I'm normally 95% process and 5% product.
It's more about the journey than the destination for me.
That makes me a great starter but a lousy finisher. It makes new projects more exciting than old. It makes me move slowly and appreciate the story woven through our work and our lives.
It makes me notice.
But Autumn, it seems, is more product than process.
October's to-do list is long, and every day we need to scratch a few more tasks off the page, racing winter for the finish.
So we're trimming hooves, worming sheep, spreading hay, and harvesting vegetables. We're canning sauces, picking apples, digging roots, and making medicine. We're butchering chickens, filling the freezer, preparing the garden, and insulating the coop.
Most days I don't even pick up my camera or write a word – my usual methods for documenting process and seeing beauty every day.
We're busy. That word I dodge when describing my days, but find myself drawn to just the same. That easy answer to the question, "How are you?" that makes us feel like we're doing something.
"Busy. We're busy!"
Yet today it rings true.
To keep us on our toes, this month Pete is tearing out walls in the house to make room for a wood stove. Which means we need wood. And we're trying to squeeze one more bedroom out of this small house to give the kids a bit of space. And all of this is happening during one of my busiest seasons at LüSa as I prepare for the coming holiday season.
We're really, really busy.
But despite the length of our to-do list, our work is far from joyless.
We talk, we connect, we laugh, and we share the heavy load of work.
We look up from our chores to see an immature eagle soaring overhead, a string of south-bound geese above our valley, and the color on the hills. We watch a lone coyote hunt mice by the creek. We laugh until we cry at the expressions on the face of a child learning to gut a chicken for the first time, a perfect mix of disgust, awe, and fierce determination. We step out into the cold darkness to tuck in the stars, before we too turn in for the night.
We drink it all in as we move through our day.
If not this work become drudgery, this life becomes lifeless, the journey becomes joyless.
Out tending the animals last week, Lupine and I looked down at our feet and saw a patch of wild chamomile at the edge of the pasture.
A treasure in our path.
We paused. We smelled. We smiled.
Then we picked and picked and filled our pockets, happy to have one more herb in tea cabinet this winter.
And that, I suppose, is the beauty of these days: hard work sprinkled with small magic.
Because both are a gift, really.
And both are needed for a full and joyful life.