When I started my Five-Acre Almanac project I meant to write weekly for a year, but I fell a few weeks short. While I’m disappointed it didn’t work out the way I planned, I also believe there’s value in not pushing too hard. In reality working full time, managing a garden, starting a small business and writing a blog post every week proved to be too much and something had to give. Gardening couldn’t wait, and neither could mushroom hunting or summer weekend getaways. And those pesky bills were still due every month.
I never meant to take such a long break, but here I am almost four months since my last post, wondering where the time went and how to start again. My intention was just to ease up a bit on the writing and give my attention to the time sensitive aspects of summer. I thought my writing might become sporadic or less involved, but once I cut myself a little slack, sitting down in front of the computer for any extended amount of time began to feel impossible.
Writing requires vigilance, not just in sitting down and putting words on a page, but also in observing the world. While I can’t say that I missed the hours of sitting, I did miss the way writing puts me on alert and makes me notice things that might otherwise pass me by. I missed the exercise of braiding observations and thoughts together. I missed the magic that sometimes happens when I sit down to write about about one thing and something entirely different and unexpected rises to the surface.
I missed all of you too, and the very real connection I feel when I share myself through writing. It’s sometimes terrifying but I’ve come to appreciate the rewards that come from trusting that there’s a reason why I do this and that it’s not about self promotion or making money or even making it as a writer. I write this way on this blog because it feeds my soul. I do this because the practice has opened me up to something bigger than myself. Even so, this kind of writing is not effortless. I didn’t realize how much I needed a break until I allowed myself to take one.
Now though, I feel like it’s been long enough. Today I woke up early. The house was cold and instead of crawling back under the covers I decided to make coffee and get a fire going in the wood stove. I fed the dogs and stood outside on the porch while they did their business. Then I came back in and nestled into the couch under my favorite afghan and started writing again. It wasn’t until Dean woke up a while later that we realized that the time had fallen back an hour. Today that extra hour feels like a gift.
I guess I always want just a little more time. The nice thing about November though is that now many of the things I want to do with my time can wait. Today after I’m done getting this blog post written and posted, hopefully there will still be time to make some progress on our ongoing garage cleaning project. I also want to make bread and miso soup and maybe run the vacuum before the work week starts again. And while the sun is shining and the wind is calm I’d like to get outside and hang out by our fire pit for a couple of hours. But none of these things I hope to get to are so important that they have to push writing to the bottom of my to-do list.
That to-do list never really gets shorter, it just changes. But at least now the high-demand summer season has come and gone. It was glorious and we’ve got a bounty of food set aside for winter and enough dried herbs to get our fledgling tea business off the ground to prove it. We’ve also got memories of a weekend spent in a cabin on a lake and of running into lots of friends at a music festival. We picked more wild mushrooms than ever before and we had lovely Sunday dinners with my mom and step-dad.
I wouldn’t change anything about the way I’ve spent my time these last few months, but tonight when the darkness comes an hour earlier than it did yesterday, I won’t mind a bit. I’ll draw the curtains to keep the heat in. I’ll pour myself a cup of tea and I’ll find my way back to the couch and my computer. I’ll look to see who’s read these words and I’ll be thankful that I’m here again, back to doing this thing I love.