The holiday season, for some reason, makes me long to spend time in farm supply stores.
Now, you probably just cocked your head to one side like a confused canine as you stared at these words on your screen, so let me explain.
The holidays make me think of a Rockwellian life, and in my idealized interpretation, that life is on little country farm.
As I wander through the aisles of the farm store, I can see my own farm in my head, building layer upon layer with each item I see. That old-fashioned wood stove for sale would be in my home – a small log cabin built for no more than four with a toasty warm loft and a bed piled high with quilts. That heated watering trough is the one I would use inside my small barn that keeps the goats and two horses warm on a freezing winter’s night. I’d bundle myself up in that huge Carhartt jumper and slide my feet into those ugly but useful rubber boots, my toes stuffed into thick woolen socks as I head out to check on the chickens that are nesting inside their sturdy coop. Outside the store is the stock of real Christmas trees, bound and ready to take home. I’d buy the smallest one, of course, because there’s only so much room inside our cabin, and then I’d take it home, unfurl it, and decorate it with the ornaments I’ve made from a hundreds of little fabric yo-yos. My days of fake trees would be but a memory, and I’d wake to the scent of pine.
Standing inside that store, I watch as farmers come and go, buying grain and medicine for their livestock, and maybe grabbing one of those bag of saltwater taffy waiting by the register to take home for that helpful neighbor girl who wants to own her own farm someday. I can’t help but be envious, and even as that ridiculous envy is washing through me, I know that those people don’t have idealistic lives. Their stresses are every bit as serious as mine, if not more so. But they have something I crave – land and space and open air.
During this time of year, when my body and mind teeter on the edge of exhaustion and stay there for weeks on end, I find small ways to escape. I see gently rolling hills, stands of trees, and well-kept fences, their colors all muted by the greyness of winter and further masked by a blanket of snow. And most importantly, on my Christmas farm, I have nowhere to be and nothing pressing waiting for me. There are no alarms to set or emails to check or conference calls to make sure I don’t miss. It’s helpful, I find, to be a dreamer when life is weighing me down. I may not have my farm – yet. Or my solitude – yet. But inside my chest beats the heart of a farmgirl, and she’s patiently waiting for me to let her run free in the wind. Someday, I promise myself. Someday.