Only diehard old people will recognize the title reference. Mr Toad and the horse, Cyril Proud-bottom, sing it rather splendidly on their way to, you guessed it, nowhere in particular. Sometimes I think I must be on that same journey, hiding in the back of that British Romani wagon, holding on with both hands and all ten toes lest I should be tossed unceremoniously into the creek.
Life carries us where it will. When we are young we feel we are in control of the ‘wagon’, steering ourselves where we would go. As I get older I think I realize control is an illusion. Things happen and you can’t control them. You can only control your reaction to them. As I said in my last post, my reaction is to not give up. I don’t know whether that is necessarily a commendable quality or just plain old stubbornness.
I do pick and choose the things I persist in, however. Things have priority, after all. Marriages must be persisted in. Goats are expendable. Sanity must be pursued and chased and sometimes seized, but chickens can be sold. Fencing can be taken down and sold, gardens can be moved multiple times because someone doesn’t like it where it is because they want more grass that they will not be the ones mowing….Where was I? Oh, yes, any farm that was Good Enough Farm has been dismantled due to the fact that I am only one person and I only stretch so far.
I bought my first chicks about a year and a half after my daughter got married and moved far away. I treated my own major depression with therapeutic doses of livestock and lettuce seeds, goats and gardens. There have been many challenges in the intervening years: Anti-HMGCR necrotizing myositis is a monster disease. The repeated gradual decline, collapse and rehabilitation that go along with heart disease are exhausting to watch and live with. My own mental illness is a burden and an obstacle. My son’s intellectual disability is more trying as he grows up and wants to do things he simply is not capable of, nor of understanding that he is simply not capable of them. To patiently go over the reasons he cannot drive is more than I am capable of sometimes. To advocate for his rights to have access to his own money but in a manner which will shield him from scammers, thieves, even himself (curse you, Forza Racing, and you too, Microsoft!) is a never-ending quest.
Today I am tired. I need a huge mocha and a slice of chocolate cake that I have yet to make. I need to cultivate contentment and joy. I am afraid the soil in my heart is run down and in need of lots of fertilizer. (chuckling to myself at the picture of shoveling crap into my heart) It has been a long winter and depression and anxiety have gotten a hold of me and shaken me like my little dog shakes her stuffed animal. But I’m still standing. Even if the only thing I am growing is Perseverance, that’s a valuable crop.
Spring is coming. My daughter wants some chicks and a rabbit. My son in law wants a garden. Maybe it’s okay that I am not steering the wagon, but just along for the ride right now. Maybe I can get them to pull over for a mocha and a slice of cake.