Why is it when we were a child, time seemed to move so slowly? Was it because we were moving so quickly, or because all we had to do at the time was to enjoy the moment? Now, does time seem to pass too quickly because our bodies have slowed down, or is it because we have so much to do that suddenly there isn’t enough time in each moment, day, hour, week, or year to possibly get it all done? I have been wondering about that very idea lately because there seems to be SO much to do and not a fraction of the time available to do it in
So, during this stressful yet wonderful time of year when I am moving in so many directions all that really happens is that I’ve gone in a circle, I will stop and take time to think. I will think of all that I am thankful for and reflect on all the opportunities and friendships I have made along this crazy path that life has taken me. It has been crazy, and definitely full of speed bumps and potholes. Occasionally, I have even encountered a “road closed” sign a time or two. But, all in all, it has been a pretty amazing journey and I have been blessed with a loving family upbringing, two amazing daughters, a supportive and welcoming community, and a beautiful country that I have always been proud to call home even when I didn’t live here.
I was a Navy dependent for years and then a civilian living overseas after that. I was born in Pennsylvania, but moved to London, England when I was only six weeks old. I’ve lived in other countries such as the Philippines, Cyprus, Italy (3 different times), Spain and the US states of South Carolina, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Virginia, Florida, and finally, Kentucky
While all that was very exciting and I usually loved every moment of it, I never developed “roots”, but I always believed that – “home is where the heart is”. During those years, I was either a child with my family, a wife with my husband, or a parent with my children. Either way, I was with the people I cherished most and I did believe that home was where the heart was. Through the years I have made many friends and left many friends in all corners of the world. And on nostalgic occasions, such as Thanksgiving, I think of each of them even more; fond memories are a wonderful function of our brain.
From living in so many other countries/places and being immersed in various cultures other than my own, I gained an understanding and acceptance of people being different from how I am. Traditions and holidays from around the world have always fascinated me, and my family has incorporated many of them into our own celebrations through the years. While this has made me feel connected to the world, I still was lacking that grounded feeling, that feeling of “roots”.
When we were living overseas and would come back to the States to visit extended family and friends, I always felt a small tug of envy that the people we saw had “roots”. They could walk through their hometown and tell a story relating back years with all the same people. I could tell stories too, but my places and people always varied. I guess they were as envious of my adventures as I was of their stability.
About 14 years ago, I decided it was time to finally be grounded. No more moving from place to place; I wanted to make sure my children felt like they were from some where in particular. Although it was a lifestyle change for me, I thought I was giving my children what I’d always been longing for.
We had owned homes other places, but when I bought in Kentucky, it was different—I bought a large tract of land (just not large when compared to farms nearby). I like to think of it as our homestead! The land had been farm land prior to my purchase. I remember asking the owner what the land had been used for. Had it ever been a dump? What had they grown on the land? The list of questions was long. And, I still remember his confused look while he simply answered that he had owned the land for over fifty years and before that it had been farmed
Perimeter fencing went up even before we moved on to the land. This was more to keep our animals in than to stake my claim on the land. Whenever I say “claim the land”, I get such a visual and not necessarily a nice one…..On this Thanksgiving Day, I will pause for just a moment to let you think of the contrast with how different the settlers had been from the Native Americans.
Our land was undeveloped grassland with a very slight gentle roll. There were no trees except at the very back of the property. We had our work cut out for us; we built the farm from the bottom up. We put in paddocks, built run-ins, plowed a garden, planted an orchard, built the home and then landscaped. It has been a long progress and one that probably will never be completed – there will always something to do.
But while the trees, shrubs, and all other plants were beginning to grow roots, and become established, I felt the same thing happening for me. Finally I had a place that I called home. I had never had that before. In the past when asked where I was from, I just always said, “Well, I was born in Pennsylvania but left for England when I was six weeks old.” Now, I had the farm. And the dogs, horses, llamas, and sheep living with us are all our pets.
My “roots” must be developing and nurturing well, because a new “leaf” has just opened up. The wool mini-mill opened this past July. It is a passion more than a job, but it is definitely a new chapter in my life and one that I couldn’t be more happy about. It is also something I can share with my daughters, now or whenever they are ready.
Each new generation should go forth, learn new things, meet new people, see the world, and gain a richer appreciation of life. One daughter has hiked from Georgia to Maine on the Appalachian Trail and then set off to hike from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail to raise money for the research on Lyme Disease. My other daughter is attending graduate school in the United Kingdom and is experiencing what it is like to be the different one in a group. She thinks she relives scenes from “My American Cousin” daily.
Even though they are independent, long for adventure and to see the world, I know the farm, their homestead, the wool mill, and their mother will call to them and eventually they will return home. But in the meantime, “Home is where the heart is.”