Saturday, July 5, 2008

My "F" Word

An acquaintance--as in someone who hasn't known me long or well--signed off in an email with the thought that "we could all use some fun."

Folks who've know me awhile are more circumspect about throwing the "f" word around without proper consideration. The rant gets old (if I forget they've heard it before), or they get tired of that certain puzzled look I give them. "The look" that says, "I thought we WERE having fun!?!" Only they didn't think so, apparently. And they still can't see it. In that moment, we realize we live in different universes that somehow intersect but don't connect. Those moments aren't so fun because there is a certain bittersweet loneliness to having fun alone in the midst of a crowd of people who aren't.

There seems to be a cultural understanding of "fun" that excludes "work", and vice versa--and an idea that "fun" is desireable, with few reservations, and that "work" is not, in and of itself, desireable except as a means to the end of having the "fun" that the money from working can facilitate.


That didn't even make sense to me BEFORE I started farming.

I guess the closest I've ever been able to translate the word "fun" in my world view is "enjoyable" and/or "exciting"...and just about EVERYTHING, pretty much, can be enjoyable or exciting or both, for me. Even bookkeeping, once I get started on it (my plan for tonight). Doing chores in the pouring rain, once I'm out there, as long as I'm not hypothermic yet or being bludgeoned by hail. Pulling weeds--fun to test my strength if they are tough ones, fun to make progress if they are easy ones, fun to see the livestock scramble after them, fun to see the happy plants in nice tidy beds where I've finished. Fun to eat the yummy weeds. Fun to abolish the bad ones.

Fun to hear the birds, fun to think that the neighbor with his gas-powered weeder (rototiller) is missing the birds' free concert, fun to pet the cat when he wanders by, fun to feel the sun/wind/rain on my back, fun to stop and watch the biplane droning overhead, fun to throw a stick to the dogs, fun to look around at this beautiful farm that has created itself over the course of 12 years with my help, and the help of many others.

Fun to see the shadows shift as the day passes, fun to realize they have changed with the passing seasons, fun to see the cycles and the patterns of it all.

Fun to be an intimate part of it all.

Fun for everything I do to be a part of being a part of it. Therefore fun to drive the bus, fun to visit friends, fun to build things, fun to clean things, fun to tear things down, fun to throw things away.

Fun to go to Farmer's Market, fun picking the vegetables, fun washing them, fun getting up that early, fun being that tired, fun in the rain and snow and sun, fun hanging on the canopy so it doesn't blow away, fun dashing home to unload and turn into a bus driver. And fun taking a day off from that, as I did today.

Fun setting boundaries, fun insisting that rules be applied fairly, fun pointing out blind spots and inconsistencies, fun being a pain in the neck to people who take it all too seriously or not seriously enough. Fun dotting the Is and crossing the Ts...and dotting the Ts and crossing the Is. Fun persevering until nonsensical situations are resolved to everyone's benefit (today, can you imagine Farmer's Market without meat sales? Fun overturning that old rule a few years back!).

Fun everywhere. Nearly all the time.

But don't ask me to set my real life aside and go looking for fun at the amusement park...the city pool (Fun? Have you read all the warnings and disclaimers posted there about water-born illnesses?), the movie theatre, the bar...anywhere else removed from my daily life. I'll give you "the look."

Or--I might just say, "That sounds like fun!"

Tomorrow, part of my fun will be mowing...weeding...mulching...working on fences...working on the house. And part will be a combined Shape Note Singing, picnic, and carillon concert by one of the singers at the KU Campanile, starting at 4:00.

Anyone's welcome to join me for any of it. The more, the merrier!

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