2018 was a year for the books: I left my life’s work of teaching for the chance to be a shepherd and tend to a different kind of flock, and I left suburbia (which I was never fond of) for farmland (which, even though I’ve lived in big cities for most of my life, I inexplicably love).
Packing up my classroom was much harder than packing up our home, and although I grieved about leaving the children and the work I believed in so deeply, I knew that it was the right time to close this chapter of my career. Leaving the home we had raised our children in was easier to do. They had left for lives of their own anyway, and it felt strange wandering around their empty rooms, stripped bare so that they could begin furnishing apartments of their own. By the time we were ready to “stage” the house for sale, those rooms had lost all those personal touches that children bring to their spaces, they were just rooms, and it was time for another family to settle in and grow up in that house.
Now, I await the arrival of Spring and the work that must be done by Summer, when the sheep arrive from Tammy White’s Wing and a Prayer Farm in Vermont. Each day is spent researching how to care for and live with a flock of sheep, and what to do with the lovely wool they produce. School chores give way to farm chores, the hustle and bustle of a classroom gives way to those of the farmyard, and books about pedagogy give way to those about shepherding.
In the quiet of these winter months, I am transitioning from one way of life to another, and I am grateful for being able to do so. 2019 promises to be another year for the books!