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  • Writer's pictureColleen Nelson

Your Time Is Not Your Own

When you start living on an acreage some lessons come through hard knocks. One lesson we have learned the hard way, your time is no longer your own. It does not matter what you had planned. It does not matter how important you thought your schedule was. Nature has a way of reminding us of what is the most important.

One particularly busy Saturday my dear husband, our son, and our daughter were rushing back to the house between events. We had only a couple of hours to change clothes, eat, and regroup before heading back out to the next series of preplanned events. We had all been a bit snippy with one another. It could have been because we were tired. It could have been because we were hungry. It could have been a combination. Nothing major, but we were not at our best.

As we drove up to the house and pulled into the driveway, we saw one of twenty-year-old trees in the front yard had come down in the storm. This was not something that could wait until our planned day was done. It was something that had to be handled right away. It was not on the schedule. It was not in our control. It was not what we would have chosen to do. But there was a bigger plan in motion.

This family who was snipping at one another and pushing each other’s buttons snapped into action. My dear husband quickly changed out of his dress clothes and headed to get the chainsaws. My children changed into their country clothes. I changed and started feeding the kids. They ate while I grabbed a snack for my husband, we cleaned up, and all headed out to the yard.

By this time, my dear husband had tree limbs cut and piled. He had started to break down the larger branches working his way toward the trunk. I joined him and we began cutting pieces for firewood. The kids started to grab the lose branches and limbs and dragging them to burn pile. There was no snipping. There was no button pushing. There was very little verbal communication at all. We had just become a team working in unison to tackle the obstacle in front of us.

There were chainsaws, burn piles, rangers, and it was hot. Taking down a mature tree is back breaking work. The sweat made the sawdust stick. It was miserable. I do not remember who finally said it with the mix of sarcasm and humor our family is known for. But one of us called out, “we didn’t need to rest, we just needed unplanned family bonding.” It was the break in tension we all needed, and we burst into laughter. Somehow as we were all trying to handle the challenge we were still stressed about the other commitments in the day, we had not actually paused to look at what this city family had accomplished together.

This moment was exactly why we had moved out of the city and away from the suburbs. When taking on an acreage it is important to know that your time is no longer your own. You have become a custodian of something bigger than yourself. If you let it, it will pay you back tenfold. Out here in the freedom of the fields and away from the crowds we can see the larger plan. We reconnect to what is most important.

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