As you may or may not know, I love plants. I love them so much, in fact, that I am majoring in them. Well, that’s the plan anyhow. The community college I am at now doesn’t offer an associates of horticulture, but once I move on to my bachelors that’s the direction I intend to go. People always ask me, “What are you going to do with that?” and I usually shrug and say “I don’t know, be a forest ranger?”
True, a forest ranger would not be bad work if I could get it, but I don’t know if becoming a forest ranger would be living the dream, exactly. I think I might really enjoy being a florist, or a green house owner, but I feel like a job like that doesn’t give back enough. When I was a little girl I used to pray every night that I would one day have an opportunity to make a big difference in this world, and although, yes, I know all those little cliche tales about how if you’re a mother you make a big difference, or if you’re a Soldier you make a big difference, or if you’re a good friend you make a big difference, blah, blah, blah. You and I both know that’s not what I meant when I used to pray to God that I would make a big difference in this world. I wanted to save the rain forest. I wanted to cure a disease. I wanted to end homelessness. Never did I stay awake at night dreaming of escorting media to and from the NEX in a school bus with no air conditioning in Guantanamo Bay (which is what I did on my deployment). That was not the kind of difference I dreamed of when I was a child.
You want to know what my dreams were before I had a baby? Oh, I hoped to (when I got out of the National Guard, that would have been next summer) join the Peace Corps and do a forestry program in South America. Then I really would have liked to work in biodiversity research, and look for undiscovered plant species in the rain forests of South America. When I became pregnant, I had to re evaluate those dreams. I can’t do those things with a baby in tow. Especially not the Peace Corps, that dream is put off until retirement.
Now I have to be practical, to put down some roots, to provide some stability for my son. As a single mother, I feel like there’s twice as much pressure on me to make sure my sons upbringing is as healthy and balanced as possible. I want to keep him near family. I want to raise him in a loving, safe environment with good schools and a sense of community (good luck finding that last one in the suburbs of Denver, but I’m trying). And that leaves a lot of my dreams of making a difference and giving back with my career in the dust if I don’t make some serious adjustments to them.
This has been one of the major issues I’ve been struggling with since having him. What am I going to do with my life now? What do I want? What dreams, hopes, goals and aspirations can I have now? I found the No Impact Man blog when I was pregnant, and I thought “Why can’t I do something like that?” He wrote a good blog today that pretty much sums it up. But he inspired me, none the less, to find something.
Then today I read this in the New York Times. I have been interested in purchasing a share in a CSA for a long time (unfortunately, the farm I had settled on sold out before I was able to get through to them this year, and I can’t find another one that still has shares that I can afford). Why not start my own? Or why not start some other kind of organic farm, some other kind of organic business. What a wonderful way to give back to my community, help the environment, feel as if I’m creating something, and be my own boss (as much as anyone can be their own boss), and still provide stability and the comforts of being near family and civilization to my son?
I love plants, I’m intensely interested in the production of food, I love working outdoors, I love working by myself, I love creating something, I love going to farmers markets. Hell! This is perfect for me!
But where to start? I suppose I ought to maybe try working on a farm a few times, to see if I really like it. I mean, it seems rewarding, but I’ve never done much beyond simple gardening, so maybe I wouldn’t like it as much as I think I would. Then I guess I could start leaning my education more in that direction, take a few classes in agriculture, maybe read a few books on my own, its not like that would be going against my chosen degree if I were to decide it wasn’t for me anyhow.
Its not like its an overhaul from where I was heading. Its more like a possible focus. And focus is what I pray to God for now.