Wednesday, November 3, 2010

University of Life

Tomorrow, after nearly 5 months on the farm, I'm finally headed home. Yet as my departure nears, I find myself doubting: is Austin really home? After all, it's no accident I've spent almost half a year in rural Oregon. To me, popular culture has never seemed so foreign, and I suspect I'm in for a shock and something resembling depression upon returning to the city. We all learn to acclimate to the situations we find ourselves in, and it probably won't be long until I'm once again comfortable in the concrete jungle; content with movie theaters, art museums, and rock shows. But there's no denying: the farm beckons me. It's in my heart and it won't let go.

This summer, Farmer Steve was laid up with gout for a month, completely out of commission. The other day he apologized that he was unable to teach me skills during this time, to which I replied, "Don't worry about it. I've learned more here than in a hundred classrooms." And it's absolutely true. Perhaps unbeknownst to him, the farm skills I've learned are the least of it. The things I've learned most are less tangible, but perhaps more important. Things like: generosity, how to get along with others, patience, work ethic. When I see Steve pick up someone's slack without complaint, or offer to clean dishes that aren't his - I greatly admire him, and find myself emulating that behavior. Here, at a little farm in southern Oregon, I feel like I'm becoming the man I want to be, and that is very satisfying.

I find myself loving Deb and Steve like family, and the feeling must be mutual, because they've offered to contribute resources and expertise to help me build my very own cabin down by the goat barn. Fifty yard walk to the river. Spectacular view of Hope Mountain. The opportunity to become a self-sufficient human with a variety of skills, immersed in an amazing community of like-minded individuals. Hard to say no.

The other night, I camped down with the goats, in a golden grassy field adjacent their pen. Under the stars, warmed by fire, I made a long list of reasons to stay. Tomorrow they will become reasons to return.

The Goat Barn

1 comment:

  1. Dallion! Come back! We need people like you here! What a beautiful post- sometimes when faced with the vandalism and more unseemly side of rural southern OR I forget the reasons why I choose to live here. Thank you for reminding me.

    Your picture of the dragon hangs on the inspiration board in my art studio - thanks again.