Archive for September, 2012

The Other Side

Damn, it’s amazing how exhausting change can be!  As of Sept 1st, I’m at a new ranch, in a larger and quite glorious apartment, and slowly adjusting to the new schedule, animals, coworkers, and, of course, frustrations.  Though it’s wearing me out, my upgrade has been such a blessing and a long time coming.  My only complaint with the fantastic location is that CrossFit is no longer within a comfortably bikable/runable distance. Maybe I’ll work up to the long climb home after a workout, but considering how that flat 2.5 miles back to Rock Bottom could be a struggle, I think I’ll  hold off on petal-powered commuting until I’ve got those hulk quads I’ve been working towards. Just a few more lunges, right?

East Sopris Creek winding throuh the ranch

The ranch is a land-normous stretch of prime real estate in Old Snowmass, owned by a family of ski-fanatic gentlemen farmers. The section I’m entrusted with as Agriculture Manager features a ten-cow raw milk dairy,  three berkshire sows with their many voracious progeny, and some sheep of unknown origin and questionable breeding. The last manager’s (understandably) vengeful exit incorporated a thorough heist of all records and paperwork, so I’m flying blind with herd management, but also under very little pressure to achieve anything in particular.

View from the west hayfield

I do so love the milking though. The repetition and physicality of the process are relaxing, the meticulous cleaning of stainless steel is satisfying, and the theoretically creepy, symbiotic relationship with the cows is quite gratifying.  Here’s a quick poem I wrote about it; I’m trying to exercise my creativity a bit, so you may be have to endure a bit of amateur poetry…

The young autumn breeze slumbers on

Leaving the chill night air to lounge

Lonely, heavy, waiting for the earth to stir.


Eager for a companion in the dawn

Tendrils curl close, eddy in warm wells of skin

Embracing me as I unsettle their humid haunt.


Brass bells clank a humble fanfare in the byre

Rising above the symphony of breath

Jesse, unfolding, sighs a heavy cloud of fog.


The melody of crimped oats into shining steel

Swish, trickle, draws a hopeful muzzle to the door

Glistening from an eager tongue.

(sorry for the obnoxious spacing. my computer literacy is stuck in the 90s)

Thinking I was merely quitting a job and starting another, I’ve been a little taken a back by the effects of the transition. During the move out, I was overwhelmed with conflicting urges to set my unpacked things on fire and flee, then minutes later, a deep terror that I was leaving essential possessions behind. I checked every closet, corner, and drawer for lost objects, but never found those last few pieces of myself that I’d relinquished over many months of impassioned investment.

After my new work day, even if it’s a long or frustrating one, I suddenly the emotional energy to do more than escape to the woods with the dogs, or hide in my apartment scrubbing dishes, or run to the gym to back squat my anxieties into oblivion. In the moments when Sammie or Delilah or Barbara, or my favorite trail along the river, or a once promising ranch project sneak into my thoughts, I’m briefly aware of the hole I circumvent with the distraction of my daily life, a dark emptiness where there was once a responsibility for all those heart beats. Responsibility that I’d seized and clung to so viciously, responsibility that I’d been prisoner to and resented so deeply. With it’s relinquishment, I put many of my unraveling dreams for Rock Bottom finally to rest.

I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind.
Some come from ahead and some come from behind.
But I’ve bought a big bat. I’m all ready you see.
Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!
~Dr. Seuss

Five weeks ago now, I walked off Rock Bottom with a new bat in hand, and a hard-earned sense of how to swing it.  My bat is stoutly built of better defined boundaries, unconditional (ok, ok – less conditional) self-worth, and an unflinching personal mission statement.  I’m hoping to avoid a few of those now well-worn pitfalls and am enjoying bursts of invigorating anticipation as I plan a new teaching gig and some continued farm experimentation (less chicken, more bunny?). Upward and Onward with better judgement, clearer vision, and a healthy dash of jaded sarcasm!