Dreaming is so American. Like Teddy Roosevelt: “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checked by failure ... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”
Right. I'm so down with that. Although I wonder whether Teddy ever thought much about those people — and their number is not small — who have been broken by the collision of their dreams and reality. Who dared, but the mighty triumphs eluded them, and all they got was the defeat part.
Just take a moment right now, bend over, and try to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps — or if you aren't wearing boots, just grab the sides of your shoes. Why is it that we use this phrase to describe an admirable determination to succeed by one's own efforts? Something that is by definition impossible. Is this a pathetic lack of national irony, or what?
For six years I have wanted to have a place to work my dogs, raise a little livestock, train with someone who is useful to me and my dogs, and enjoy the fellowship of a small community of like-minded souls. I have traveled tens of thousands of miles, spent more money than I can bear to think of, and tried every avenue I found open to me, in search of these things. My inventory at the end of six years? Two partially-trained dogs with different immutable-by-me working faults, and some good friends in distant parts of the continent. It's not much to show for all that effort.
There doesn't seem to be any direction I haven't tried, and eventually faced a blind alley. And there's the exhaustion factor. At a certain point, my body/mind won't play any more.
When I found myself in my doctor's office with a long list of complaints that a battery of tests could not explain, when I started getting disoriented on trails I had hiked for thirty years, and found myself on the verge of tears for no reason, multiple times a day, when I faced each morning with a feeling of resigned dread, I finally came to this point. Which we call quitting.
I had made contact with the manager of a nearby six acre field, the only one I could find, but then he had some kind of serious medical problem and stopped returning emails. It was my last hope. I knew there was no way to keep going the way I had been, with my sheep a 72 mile round trip away. So, I sold my sheep at auction. That was a sad day.
I let go of all my breeding aspirations, and neutered Ty. I knew that he was too difficult a personality to justify breeding on. I grieved over that a lot more. While I was negotiating all this, I was nursing my corgi in his last stage of hemangiosarcoma. When he stopped eating, and began to labor at just breathing, I knew I had to let him go. I held his face in my hands as the vet released him from his suffering. That was beyond hard.
Three days later I fractured a finger, and couldn't milk. I had to dry off my dairy doe in emergency mode.
In a few weeks, I went from shepherdess, stockdogger, goat-cheese maker, working Aussie breeder-dreamer, to a lady with a couple of pet Aussies and some chickens, plus a couple of useless goats. Not very far from where I started six years ago, in fact.
So, this diary is at an end, as I have nothing to write about any more. And it ends with loss, failure, and grief. Time will go by. I'll put my mourning behind me. Eventually, possibly, something lucky will occur for me. Not now, not yet, but some time. It will have to be sheerly an act of grace, because I can't seek it out. I've done with the striving and daring stuff, in this part of my life.
This is the goodnight, the farewell. I'll sign off with one last quote, which I'm hoping is true:
The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be the beginning.