We’ve all had one of those days … weeks … or months … when things just don’t click. Maybe mercury is retrograding? The summer wind has everyone crazed? Or our daily shortcomings have gotten the best of us. We try to communicate, plan work meetings, gather with friends and, low and behold, everything just crumbles.
Well, June was like that for me (funny, Mercury WAS actually retrograding). Meetings were cancelled, kids got sick, and communication with my hubby was a struggle everyday. I’d plan a mountain bike ride with a friend, and it would thunderstorm. I’d try to complete a work deadline, and a major glitch would hold me up. But on one day in particular, when everything was going awry, I had an unexpected rendezvous with a dear friend and colleague that seemed to make things shift.
My friend Marianne Sturken, freelance graphic designer and owner of Teton Goats, an artisanal cheese company, invited me over one afternoon for a “business” meeting. I never visited her farm, despite all my promising. And, at first, I felt irresponsible making a “play date” when I was under deadline. But I knew I needed a break and farm visits always ground me (animals are like that).
When I arrived at her house, I soon realized that Marianne was as frazzled as I was. She had her own deadlines, the Music on Main program, cheesemaking for the first farmer’s market of the year, and two pregnant goats that were about to pop. But she whisked me away to the barn and we got right into catching up. She filled me in on her projects, introduced me to her goats, and lead me around her super tidy farm, apologizing all the while for the disarray (of which there was none).
The goats played, the chickens roosted, the cow and the horse just munched away as we watched the swallows wreak havoc on the barn’s rafters. I forgot about my harried existence and the crazy cycle that things had somehow fallen into. Seeing Marianne’s love for her animals, the cheese hanging from her kitchen counters, and the essential oils stacked neatly on her table, poised to make another round of goats milk soap, reminded me to slow down. Seeing Marianne benefiting from the earthiness of her “other” job helped me reconnect.
And when we finally got down to talking about work, the meeting was brief and productive (we opened our computers for a scant fifteen minutes).
I realized that we both became more grounded on the farm that day. For a moment, there were no deadlines, no kids to pick up or drop off, and no emails to answer. Instead, we revealed in the moment of conversation, connection, and love.
After that day, my pace seemed to slow down, my priorities shifted, and the daily grind started flowing again. And when I saw Marianne at the farmer’s market the following morning, it seemed as if she was refreshed too. I guess that’s what’s friends are for …
If you need a little grounding yourself, visit a nearby farm, catch up with and old friend, or enjoy the local tastes of summer. And if you want some yummy cheese, you can find Marianne in the northeast corner of the Teton Valley Farmer’s Market every Friday. When you stop by, tell her I said “hi.”
Marianne Sturken’s lovely artwork can be found on the web pages of Kate’s Real Food.