Our Rural Roots

Ten Words To Live By

(Meredith Bernard)

"Keep a tight line, and give it plenty of slack."

My husband says these 10 words often, and if truly dissected, they may mean very little to the naked ear. The general scenario that brings the saying up and out is when one of us gets wound tight over something.

So, instead of "Keep calm and carry on," it's this nonsensical verse we use to bring us back to our senses. Some say it could be fishing terminology, relating to that delicate dance of hooking, reeling and landing a fish without losing it. Even my husband can't really tell you what it means, just that he's heard it all his life and has therefore said it all his life. The more I hear it and use it, though, the more I find myself relating to it.

I've mentioned before how I consider myself a walking, talking oxymoron. For instance, I thrive off deep connection and conversation, but also need (and generally prefer) time alone to think and process. I'm also currently learning to love and treat my body better with nutrition and exercise, but I'm not about to give up butter and biscuits. (That line isn't moving for nothing.) Then, there's the fact that I have a horrible tendency to procrastinate (for which I often beat myself up), yet at the same time, I tend to do my best work under pressure.

Does any of this speak to you? I can't help but think a lot of us tend to keep a tight line ... with plenty of slack. Maybe it's worth owning the common ground between the contradictions of our existence that make up the beautiful whole of who we are. Here's to holding the lines that hold us with a little more care and embracing the middle, common ground when we can find it.

If that doesn't work, at least I own the T-shirt.

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Meredith Bernard battles to find middle ground while writing and tending to farm and family from North Carolina. Follow her on social media @thisfarmwife and visit her website at https://thisfarmwife.com/…

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