Sunday, June 13, 2010
For the past three years I've been reinventing myself or maybe I've just been holding on for dear life. I've wanted to follow a vision, a spark so to speak, related to farm-based education.
As a Waldorf class teacher I had been teaching the same class for 5 years. It is the tradition for Waldorf teachers to take a class of children from 1st grade through to the 8th grade. It requires an amazing amount of imagination, commitment, strength and patience. And love, don't forget the love. There was a voice in me that I recognize as my higher power, my angel, speaking to me. I remember hearing, "you should only go through 5th grade this time". But I decided along the way as I drew nearer to the end of 5th grade that I would go for the long haul.
By mid 5th grade my husband came to me and said, "Guess what, we're moving to the country, we'll quit our jobs, get new ones, and move into a rural area." This was delightful news for me except that I didn't agree with the "new job part". I dug in my heels and said, "well, I'm going to commute for the next 3 years from wherever we move to so that I can finish my class."
We found this beautiful rundown place way out in the country, a full hour away from my school where it used to take me 13 minutes to drive. I began to take on all kinds of farm projects, mostly chickens because I had this crazy idea that the class could sell the eggs as a fundraiser for our 8th grade trip. This not only didn't work but it actually cost more money because my husband wound up charging materials to build a Cadillac chicken coop and chicken feed is well, not chicken feed, it costs plenty and it takes a while to get chicks to a laying stage. But that wasn't the worst part.
The gas prices rose and the stress of driving was outrageous. Just 3 years I promised myself, I can do this, God will help me, my strong spirit will survive. Eventually the time went by and I continued to straddle two lives where I came to see that I did neither justice. So I decided when my husband took an early retirement to just live in town while he held the farm reins and I would pay a small rent to someone. For a year and a half I have lived out of a suitcase. Hauling things back and forth and still not doing farm life or teaching very well only due to the fact that I was worn out emotionally, physically and mentally. Under normal circumstances a person would need to recharge each night but my in town living experiences were difficult and I had no peace. My husband and I fought over animals, money and lifestyle.
He almost cheated, I almost left him and in short our finances were tapped and we had to make severe cutbacks on a farm where more, not less money is needed and we were/are over our heads and are slowly paying back our consumer debt but definitely, finally living beneath our means.
Now my class has graduated. It was a peaceful ceremony and there was beauty in it. We took a real nice 8th grade trip to San Francisco and toured the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Their final presentations were good and I have been hired to teach and finish a 6th grade class at a Waldorf school closer to home where I can recharge each night.
This week I will set up my new classroom, meet the new parents, have knee surgery and recover from the struggles I've created from basically not listening to my own inner voice 7 years ago.
I really want to have a farm school and my husband isn't convinced I can or ever should do it. He struggles to find his own purpose but he doesn't see me up and doing especially since I'm gimping around and not up to what it takes to do things well. He has accused me of running the farm remotely and it's true even though it feels mean spirited of him. I know I sound sad but I have hopes for getting well, working hard and listening for the call that will come as my inner voice. This time I plan to listen to this voice. I resolve to hear and follow the plan for I don't know what the future brings.
My heart is longing to make something of this farm life and to have good strong working experiences for children here. I have had a few successes with this under my belt but not without my husband's help and not without increased funding. I need to be stronger physically and mentally and I need to be at peace with myself and my life.