pieces of my soul / by Christina Rosalie

I spend the late afternoon as darkness falls with headphones in my ears. The upstairs neighbor’s music makes me restless. The incessant beat raps a staccato in my head. I long for the quiet of open winter fields. For wind. Bean is finally napping with DH after crying for awhile, tired enough to protest the nap but too tired to skip it. I find solace in Stan Getz on my iPod, and follow the random branching network of links answering my search: “tips for keeping chickens in winter.”

I know it will take years to evolve from my greenhorn self into someone who knows what to do to keep the frost from killing sleeping bees or roosting chickens. It will require trial and error, and lots of talk with locals, to understand the true art of the perennial garden, or to know which animals leave tracks along the snowy paths in the woods.

It’s not that I want to suddenly slip onto a farmstead and never return. I’m to much of a girly-girl with a penchant for expensive jeans to want to be far from the city forever. Yet this much is also true: I am someone who is most centered when I am connected to the land on which I live.

I’m not waxing bucolic. I’ve just always had a profound love for nature. I think I must have gotten this from my mother, who always notices the most exquisite little things on walks we take: a newt on a log, orange and wet, or the feather of a wild turkey stuck in some briers. I have a deep sense of self when I connect to a place. The outline of my position in the universe, small and unique, is most apparent when I am able to see how I am connected to my immediate surroundings. I like to see the fields being used; like knowing where my food comes from---and I take some sort of satisfaction when it comes from a local farm rather than from Argentina or Brazil or trekked across the country in a big rig.

I am far too much of a voluptuary to uproot entirely and live ruggedly off the grid. It was my mother’s story and not mine to boil cloth diapers in a pot and then line dry them in the middle of January in the Rocky Mountains, until they hung stiff and frozen like boards. I’m too academic, too soft around the edges to be that wholesome or self-sacrificing. I like my frothy chai from the local café. I have a penchant for expensive outdoor gear. I love the ease of eating out, the pleasure of savoring food without the preparation or washing up. But I am also someone who strives to live consciously, aware of my impact on this earth.

Everyone struggles, I think, with these things. It is the side effect of living in our world today, with technology folding in around the edges, media pushing it’s way through the chinks of our souls. I think each of us must experience this push---pull: heart and mind narrating different stories. I want to know, what scattered pieces make you whole?