Travelling back from Portland to Chicago I found myself in a melancholy mood. My voice packed away with my makeup. My city face dissolving back into relief. Dragging my bag like a heavy weary dog with leaden feet on a short leash. Bumping at my ankles – shambling along behind me. I loved standing in front of a crowd again, being entertaining, succeeding, hearing the applause and feeling those smiles and nods and the laughter. I realised how much I have missed that world. I loved the applause. Everyone needs applause.
I especially thrilled at walking through a sleepy Sunday morning Portland the sun shining, so much green it hurt my eyes, hearing people singing, walking dogs, eating street food. I love morning cities.
But I also longed to be back in my own safe other world back here on the farm where I belong.
Are we all two people? Changing the props and our costumes, adjusting the score. I realised that working with animals draws me in, into a solitary world of silence and smiles. Gentler smiles. Always listening and watching and smelling. Air expelled in small audible sighs of satisfaction. Completely unseen.
Hair and colours absolutely unnecessary in a world of animals. Just those smells and sounds. That constant checking for harm or alarm. With animals we walk gently. Softening any clipped movements into seamless gentle changes. We are careful not to jar or clash. When an animal slumbers we let her sleep. When a pig is running we slow down so they slow and do not do themselves harm. Keeping a clumsy cows environment safe and planned.
But this world of people is so noisy. So loud and colourful. The emotional jostling and and jimmying for the lead. Positioning and watching. This need to be seen and noted. To stand out. To speak to the right people and be animated and interesting and commanding of attention. The loud laughs these people have. The drop in the pit of your stomach when you realise that the Big Fish have no interest in you at all. That terrible cafeteria pause of where will you sit and at what table at dinner because you have no posse and wish you had a pig or dog with you to make you real again. Your slightly panicked feeling like a huge forehead pimple. Trying to quickly pick up your dropped poise but it is in pieces from the sheer noise of such a gathering. And no-one notices anyway. Yet the searching gaze that others have, like they have secrets. Some want to take a finger of yours and put it in their book of pockets, put a pick into your brain. Others as gentle and kind as spring. Patting your scared cat of a face back into place.
I fly home passing over rivers and mountains watching the green bleed from the land until once more we fly into the sepia landscape of Illinois. Dormant under us. Does a farmer look up at my plane as I steadily roar overhead. On course.
As we fly I think of the things I have learned. That the people who run WordPress are young and alive and passionate about where they are and what they are doing. How they volunteer their time to come out and teach us at conferences like these. How they grabbed at my pages of typed out requests and questions about the new Post Page with glee. They love feed back. They want this to work. They encourage our success. They lean forward to every question and use kindness in their responses.
I think of The range of ages and the variety of people who attended. Some hand in hand. Some carrying bags and laptops. String bags. Canvas bags. Fancy laptop bags. Worn out handbags. Some watchful like me and some networking and darting about. Some beautifully dressed and others in worn cardigans and comfy jeans. Happy that you are there. The ordinary bloggers who are searching to do better.
How bloggers are forging a new kind of language and new kind of communication. How it is morphing. How much of our blogging now is truthful and real. Not for money or gain. But as the very true expression of the art we all carry in ourselves. How age and looks and weight and health and popularity are all adjusted to a level field in the blogging world. how ultimately many of us are just as happy alone in front of our keyboards.
I thought about the wonder many people felt when they heard about The Fellowship about how you guys support me and each other. How when I am out doing chores you sometimes even talk amongst yourselves until I come in for my coffee time with you. How we break every rule. And how we prove them. How we really are an unusual and quite incredible gathering of souls. How did we find each other. How lucky we are to have done so.
I think about my talk and wish I could do it again. Wished I could have done it again on that day.
And do to our daily Good Morning. For, now, it is morning again. Still dark outside but I am Back out on the prairies. It is Below Freezing. But my body clock is muddled again from the different time zones and my belly aches from unfamiliar (though incredibly good) food. The mix of relief and longing settling back through my digestive tract.
I watched the mountains pass and wondered about my own mountains and goals. The immediate one being to feed those baby goats and touch and check every single animal on our farm today. Coming home. Bringing you with me.
I met a lady on the plane whose daughter loves pigs so I showed her Timatanga Moana and with delight we began to make plans for her to bring her daughters to the farm for a visit. Isn’t that lovely. Even on the plane I found kindness and kindred spirits.
Soon I will get up and shiver my way into my farming clothes and begin again. This wonderful farming life I have.
I hope you all have a lovely day, thank you for coming along on yet another journey with me.