Buying The Farm
The Mother's Day Art Show in Greenwich was very successful, uplifting, fun and worthwhile. Maria was busy and happy all day, talking to artists, selling stuff, helping to run things. I love seeing her so fulfilled, it makes me want to cry. The artists sold a lot of their work, I had a full house for a talk on creativity and photography and it is always surprising and very poignant for Maria and I to see and hear what our lives, our blogs, our work and writing means out there. I forget that, all the time. My mind just can't absorb it.
A number of very admirable people came up to me today and told me they wish to buy a farm, leave their urban and suburban lives, be with animals, with nature, back to land. I'm always surprised at how much I like people who say this, how energetic, idealistic and admirable they seem. And how nervous. It is hard, they said today, as they worry about health care, savings, retirement and all of the other things they are told they must have to be safe and secure and lead a meaningful life in America. I hear so many people talking about moving to the country, yet all around me, I see that people are going the other way. The biggest business in the country is getting to be people buying farms and properties as second homes. Jobs and schools, farms and businesses, post offices and main streets are closing, emptying out, and rural people are forced to move to urban areas for insecure and low-paying jobs that they often hate.
It seems topsy-turvy to me. I understand the people who say they fear disrupting their lives and trying a life with beauty, nature animals, farming, cheese or art. It was surely frightening to me, and noone in my life told me to do it or thought it was a good idea. I have to confess that I don't have many of the things you are supposed to have to be safe – savings in the bank, IRA's, pensions. I gave most of that up when I moved to the farm and the rest when I got divorced. I have no complaints. This was my choice, and I will live with it. I think people have to make up their own minds about how to live, but this is what I think whenever a young couple tells me they are dreaming of a different life, a life on a farm. I think there has never been a better time in modern history to do it.
There are farms on the market all over the place. They are inexpensive. Interest rates are at record lows. The demand for organic and specialized and gourmet foods and cheeses is high. Enterprises like Alpaca farms are doing well. The Internet makes it possible to sell things all over the world. And it is clear that the country is the future. It is, in conventional terms, more sustainable here.
It is not my place to tell other people what to do, or what risks they ought to take. We each have to make our own way and live with our choices. But the voice in my head is clear. Everyone I know who has done it has no regrets as frightening and difficult as it can sometimes be. Few go back, if any. We share a common secrete – it is not possible to go back. We can never go back. I think this: I do not live a small life, I think. Do not live in fear. Buy your farm and live your life.
That is what I think, what I wish I could shout. But should not.