Juliet Rome Lifestyle Blog

A handful of kindle books returned after reading a few pages, I picked up English Pastoral: An Inheritance, by James Rebanks, from the blue-and-white porcelain bowl where I stashed it to dust until sometime in the far future when I’d have time and glasses on to read a hard-copy book. Telling, that long statement.

Only a few chapters in, I am happy and home. England. Words like “farmer” and “fells” and “limestone bedrock” come from a man who turns words in a way that is true and honest but feels like poetry.

Something stands up like a large stone in this ground being ploughed in my head, running straight like the farmer-author’s furrows to other things I have been thinking about. He recounts the recent loss of his father, his formative days on his grandfather’s tractor, taking on the mantle of “farmer,” and something bigger:

“When we lose our way, it often pays to retrace the footsteps on our journey until we get back to familiar territory. In those painful first months, my grandfather’s farming became for me such a moment from which I could navigate through what had happened in order to understand what had gone wrong. I thought a lot about how he managed his land and cared about his animals and the natural world around him. I tried to understand afresh what it meant to be a farmer. I returned in memory to a day spent ploughing a field in April, nearly 40 years ago.”

Early in the week, I thought about Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken.” Many around me in life and work are at crossroads.

Two road diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;


Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,


And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.


I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.


Mid-week I came across something written by a high-school girl, lamenting that who we are becomes woven into what others want us to be and, worse, who we are feels like a shortcoming when we compare ourselves to others, our work to higher achievements, our small gains to worldly successes. That’s a lot coming from someone who hasn’t yet seen even two decades of life, or perhaps not when you consider that her world is not a school or neighborhood but the rabbit hole of her smartphone.

I know I’ve written about this, but don’t remember where … the story of the artist who sculpted the bronze-steel sculpture we bought at the La Quinta Art Fair. … a genius at large-format steel-and-glass sculpture who grew tired and lost his way … encouraged by a mentor to return to his childhood drawings to rediscover himself.

What does all this mean in a week where, let me count, one, two, three, four, five conversations turned to who in the world am I in this place?

I like the seed idea that we are all planted where we’re planted by the Great Farmer in the sky who entrusts us to use our minds and hearts to see the landmark and then plough to be productive in our own “field.”

J.’s laconic response, not yet knowing the topic on my mind, to my moaning over the jalapeno, sausage, onion, gouda scrambled eggs he made while I wrote this—with, thank you, Chuck and Sarah, a toasted almond croissant from my favorite French bakery: It’s easy being you.

About Laurie

Laurie Carney is a strategist, writer, editor and account executive in her professional life. She is at home with her husband Jeffrey, also a strategist and creative director/writer, and silly rescue Poshie, Bonnie (aka Golden Bear). She has four beautiful children now that her son and daughter are happily married and five small grands playing starring roles.
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