This is cross-posted at PineRidgeOklahoma.com:
How do I begin?
PineRidgeOklahoma.com has been around since, oh… I think January 2002. I created the page a couple of weeks after I first moved back to Oklahoma, after having lived in Austin and later San Marcos, Texas for the previous 4-1/2 years.
During the previous semester, I was confused as all get out about what my direction was to be. I was religiously searching (and a bit disilliusioned), politically evolving and dead-broke. I was working as a pedi-cab driver in Austin and taking one grad school class at Southwest Texas State (now TexasState.edu) in Mass Communications.
Towards the end of tha semester, two things drew me to the farm. First, I was introduced to the writings of Wendell Berry (who is now my favorite author) by a fellow pedi-cab driver. The book was called Sex, Economy, Freedom and Community and it changed how I thought about everything. Wendell made me realize that it was less important how one voted or what organizations you supported, than how you lived. I also learned from Wendell that one’s roots are important and are not something you should ignore.
The second thing that drew me to the farm was the death of my grandfather, Lawrence McCullough. When my grandpa died, I felt like a big part of my family had died today. Even though my parents and my siblings had lived most of our lives in a small bedroom community (which was rapidly morphing into a soulless suburb), we also had that tie to “The Farm” (which was how we always referred to it). We might not have lived on The Farm, but we spent lots of time out there on weekends and sometimes for longer. It definitely felt like it was part of who are and to lose that was unfathomable.
So I moved to The Farm. I had no idea what I was going to do there, but at least I had a home to live in. And I knew that despite my enjoyment of the mellow vibe of San Marcos and Austin, that in some real way it wasn’t truly home either.
I ended up spending a few months at The Farm. My experience was very mixed. I had the joy of spending lots of winter days there (gloriously snowed in with chili on the stove) and in reveling in the quiet and solitude of the place. I also struggled to deal with my own problems while missing my friends and my beloved Austin. Finally in the spring, I began to spend more and more time in Newcastle, where my employer (my Dad’s law firm) was at) and over time spent less and less time at the farm.
In the years that followed, I saw those months at the farm as a good experience but also settled into life in the City. I spent a while in Newcastle before moving to Oklahoma City. I loved the vibrancy and diversity of the City, but still longed for The Farm too. I did feel like I had found a home in the City, but something was still missing.
So, now I’m back at The Farm again. As always, I’m not exactly sure why, except that it feels right. Maybe I’ll understand more in time, but for now it is enough to know that it feels like home.
I’ll also mention for my regular readers here at JMBzine, that I’ll be posting thoughts and reflections on living at The Farm over there. JMBzine.com will be reserved for political and social commentary. Anything else that is just for friends to see can be found on my Facebook profile.