Thursday, February 12, 2015
Standing (on) your ground
So Big Ag came home last night and told me there has been a produce company sniffing around his LinkedIn profile recently, hoping to lure him away from his current job. At his level in the agricultural field, there's no doubt he's a catch -- certified to grow organic crops, ethical, honest, and very true to the land in terms of leaving it in good condition for the next generation.
The new company in question offered him a fairly large pay increase -- raising his salary by a full one third -- in order to relocate about two hours south of here. Big Ag had first told them no, saying he didn't want to do some of the traveling listed in the original job description, and they immediately removed the travel portion of the job. It was clear they really wanted to get him onboard. Flattering for him, and well-deserved, too.
And so last night we sat and considered what our lives would be like if we relocated. Considered it for exactly 10 minutes, as a matter of fact, before deciding neither of us wanted to leave this land we currently live on.
Living on a piece of land is not the same as owning a home, unless you built that home with your own two hands to provide shelter for your family. About three years ago we began the work of turning a rural-yet-suburban-styled property we'd bought into something that would produce food and care for critters, both native and domestic. The land literally absorbed our blood, our sweat, and sometimes, our tears, both of joy and sadness, through the process. We nourished the land with ourselves and it, in turn, nourishes us.
So while we may not have built the house which shelters us, we did turn the property from a useless pleasure landscape into something with multi-purpose use, not the least of which is feeding ourselves. No matter what remodeling project you take on inside your house, it will still never feed your family the way a piece of land will. And so it becomes much harder to give it up and move, no matter what the circumstances.
And so the decision to stay put was an easy one. As it should be. Just like the trees in our orchard, we sunk our roots deep into this ground when we arrived and now it would be painful and even potentially harmful to try and pull those roots up, no matter what the financial incentive might be.
That's not to say we will never move, but for now, we are staying put, for as long as our bodies allow us to work this hill.
It's a good thing, having land of one's own. More important than career, more important than money. Your land will always keep you humble, keep you guessing, and keep you working. And in turn it will nourish you in ways you aren't even aware of, as well as a host of other creatures -- wild and domestic -- who now depend on you to keep their home safe for them.
So this is us: standing our ground, on our ground, for as long as fate, luck and the universe allows us to.