As the old birds sing, so do the young ones tweet.
In some respects, I have always lived in the country. Most of my life has been spent within a rural area and much of that in close proximity to my extended family. Some of that has changed over the years but the one constant is that the idea of rural life has always been a part of my thoughts. I suppose it all reduces to the idea of freedom. Once a soul experiences the freedom that country living provides, it is hard to extinguish.
As a youth, I roved over the land without care for boundaries. I built forts in other people’s woods and harvested grain in neighbors fields. I fished from lakes and streams without a license and I trapped where the animals were to be found. My grandparents grew much of their own food that we were eventually pressed into service in harvesting and storing. I can remember late summer weekends spent turning the tomato strainer or snapping peas. Time did not exist for us – only the changing of the seasons as the wind became colder or the nights came more swiftly.
As many of these seasons have passed and I have grown to have children of my own, I often see how being ruptured from the land has impacted others. I look around me and I see a folk that are a slave to time. I see a people that no longer understand the benefits of an agrarian type of lifestyle. It is a life that is not earth centered. It is also a life that has never experienced the freedom of self sufficiency.
There is really no need to point out the deficiencies of modern life and that is not within the scope of this post. One needs to simply look around at the condition of the nearest town or city. My point is that there is something healthy and whole about living a life that is deferential to nature.
Land and a genuine attachment to it is a central component of a healthy and whole life.
My advice to any young folk that are beginning life is this: buy as much property as you can afford and buy more than what you think that you will need.
Purchasing property changes life if a soul will allow it. First, it establishes a person as someone that has a genuine interest in the local and national well being of our country. Laws effect how you use your land. Second, it immediately provides a safety net for the individual. I always have my land to retreat to in times of adversity – economic or otherwise. Third, it becomes the impetus for becoming a more traditional person. For example, the land demands that you care for it. If you do not invest the time and energy into maintaining your property, the property will eventually become a wild space (not entirely bad in my opinion).
Owning land is not enough. While the above statements are true, our folk need to establish roots with the land. This is where the soul can be made whole and healthy. Establishing roots with your property entails a few practices and while this is certainly not a complete list, this will begin a more personal and constructive relationship with the part of nature that is under your care.
Establish your property as the centerpiece of your family. That is, view your land as ancestral land. It is a treasure that you should pass on to your offspring. Include your children and grandchildren in planning, building and maintaining your estate. Invite your extended family to share in the bounty that you reap from the soil.
Establish familial roots on the property. Create a space that individuals are invested in. For example, weddings and birthdays can be celebrated. Bury a time capsule in the ground or create a monument to relatives that have passed on. The idea is to create an anchor to the property that future generations can respect.
Lastly, develop a relationship to the land through appreciation. Work the land and reap the bounty that it can offer. Improve the soil and woods that can be found within your borders. Maintain the waterways and create habitats for indigenous plants and animals. Meditate on warm summer days. A rural life within the boundary of your own farm can be a healing practice.
For health and wholeness and tradition.