New Life, Old Lessons


After farming for some time, you get used to the unexpected. Animals out, water lines burst, equipment won’t start are just a few examples of the infinite things that can go south quickly when farming. You learn that the only way to solve these problems is with deep breaths and a level head, because worry and anxiety only lead to a frantic farmer working longer and harder. These daily surprises prepare you for the surprises of life. One can only hope that when they appear, you are ready to breathe and focus energy on what is in front of you. Some surprises are so great in scope and scale that they shift the very nature of your life and the lens through which you view it. Surprise #1 this year, Margaret and I found out we were expecting our first child. We had always planned on having kids, only that plan didn’t start until after we had married and gotten our new farm enterprise up and running. We should have known better. :)

Margaret and I, but mostly I, seem to do everything a bit too big and a bit too soon. This pattern has brought about massive jumps in our evolutions as human beings. That’s not to say those jumps have been easy or that we have even landed on our feet each time, but together we have helped one another up off the ground, so to speak. We are a great team in this way—always there to support one another when we are bloodied and bruised, either physically or spiritually. This partnership faced its greatest test when we came to know Surprise #2, our baby wanted to come even sooner than we expected. 

Two weeks ago to the day, Margaret wasn’t feeling quite right, and a trip to our midwife revealed that she was going into labor. We went to the hospital in Durango to find out that her labor was progressing rather quickly. We essentially had no choice but fly to Denver if we wanted to ensure the survival of our little one if she ended up arriving early. This decision was especially difficult for us because we had been planning a home birth; quite the opposite if the situation we were now heading into. We were learning to let go of our expectations.

This situation required us to pick up, fly into the unknown, and leave behind the sacred security of our farm. Farmers aren’t much for leaving the farm as it is, let alone for the big city for an unknown length of time. But our life together, along with all the surprises we have faced, (and a few tears) allowed us in minutes to bring our laser focus to the moments at hand, and the decisions that must be made. "How do we travel Denver from here without any of our stuff? How long will we be there? What do we about all our animals?!" Luckily, we have an amazing friend and fellow lover of animals who lives on the farm with us, and after a brief phone call we were reassured, “don’t worry about a thing. I’ll take care everyone, y’all do what you need to for as long as you need to.” We are so lucky to have her!

Here in Denver at Presbyterian St. Luke’s Hospital, they were able to slow labor for a few days, but our child was ready to enter this world, whether we were ready or not. 

But for her we had to be, and for her we chose to be. 

So here I sit, next to the love of my life Margaret, and the newest addition to that category of beings, our daughter River. She came into this world at a whopping 2lbs 11oz, fighting for her first breath as if she had no knowledge of her premature entrance, for “Though she be but little, She is fierce!”  

We know not what each day holds in this life on this Sacred and Beautiful living rock flying through the dark matter of the cosmos, and this is good. Because not knowing reveals to us the practice of breathing deeply and taking this life in stride. When we return to our home on the land in Mancos, it will be not only with our newly born daughter, but with our newly born spirits as well. May we be better stewards of the land, the plants, the animals, ourselves and our community as a result. Peace and Love from our family to yours. 

- Scott

Margaret Paradise