The Whole Answer

I speak before lots of book groups, libraries, and other organizations. Most people have read my memoir, so I almost always get asked, “How do you feel about the farm and your life now?”
I give a fairly flip answer—“Things are great”—then move on to the next question.

This is only half the answer. I can’t give the complete answer or I get choked up, something that’s been happening more lately, probably because my hormones are becoming unbalanced as I careen toward fifty. I mean, really, is it normal to burst into tears every few months because Elvis died? I’m serious. (I saw a therapist for a few months, and at one session I said, “Don’t laugh, but I often start crying because Elvis is dead.” She looked at me for a full thirty seconds, then began to laugh.)

So here’s the complete answer about how I feel about this farm, the one I’d give if it didn’t choke me up:

–I live with a woman who knows me very, very well, yet adores me anyway.

–I have two barn cats who come running when I appear, winding themselves around my ankles and telling me all about their day.

–I can pet a goat whenever I want. I can scratch little goat kids under their chins, and kiss the sweet swirls on the crowns of their heads.

–I can watch ducks busily go about the business of being ducks.

–I can bury my fingers in warm wool and nuzzle noses with a sheep anytime I want, (assuming the sheep wants the same thing.)

–I can sit in the pasture and be surrounded by animals that demonstrate a good meal, a little sunshine, and a lengthy nap are more important than politics or bounced checks or low-carb diets.

When I see the word ‘content,’ I immediately think content, as in what something contains. But for me, the better definition is content. Unfortunately this word has almost taken on a negative connotation, as if by being ‘content’ you’re settling for something less than you should. Good grief. “Happy” is an emotion hard to maintain without a little chemical help, but content can last a long, long time. Yes, I sometimes get tired out here, and no, my life on the farm is not perfect, but I’m blissfully content.

I wish this for everyone reading this blog. Content is good. It’s very, very good.

So should we meet some day, you now know my answer to the question, “How do you feel about the farm and your life?”

….Just don’t ask me how I feel about Elvis.

6 thoughts on “

  1. Your sheep look so serene! Content even. I am usually a very contented person…which to my brother means ‘unambitious’. While I have a small amount of ambition in my work life, I really am content with where I am profesionally and personally. I don’t cry because Elvis is dead, but I do cry at Hallmark ads! And Steel Magnolias-every time Shelby dies, I burst into tears.

    So go ahead and cry because Elvis is dead! Very cathartic!

  2. Yes—your brother’s the perfect example of what I mean. If we aren’t all trying to be the fastest, the richest, the skinniest, the smartest, ..whatever…then we lack ambition.


  3. Yes, ‘pregnant’ gets to cry anytime! How exciting that you’re so close….

    As for Eartha Kitt, I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never heard her sing. She’s just always been Catwoman to me….Guess I have some research to do!

  4. Oh, you gotta check her out. What a voice! She was also an incredible actress, but didn’t get very far with serious roles, presumably because nobody wanted a black actress to play anything but a maid in the 50s. ‘Anna Lucasta’ is a notable exception, with Sammy Davis Jr. God, she was sexy!

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