24 November

When you love your home

by Jon Katz

My front yard. Every morning, it takes my breath away.

  November 24, 2009 – I have to concede my friend Arlene shook me up when she told me flat out to take the farm off of the market and stay there. Arlene lives on 200 acres herself, and she intends to end it right there. If it’s home, and you can, she said, you just have to stay there.
  I got a ton of e-mail saying more or less the same thing. I have to think about it. Lots of issues. The farm is not an easy place to keep or to afford, animals or not. There are fences, taxes, barns, water issues, an old farmhouse, four old barns, etc., etc.
  Last year, I just about melted down working, writing, cracking up,  caring for cows, donkeys, sheep, dogs, chickens and goats. In fact, I did melt down, although there were other reasons too.
  It does not make sense for two people to own a farm, really, especially one without animals or crops. The place is too hilly to lease or cultivate.
  But there is a lot about the farm I love.
  I wrote six books here.
  I fell in love here.
  I became a photographer here.
  And a writer of children’s books.
  I broke down here.
  I began putting myself together here.
  I worked with Rose here.
  And had lambs here.
  And learned who I am,
  And faced it.
  I fell down on ice,
  slid down hills,
  tripped on hay bales,
  Had gun battles with rabid animals,
  chased off coyotes and foxes and pigs.
  And had Orson here. And Pearl.
  And Clementine.
  And Lenore.
  And Izzy.
  And Frieda.
  And Maria returned to her
  art here,
  In the Studio Barn.
  And I returned to fiction
  And wrote Rose In A Storm.
  And made friends here,
  And lost many,
  And got many back.
  The farm is itself a poem,
  which just happened
  as I started this list.

  Would I like to stay here?
  Would I love to die here?
  Does it make sense?
  Can I afford it?
   I don’t know.
  I believe in stories
  and messages.
  They are my life.
  I listen to all of them.

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