Our Rural Roots

When the World Stood Still

(Progressive Farmer image by Getty Images)

How many times have we begged for time? Time to breathe. Time to sit. Time to reflect. Pre-COVID-19, I said a prayer for time every morning. God doesn't always answer prayers in ways we expect.

Our family went from running at the speed of sound to a screeching halt this spring. The first time I heard "social distance," I chuckled naively. We are lifelong country "kids." Self-isolation is not new. We have miles of countryside to explore and a business ruled by Mother Nature. She takes orders from no one.

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But, these blessings -- natural social distance and essential business -- did not insulate us from the coronavirus ripple effect. Like dominoes, we started falling in sequence, which I can only hope means at some point, we will all stand back up.

In our household, I often find myself playing the role of Pollyanna in the face of the unknown. I turned our family calendar -- a large chalkboard hung by the back door -- into a thankful board. On it are written the things for which we are grateful. Someone adds to the list each day, and every time we walk in the door, we can review what truly matters to our family.

The empty calendar meant we ate dinner together every single night, which was not our norm. We decluttered, explored hobbies and started genuinely enjoying each other's company. We planted corn, cleaned the cattle lot and mapped out a new garden ... together. We found ourselves breathing, sitting, praying and reflecting, together. These are all things we used to do once in a great while, but none were habits.

Experts say forming a habit can take as few as 21 days and as long as two months. Could it be new habits formed when the world stilled? Time will tell.

> Katie Pratt learns new habits, writes, tweets, farms and "likes" agriculture from north-central Illinois. Find her blog at theillinoisfarmgirl.com and follow her on Twitter @KatiePratt4.

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