Have you ever looked around and noticed how disconnected society is from the natural world? We give birth in the hospital. We get our food from a grocery store. Kids don’t run around barefooted anymore or make mud pies. Our medicines come from a shelf. We have no rites of passage for maturing children (unless you’re Jewish). Our inside environments are climate controlled. We don’t talk about sex, yet you see it all over the media. We sit all day. We deal with illness by outsourcing it to medical professionals. Even death is institutionalized. In other words, we have done so much in the name of comfort, safety, and convenience that we have completely lost touch with the pulse of creation.
Does this sound like you?
If it does, maybe you need to get your wild back. May I suggest a Working Farm Stay? I know most people live in the city or suburbs and don’t have a relative they can just crash with on the farm. Fortunately, you can live the farm life for a short period by going to stay with someone who has a Farm style B&B.
I stayed at one in Salisbury, England and it was quite lovely. There is the fresh country air. They served food produced from the farm. You could see the animals from the bedroom window or even go help with them if you wanted to. The night sky is undiluted by the urban lights so it looked far more clear and bright than you would ever seen in the city. The sounds of crickets and frogs soothes you to sleep.
After a day or two, you start to feel what it is like to be in a natural human rhythm. You get to feel a little wild and uncivilized, and I mean that as a good thing! Okay, so a farm is not the jungle so it’s not all that wild, but it gives you a chance to get close to the earth and animals in a safe way.
If you go during the spring, you may be there in time to see babies born. Birth is a mysterious process for so many people. The only birth they may experience is that of their own children. Even then it’s treated like a medical event held in a sterile environment. This is not how life happens! Healthy animals have quick, relatively easy births. The babies are nursing within minutes. When you witness the miracle of life, there is a much greater appreciation for it.
Sometimes babies die. When you are present for that, you begin to realize that life is precious and death is natural. It’s not something to be feared.
Animals have emotions. They miss each other when one is sold. They may fight to establish order when a new creature comes in, but they don’t have a lot of fear. They tend to be pretty mellow and go with the flow. We can learn a lot by hanging out in a barn.
And what about the crops? They need to be planted at the right time, given water, weeded, and harvested. Everything happens in its own time. Nothing can be rushed. This can teach us “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 It’s a good lesson for a fast food/instant gratification world. If you are able to help in the garden, you may get a taste of the amount of labor it takes to produce a tomato. This may give you an appreciation for real food.
Speaking of real food, some farms will let you help with egg collection or milking the animals. You’d be amazed at how many people have no realistic idea where food comes from. If it’s not pre-packaged in a freezer, they don’t know what it is. When you see a farm fresh egg cracked into a skillet, you may ask yourself what you have been eating all your life. If you taste fresh milk, you will wonder what they do to store milk before it gets to you. And have you ever had fresh sausage? Oh, my!
Maybe you will be inspired to sit outside on a porch swing and just breathe. How often do you do that at home? How tempted are you to do that when your neighbors are so close by, the smell of auto exhaust assaults you, and you’re being serenaded by the sound of traffic? It’s probably not the most inviting thing.
In the country, you will probably be bored at first. There is so little stimulation, but you see, that’s part of the charm. It allows your nervous system to slow down to a healthy rhythm. We get so keyed up that we forget what it’s like, if we ever knew, to be restful.
Doing a Farm Stay vacation definitely isn’t your typical American thing, but you may be surprised at how much it can enhance your mental health and inform your thinking about life in general. The subtle ways that it reconnects you to your own inner nature may surprise you. Who knows? You just may get your wild back.