Tak­ing the time to stop

Country Smallholding - - A Smallholder's World -

As sus­tain­able farm­ers, it’s a run­ning joke be­tween my hus­band and I that we’re the only thing that’s not sus­tain­able on our farm. Find­ing har­mony and bal­ance when you own and run a busi­ness is chal­leng­ing to say the least. And in small­hold­ing, the work is very phys­i­cal, and that’s hard if you’re not 20 any­more. You are con­stantly push­ing the busi­ness for­ward – but it’s ex­cit­ing and ex­haust­ing in equal mea­sure.

Know­ing when to stop isn’t easy in this con­text. There’s al­ways one more thing to do and it’s very tempt­ing to keep work­ing into the wee hours on what­ever lit­tle thing you didn’t get to, when re­ally what you need is sleep. What is re­ally im­por­tant to re­mem­ber is that stop­ping, re­lax­ing, hav­ing a mo­ment, tak­ing a break, is good for you. Your mind is clearer and you lose some of the nag­ging anx­i­ety that wears you down and just feel bet­ter. It’s so nec­es­sary, yet so easy to for­get.

For us, that break is of­ten a swim. Liv­ing on the beau­ti­ful Ceredi­gion coast in West Wales, the beach is just five min­utes away. We hop into the car with the kids and the dog, head to the sea and splash into the cold, clear wa­ter. All the worry and tired­ness dis­ap­pears in an in­stant and for an hour or so, we don’t think about any­thing but catch­ing the next wave.


And then there was the swim at the end of the day – the kids pester for the beach and I push off frus­tra­tion, throw­ing my hands up. We get in the car and quar­rel at who sits where and ca­jole the dog into the back. I’m still an­gry in some ab­stracted way.

But the beach! The beach is empty, not a per­son to be seen. And the rock in the mid­dle is sub­merged – just right for jump­ing. And I for­get. I for­get about ev­ery­thing that pulls and pricks, tugs and turns. The wa­ter en­gulfs me and I am scream­ing at its cold, and ev­ery­one throws them­selves into its murky green even the dog, who stands pant­ing in the surf.

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