Things I Can Control and Things I Can’t
One of my favorite parts of working at the Milkweed Mercantile during pizza night is when we’re closing up at the end of the night and I clean all of the counters. Life outside that kitchen might be chaotic and out of my control, but for a few moments at least, those glistening counters are comforting.
As someone who often believes that she would prefer to get her way all the time and to have jurisdiction over every aspect of her universe, this week has been one that has tested my limits of what I’m willing to let go of, and what I can stop trying to control. Christina here, writing from soggy, muddy Northeast Missouri (where the weather is always here and never under my influence).
This last week has been a practice session for me, figuring out some techniques and strategies to function as a temporarily single parent. My husband, Javi, spent the week training to work on a wildfire-fighting helicopter crew. He will likely be gone for as much as two months this summer once the dry season starts, so this past week was a good chance for me to think about what works and what to let go of when I am the only adult in the house. One thing I’m fairly certain of: the more I can learn that I can’t control everything, the better my solo time will be.
One choice that I happily made this week was to prioritize the garden when the weather was nice. This meant that my income work took a back burner. That choice causes its own stresses, but I have to say that when I was pulling weeds in the lower garden on a sunny afternoon, I was very happy with my decision. Right now, before it’s warm enough for much to grow, I have dominance over a few beds of the garden at least. I know that as soon as we get a few inches of rain followed by a 98 degree day, the weeds will be up to my waist, but for now, I am enjoying the simple peace. It was nice to see neighbors out enjoying the weather also. There was even a controlled burn to prepare Bluestem’s garden beds that I hear was extremely effective.
Egg season is upon us, whether we’re ready or not. I happily suggested an egg-themed potluck last week, and the various co-op cooks did not disappoint. We enjoyed egg salad (made with wild greens, yes!), eggy baked dishes, and, my favorite, deviled eggs. Also among the offerings were some dilly beans and an amazing fermented relish made by Kim from Red Earth Farms. These green products of last summer’s efforts were a welcome addition to the mostly yellow food on my plate. I won’t claim to eat perfectly in season, but I do enjoy it when I let what’s available locally right now dictate what’s on my plate. There is something nice about not having to decide that piece.
Song circle is a weekly event that is very much out of my control. Sometimes, we work through lots of new songs and never quite get them right. Sometimes only a few people show up and we end up chatting for 15 minutes and going home. But this week, Tereza’s last for a while because she heads to Texas soon, was a really great night. The numbers were small, but the singing was strong. Putting my head back and listening to the harmonies around me, it felt great to just be for a few minutes.
As it is every single day, homeschool this week has been a lesson in letting go and being okay with things not going as planned. My kids have been super into playing online math games (good for math skills, not so good for my image of perfect “unplugged” ecovillage life). But I also know that next week they’ll be on to the next thing. Getting in some “lessons” on making tortillas and reading to toddlers also helped us to round out our schooling week.
When I think back on my old mainstream life, I think about a tightly-managed ship. It’s not that I controlled everything, but I did have most parts of our days highly managed. Here, a lot of my life is out of my control — how much the kids complain about doing their homeschool work, the weather, how many deviled eggs I get to eat at potluck — but I’m learning how to ride it out and enjoy things as they go.
What life lessons could you learn at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage? Find out during one of our Sustainable Living Visitor Program sessions this year! The next person to register for our first session, which starts on April 8th, will get $200 off of the regular price!