I wanted acreage. Millions more like me desired the same. I dreamed of an idyllic country home where I could get away from it all. Yeah, and everyone else with the same hope would be joining in the migration to grab what land there was available. I needed space in which to satisfy my latent Bonanza longing. But, I’d probably croak on the spot for lack of the needed skills and, more importantly, for the dearth of experience needed to deal with all kinds of new, rural situations. Problems, that is.
But, I didn’t want to wait; I couldn’t wait. Waiting was dangerous. The doomsday clock for the world’s food supply would only keep on ticking as I watched, sitting on the sidelines. And, there was the palpable fear that, no matter how minor, any postponement would be the start of the strict, systematic cadence of caution. (“Now, let’s be reasonable.”… “There’s no need to do anything drastic.”… “Why do you have to be different?”… “Don’t be such an alarmist!”)
And, just like that, such a hopeful moment, pregnant with so many wild, hot and uninhibited possibilities, would vanish. My old ‘friend’ practicality would have once more prevailed as it had done many times before on these forbidding occasions, in order to keep me in line. Oh, but don’t you know, one can come to the end of one’s rope. So, after having goose stepped for so long in this maddening cultural parade, I chose this instant, this cause, to exchange my marching boots for some gardening ones.
Rather than waste precious time thinking about where we would like to be–sitting on 5, 10, 20 or more acres in the country–we would make a go of it with what we had. But, there were always nagging doubts at every turn. We needed more vegetables. “There is no room here!” We needed more fruit. “There is no room here for trees!” We needed animals. “Surely, there isn’t room here for them, too!” The doubts would keep playing their dirge; the question was: Would I dance to their tune?
Being small was going to be one big challenge. Was it ‘un-American’? Our appetites tend toward supersizing. It certainly would feel peculiar to be satisfied with less. I can get enviously green over large green spaces. So, how could I happily accept this pathetic, downsized acreage? It would come down to this: Could we make–by hook or by crook–one city lot in the hand worth five such lots “in the bush”? And, down the gauntlet was thrown!
Thinking small has made all the difference in the world. Everything is so tight, which makes for one heck of a busy, stressful situation but one that is, nonetheless, truly rewarding–physically, emotionally and spiritually. A very special bonus is being able to derive a small income from our 1/5th acre city lot. So, today, by working all the angles and leaving no stone unturned, I am beginning to feel just now a small but real sense of independence.
Why can’t we all become independent as our farmer-forefathers were before us? The freedom they tasted came from making a living the old-fashioned way; they had to earn it from the soil. The sweat of their daily physical toil brought forth the pure sweetness of another day of standing on your own. It was all in the knock-down, drag-out struggle to get a life.
Independent is as independent does. So, hit the path!