Stick in the Mud

July 20, 2011 § 5 Comments

We do not take regular vacations. We do not take summer vacations for all the obvious reasons: Cows to be milked, pigs to be slopped, chickens to be fed, firewood to be cut, split, and stacked, hay to be hayed, blueberries to be picked, and on and on and on. In the winter, when the farm demands least, we do not take vacations for other reasons: Wood stoves to be fed, quarter-mile driveway to be plowed, solar system to be monitored. And still, cows to be milked, chickens to be fed, and on and on and on. We also do not take vacations because, generally speaking, vacations cost more money than staying put.

A few years back, we corralled an adventurous family into the task of house-sitting during December and January. I bought an old Dodge van off Craigslist; we built a bed into the back, packed it with two months worth of staple foods, strapped kayaks and bikes onto the roof, and drove south. We spend nearly eight weeks exploring the state parks in Florida, which are stunning. We also managed to time our trip to coincide with the coldest southern winter in recent history. During our time in the Everglades, the temperature dropped to 34-degrees. Fish were dying and I was cursing. Still, the trip as a whole was splendid fun.

And yet we were ecstatic to return home. This is yet another reason we don’t take regular vacations: We just don’t feel like them. Yes, we work hard. Yes, we are busy. But it is work and busyness of our choosing. It is self-inflicted and it is satisfying and gratifying in a way that seems to build on itself and carry us until the season changes and the rhythm of our life necessarily changes. Do I get tired? Yes. Do I get frustrated? Yes. But I can honestly say that on at least nine of ten mornings I awaken excited for what the day will bring.

I realize I run the risk of sounding like a stick in the mud. And to be clear, I do enjoy seeing other parts of the world; I’ve been to Europe, Tobago, and both coasts of Canada. But the more time I spend on this land, the more connected I feel. Not just to the land, but to my family and animals, and the community around me. The more time I spend on this land, the more I feel as if the traveling I truly want to do is not of the physical kind, but of the sort that will continue to deepen these connections.

The more time I spend on this land, the more time I want to spend on this land. I’m not sure how to describe how happy this makes me.

§ 5 Responses to Stick in the Mud

  • ncfarmchick says:

    Now I know what to call myself! I have always described myself as a home-body but stick in the mud works, too. I am leaving tomorrow for a three day trip to the Outer Banks of NC and, while I will be glad to be with family, I am DREADING it for all the reasons you mention above. Nice to know I’m not crazy or, at least, not alone in my kind of crazy. Thanks for another wonderful post!

  • Suzanne says:

    Its good to come home but I still like to roam~ Probably why I only desire to have my garden, cats and if I can find a coop a few chickens, but maybe someday my wanderlust will end :-)

  • Vonnie says:

    Ben, you live in a little slice of heaven, so the total endearment is understandable. I do love NH for all the same reasons as well. We take a vacation every 8-10 years, usually to Acadia for some hiking and sunrises over the ocean. But, summer is so busy and we always plan more then we can actually do in a summer…are your boys old enough for all the sports, Scouts, 4-H yet? That becomes pretty encompassing too.

    Yep, home is called home for a reason. Perhaps it’s because the people you love are also there, and the neighbors too. Vacation can come in all shapes and sizes, sometimes an ice cream cone at a picnic table feels like a vacation, too. ~Vonnie

  • We feel the same way!

  • ColoradoGirl says:

    We are sticks in the mud as well.

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