Where the Land Meets the Sky

Home is where, on the morning of the school Christmas program, you can be half-dressed at 6:37 a.m. in your kitchen, dancing to the Slade Christmas song from the ’70s, making school lunches for your children, while also brushing your teeth, until toothpaste falls from your mouth onto the sandwich you’re preparing, forcing you to start again and re-think your otherwise super-efficient juggling skills.

Home is where “the holidays” slowly creep upon you, until suddenly they don’t: One morning you wake up and they’ve pounced.

Home is a heaped pile of shoes by your front door as 30-plus people come through your farmhouse for an annual gathering to cut Christmas trees, to eat that seasonal, scarce and gorgeously gooey cheese made just a few miles from your farm, to scoff hot chili and to drink mulled wine.

Home is where you curl up in the evening, in your oversized, outdoor chair (that with blankets and pillows you’ve made an into an indoor chair), which has now become your favorite place to read.

It’s staying up all alone on Christmas Eve, wrapping presents ’til 2 a.m., so that everything is just so, and so that … shhhh …. the littles will never know.

Home is your children’s still-cozy-warm-from-under-the-blankets hugs on Christmas morning, when they first wake up to a new snow, to a crinkling something in the stuffed-full stocking at their feet, to fill you with your own child-like glee.

Home is a hurry and a scurry, to make beds for guests, to open the door to guests, to close the door to guests. To treasure all the bits that you never thought to anticipate. Like the late-night dishwashing conversations with friends that quickly get profound as your kitchen slowly gets tidy. It is all the stolen moments, during early morning farm chores, when the world is entirely yours. It is walking alone in the snow and hearing your own deep exhale, followed closely by the watchful crow, cawing from his perch in the tree beside the barn. It is all the unexpected, small joys that fall around us like confetti, feeding our souls and making our spirits sparkle.

During this time of wintry wonderment and joy, home is hope. Hoping this will all be enough (it will). Hoping everyone will be happy (they will), and, just in case they’re not, also hoping it will all be ok anyway (really, it will). My wish for you this season, gentle reader, is that wherever you are and whatever you are doing, you find yourself so very comfortably and happily “Home” for the holidays.

Etienne White lives where the land meets the sky on a farm in Iowa County where she raises grass-fed, Old English Babydoll sheep, as well as pastured chickens, a happy farm dog, a wily barn cat and her two spirited children. She runs a consulting business working at the intersection of sustainability and marketing, and is a sought-after speaker on sustainability in the United States and Europe.