The cost of borrowing large sums of money to live above your means will take a toll on your health. Taking walks while breathing in toxic fumes will cut years off of your life. Raising children in an environment that’s lacking humanity can teach them to become immune to the inhumane.

So how do we fix it? When the next pandemic or natural disaster happens and it’s too late to teach such valuable survival skills… where will we be then? The world as we know it is changing everyday. Human nature is adding toxins into our food sources and dumping trash into the earth. Never before have we seen so many life altering illnesses and mental health distress. So… where do we go from here? My family packed up everything we owned to create a new way of living. How about you? Where do you see yourself? What do you think you can do to help?

Nikolai fishing with daddy
Cellphone shot of one of my favorite places

6 thoughts on “Where We Belong”

  1. Such a beautiful and thoughtful post, LaShelle. I come from rural midwestern roots, so although not a farm boy, I can identify with many of the feelings you express here. I’m not anti-technology, yet it drives me nuts to see a family all sitting around on their phones while they’re out for dinner rather than engaging with the people in front of them. Choosing quality of life over acquiring stuff is the life we all should live.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh I was so worried when I posted this that I came off sounding judgmental. I’m SO glad you took it the way I intended. I almost decided not to post it at all and now I’m glad I did. Thanks for the confidence Pete!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know that all bloggers are different, but I gravitate to those who put it out there in an honest but not overly judgmental kind of way. Honesty—always honesty. Mission accomplished!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve always made an effort to appreciate every blessing we have instead of chasing the what-ifs and the things others have… My upbringing had a great influence on how I view material things now… while they are nice to have, I know from experience we can live and do with so very little and still be happy… I have noticed the same with this pandemic… drilling back to basics, the things that really matter are family and friends, those connections and our health.. I’ve said it many times and I’ll say it again, I hate that this pandemic happened and while I want us to go back to “normal” again, I hope we don’t go back to the way we were as a society… taking so many things for granted and forever chasing abundance… thanks for your honesty LaShelle! Your childhood sounds like a dream! 🙂

    Like

    1. Ahhh your comment made my week. I’m so thankful you took how I wrote this exactly as I hoped people would. I was worried people would think I was calling them out. 😬 I’m so glad you feel the same way I do. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

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