For the last week, I’ve been mulling over the reckless idea of a Singleness of Purpose. It floors me, the thought. I’ve been wondering about it almost nonstop – as if the quest for a Singleness of Purpose has been my purpose lately. Who are the people who seem to have one? People who dedicate large swaths of time to writing a book, who research and delve in, get to know the subject, who faithfully tell a story from beginning to end. Or someone like Columbus, whose whole mission in life was to sail across the ocean, and everything he did was for that aim.
I complained to my sister over the phone about this, thinking out loud about how does one have such dedication to a lifelong task, and she pointed out that Columbus didn’t have children.
That seems to razzle-dazzle the whole thing, there, doesn’t it? There doesn’t ever seem to be a point when we can think, “I’ve got this!” To me, it always feels like I’m in a mad scramble to catch up to my kids, or keep up with them (audible laughter).
This was my kick for the last little bit, after sending Ben back to school, wondering where to put my focus next. There are so many projects. There are so many jobs attached to my name. We farm, and my seeds aren’t even in little pots to start yet and already there are flowers blooming all over town. I need to get on that. My husband has been the one handling most of the farming lately, and he needs help. I need to get my muck boots on and get out there and help with some cleaning projects, and organizing projects. We need to get our chicks for the year.
And I started cooking again. Not just to get food to the table, but with a desire to learn to love it. I scoured the bookshelves for something to inspire me, because the most I know how to do with vegetables is steam them. There must be more to it, and if I could learn how to present them, we might be more excited about the chore of growing them.
It started to feel that everything was a chore. So much work to do. So many piles of laundry. So many dishes. So much paper sent home from school. I was spinning in listlessness with too much to do.
Then I remembered, that I’m a poet. It has been a long time since I put a pen to paper. My laptop has been broken, and this computer is meant for work, so I try to keep them separate. But my heart sees poetry in everything. My mother told me long ago that the poems I am writing these days, are my children. She said this once when I was bemoaning the lack of time to focus on my craft. And when she put it in this way, I realized that every moment spent with my children is etching lines of poetry on their hearts and mine. I learned to enjoy rather than moan about it.
Which is to say, after some aimless wandering over the last couple of weeks, I remembered that I do have a singleness of purpose after all. It’s not perhaps as grand as to sail across an ocean and discover strange new lands. It is to fill my home with love and laughter, to see the poetry in boys who continually come to the door covered in mud, professing to having not seen that puddle at all. To see the poetry in meals tied together with the right spice, or bursting with color. To know that I tuck poetry in around the edges of my family’s days here because that is my center. Whether I’m actually writing it or not, that is my world view.
For some reason, that internal discussion was a bit of a battle. I want a direction. I want to know I’m heading somewhere. And the where for me at this point, is to settle in and do these things well. I am a bit of a rambler. It is often more fun for me to think about things than actually do them. And so, to see each job in my repertoire as stanzas of verse, makes the whole thing much more lovely. Mucking out a stall doesn’t have to be mundane, if I know it is creating something delightful somewhere else. All this goes to the garden, and all that will flourish eventually.
Oh, and then there’s the Goat’s Milk Soaps that we will be attempting. My Goat’s Milk Fudge flopped, but it was a fun experiment.
photo from here