Monday, August 13, 2012

August 11th, 2011

August 11th, 2011 was a big day for me. I meant to write this post on Saturday (the 11th of this year), but time wouldn't allow it, so here it is today.

August 11th... During that time I was depressed, feeling lost, and without a purpose. Depressed because my goats were dying left and right and no one knew why (two months later it was deemed that I had a liver fluke infestation in the herd), I had just lost two good friends, my family was upset with me and wanted my farming dream to go on a permanent hiatus. Without the dreams and plans of my own farm, what was there to do? I was wandering... Feeling lost. There was nothing to do in life except continue to dig holes for the ever dying animals. I dug so many pits that summer... I cried my self to sleep every night. I was tired... So tired. Tired physically, tired mentally, tired emotionally. And I wanted life to be over. I was done; I couldn't do this. I had hit that point of depression where you're just ready for the long sleep and the thought feels normal. 

And then one day I happened to pop over to Joel Salatin's website. I don't know why I went there; after all I wasn't supposed to be feeding the farm dream anymore. All my hopes and plans were disintegrating; why was I on Polyface's website? I'll call it fate. While there I noticed that they were accepting summer internship applications, but only for four more days. I sat in my computer chair, staring at the screen in front of me. Four more days... I don't know why I did the next thing, but I automatically emailed the Salatins and asked for an application. My farm dream was supposed to be dead and here I was thinking of travelling 2,800+ miles to Virginia.

The application came the next day and I filled it out with a speed filled with hope, desperation and fear. There was virtually no chance I would get the position as a summer intern; but what if I did get it? I shouldn't do this... But maybe I should? This is a pipe dream, why try? Why not? I finished answering Joel's questions, which ranged from normal to eyebrow-raising, and clicked the 'SEND' button...

Sheri Salatin emailed the next day saying they would announce their picks at the end of August. The next two weeks were filled with renewed hope in me. Would I get the position? Would I be one of their picks? The end of August came and went... No word from the Salatins. I hesitantly emailed Sheri, asking if a decision had been made. No, she said, not yet. Joel was out of State and was unable to make the decisions yet. But it would happen soon, she assured me. So I waited, and waited, and waited. September plodded by with all the speed of a limping tortoise. The suspense was wearing on my nerves and I didn't know how much longer I could stand the wait. Even a 'No' would have been welcomed right then! Anything at all, just an update of some sort!

October came, and I finally gave up. I must not have gotten picked.

On October 11th (yes, the 11th!) I received an email from Polyface, with the subject line of the email simply saying, "Polyface Response'. I was terrified to open that email. With a spinning head, I clicked the letter open and got as far as the first paragraph before I started reeling.

It said I had been one of the 30 out of 93 to be picked so far. I had made it past the first hurdle and they wanted me to come out to their farm so we could all meet each other.

I thought I was going to faint.

Most of y'all know the rest of the story: I went to the farm, spent four days there, ended up not getting the internship position, cried my eyeballs out for days, and now here I am again: August 2012. A year has passed.

I was depressed and empty. I took a wild chance, and it has made all the difference. Sometimes we just need to ignore logic and do what our heart tells us to do. I had no money for my plane trip, but I knew it would come somehow. I didn't know what I would do with my animals, but I knew something would come up. I had never ever been anywhere by myself before, but I was prepared to do so if I had to. I was probably the last person in the world who should have applied for the internship right there and then, but I did it anyway. And it changed (and possibly saved?) my life.

So what is it that you have wanted to do, but have either feared to do it, or you have put it off? What is that quiet voice inside you saying you should do, but you have shrugged it off and scoffed at it? I was a 19 year old kid with no money, no experience, and not even a driver's permit. But I had grit and determination. If you have those two things then you can do anything, Dear Heart. Whether it's getting your first flock of chickens, applying for an internship, buying land, or starting a CSA, you can do it. I don't care if you don't have the money; that's never stopped me. If you want something bad enough, you will find a way. I know you will. That's the way we humans work; we need a bit of opposition before we can really shine. I'm not going to say that it will be easy, and I'm not going to say that there won't be tears, but I will say that you won't regret it. Life is slipping away with every sunrise we see; how long will you wait before following a dream?

August 11th was the turning point for me. What day will it be for you?

8 comments:

sailorssmallfarm said...

Awesome post. And despite the fact that in age, you are only a year or two older than my eldest daughter, I learn from your blog all the time. Admire that grit and determination you speak of. You are living life!
And as an aside, have you visited the Cold Antler Farm blog? Same kind of thinking...

Goat Song said...

^Thanks! And yes, I did see Jenna's post! Right after publishing my post I hopped over to her blog and laughed at the similarities in topics. Great minds think alike, I suppose...

Mary Ann said...

What a great, great post... I'm so glad you stuck with it... I'm so glad you share all your thoughts and dreams with us... I wish I would have had your guts 40 years ago!

Jennifer and Charlie said...

You truly amaze us! We are so thankful to have been pointed in your direction. There are no coincidences when it all comes down to it. We hope to learn from you and help you in any way we can. It is true - that we shouldn't wait to follow our heart's desire!

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to let you know that your blog is my favourite. When ever I see "Goat Song" in my inbox I say a silent "YESSSSSS!!!!!" You encourage in every post and I often read your posts twice incase I missed something. Thank you so much for writing and sharing. You've got grit and a gift with words, kinda like Joel Salatin.
Tasha.

Goat Song said...

Aww, thank you everyone. :) [hugs to all!] Y'all have made my day. :)

Jennifer Montero said...

Ugh. We had liver fluke in our sheep and it's awful. My heart sank when I read your post. Thankfully we caught it without losing any of the flock (it was picked up at slaughter) but we had to treat hard with anthelmintics.
It's uplifiting to read about people following their passions, in spite of all the hardships and hard work. I will be tuning in again - esp as we're on the cusp of purchasing an anglo-nubian milking goat.

Goat Song said...

Jennifer, Congratulations on the impending Anglo Nubian!! :D I so wish that Anglo Nubians could somehow be imported here to America... I love that old, old style that they have. :) The stylish Nubians here in the USA are nice, sure, but something in me just likes the classic Anglo Nubians that y'all have over on your side of the world.