Down on the farm

Generations ago, most people lived in agrarian, rural settings. Even if you weren’t a farmer in those times, you invariably knew farmers and  you lived close to them. How times have changed. These days, most people live in cities. Concrete landscapes. I have no problem with cities. If people want to live in cities, that’s fine. I’m glad I don’t live in one myself.

I live on a farm. Not one with cows and chickens, but one with fields stretching in every direction. Row crop. Strawberries and lettuce and celery and broccoli and cauliflower. In some ways, it’s like living in the middle of a factory. A factory for vegetables (yes, strawberries are fruit). The tractors wake up before 6am, clattering and roaring to life. The harvesting crews start up at about the same time. Sometimes a cultivator or a fertilizer will begin working a little after midnight, his huge lights flaring. The tractors working at night remind me of the big trawlers fishing at night, their lights shining and moving slowly through the darkness.

Despite all that, and despite troubling your conceptions about pastoral farm life, I like living on a farm. It honestly is peaceful, even though modernity has mechanized it to some degree.

Our vegetables are fresh, too.

Success, Pride & Ruin

It’s troubling that success can often breed a dangerous kind of pride. There are definitely healthy kinds of pride. Pride that your child scored high on his math test, or pride in your country, or pride in doing a job well done. Those are all decent, sturdy sorts of emotion that, if handled reasonably, don’t end up belittling or damaging others (or yourself). But there’s another kind of pride that leads to ruin. I don’t mean ruin of a financial or physical sort. I mean ruin of the soul, of decaying from life into a withered mockery of life.

I’ve worked in a few different creative fields (television, animation, music, etc), and that second sort of pride is rife in those careers. Actually, almost a pandemic. I recently ran into a friend who’d been working on a project with a pop culture superstar. He related the same, sad old story of success turning a normal person into an ogre.

If you are ever blessed with creative success, I hope you don’t let it change you. Don’t forget that the guy bagging your groceries at Whole Foods is just as human and as unique as you are. Yeah, he might not be pulling down the same kind of paycheck and be enjoying the accolades coming your way, but the two of you are really the same. Enjoy your success, sure, but hold it lightly. At the end of the day it means next to nothing.