There are times when our life is peaceful. But they are rare. Everyone wants something, or has something to share. The goats want to go for their walk or a hen has just laid an egg. The guardian dog sees a deer or the wild turkey has heard an echo. Our daughter has a question, our intern has a question, someone on the phone has a question, or a stack of emails are yelling in my head with their unanswered questions. If you get up early enough in the morning, it might be peaceful. You can listen to the sounds of the night and see the silhouette of the mountains in the east. But as soon as you open the barn doors, the animals are aware of your presence and their expectations become your priority. There are moments when everyone is satisfied, and you can hear yourself think. But it doesn’t last. Even at night, the noise, the fears, the possible suffering- that you are responsible for preventing- creeps in and startles you awake. It might be a dream now, but it could be a reality at any moment. So many things, so many people, need you. You can’t complain about your boss, you are them. You feel responsible for the life that you have- by association- dragged your loved ones down into. Everyone thinks you are living “the life”. They philosophize and compare. They don’t understand. They have jobs they can walk away from. They have weekends. They might even have health care and retirement plans. Our retirement plan is to be able to stop before regret dominates. The farm is noisy, the farm is demanding, the farm is our life, our life is not our own. We love the farm, we hate the farm. We are the farm.