Amy and I relocated to this farm in August 2020, after living in San Francisco for 30 years. A few weeks ago we observed the first anniversary of our move, and over the past month we've realized that we're experiencing aspects of life here for the second time. That sounds trite in the abstract, but the specific details are richly evocative: The long nights and chilly mornings that come with the turn toward Fall. The pregnant ewes, just beginning to show. The slow thinning of the big oak tree that shades the house from the rising sun.
In a few more weeks there will be frost in the pastures at dawn, and a few weeks after that the first lambs will arrive, sources of joy and anxiety as we watch them grow and fret over their progress. And a few weeks after that
, finally, hopefully, the rains will come, bringing an end to this year's fire season. And the cycle will begin again: The grass will grow green and lush before withering in the Summer heat. The lambs will nearly outweigh their mothers by the time they're rounded up and taken to market. The ewes' fleeces will triple in volume before they're sheared again next Fall.
I still identify as a "resident alien"  out here in the country, but I'm beginning to feel more at home, more grounded
. Some of that is simply a function of repetition, another turn on the wheel of life. As we enter our second year here, everything is more familiar, more manageable. I'm hopeful that I'll continue to grow more acclimated, but I'm reminded of a line from Seneca: "It takes the whole of life to learn how to live."  I know I can't rush the process, and I have to remain open to what's being asked of me.
There's a parallel theme in my coaching practice. Not all of my clients uprooted themselves and relocated during the pandemic--although a number of them did--but everyone's lives were radically transformed. Now they're settling into a "new normal"--ways of living and working that are notably different not only from pre-pandemic habits and routines, but also from the crisis mode of the past 20 months.
In our own various ways, my clients and I are "re-grounding" ourselves, finding ways to live and work sustainably under new conditions. Sometimes this involves adapting to a radically different environment, as in our case on the farm. More typically it involves distinguishing between A) those pre-pandemic activities that are meaningful and important and should be restored, and B) all the others that were merely by-products of a world in which in-person time was a commodity, and not a precious resource. 
Today I have a far deeper appreciation for the ways in which a closer connection with the natural world allows me to feel more grounded. And I'm keenly aware that our time here is finite, and at some point we'll have to leave--true for me and Amy on this farm, true for all of us in this existence--which motivates me to pay attention,
to be more present and available to everything around me.
The other night we took Buster for his final walk, and we suddenly realized that the lane was full of snails. Some signal had summoned them from their hidden corners, and they were having a gastropod convention by moonlight. We stepped carefully among them and made our way down the lane. It was a useful reminder that I've only just begun to explore and understand the mysteries of this new life--to feel grounded here--but I am making progress.
 A Journey to the Western Isles of Scotland
(Samuel Johnson, 1773)
 April 2021 Newsletter
 On the Shortness of Life
 Four Buckets (On Co-Located Work)