Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Beautiful Side of Somewhere

Since moving to Floyd, I’ve been amused to consider that oft-mentioned correlation between negative emotions and the spate of creative energy. By that measure, my life here makes for boring writing:

I got up. I went to work. I came home. I ate dinner. Life is wonderful and I have no regrets.

It makes a good epitaph, I suppose, especially if you dig Hemingway and his love affair with the first person pronoun. However, I have irrational and stubborn principles that come into play when I put my mark down on a page, and if there’s one thing I can’t stand in any form, it’s banality. (Incidentally, this is why I have a hard time reading most of what I wrote on here before 2005.)

Given those self-imposed restrictions, I suppose it’s a good thing that there was a shake-up in my world. The original move to Floyd, precipitated as it was by what amounts to a love affair with what is now my highland home, was built largely upon the fact that I’d found a job—an internship at Five Penny Farm/Shooting Creek Brewery—and, through my employers, a place to live. The internship was supposed to last from April until October, but due to a lot of unforeseen financial circumstances, my employment became, to use the popular euphemism, redundant.

In my previous life, this news would have devastated me and left me convinced that I’d made a mistake in moving to Floyd. Indeed, I was shaken for a good part of the day when my boss regretfully informed me that he couldn’t afford to pay me anymore. It’s become clear to me in the past year, though, that a paradox exists in regards to fear—that is, that the worst time to yield to doubts and misgivings is when they seem the most warranted.

I’d already found a part-time job (originally to supplement my income from working at the farm) at a place called The Tasting Room, a cooperative “satellite” tasting room run jointly by five local wineries. I took it as a good sign that in the short period I’d been here I’d been able to find more employment than I’d ever found in Blacksburg.

“You ain’t got to stand up tall, but now, baby, you must stand up.”

An aside about the nature of faith: a lot of people seem to have odd, skewed notions about the nature of faith, for a variety of reasons I won’t go into. Faith, as I see it, is not blind. It’s not a rejection of fact. It’s an acceptance of things, ideas, notions that lie beyond the realm of fact. Perhaps more importantly, faith is not the absence of doubt, fear, or anxiety. It is the motive force behind the ability to proceed when those doubts, fear, and anxiety are dark waves cresting on the ocean of the soul.

I truly believe that I did not find work in Blacksburg for these two reasons, inextricably linked to each other: I had not yet reached out in faith, and I had not yet found a place (mental, emotional, or spiritual) where I was able to reach out in faith. The evidence, for me, that whatever was lacking before has made itself present to me lies in the fact that before my time at the farm was up, I was offered a job at a local organic food company. A happy side-note to all of this is that when I quit grad school in the summer of 2009, I joked (rather wryly) that it seemed likely I’d never use anything I learned in my year of pursuing a Food Science degree. Irony of ironies—now I may have to give myself a refresher course in Food Chemistry.

It’s always a good idea to keep in mind that, if you say “It’ll be all right” for long enough, sooner or later you’ll be right.

(I’m still flying.)