The Recovering Farmer

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mixed Emotions

As I sit in my office this Monday morning I feel an anxious knot in my stomach. Looking out the window I see something I have waited for, and commiserated about, for months. Warm sunshine, a gentle breeze, trees budding, and grass turning green. Trying to understand the feelings I have. On the one hand I see renewal. The dirt and grime from a protracted winter have been washed away. In some areas farmers are headed to the fields with a quiet optimism that crops will go in. The forecast looks promising. And with each new day more and more fields are drying out. Although later than normal the time has come. There is hope.

But not that far from my office window there is another story happening. The Assiniboine River still seems to have a mind of its own. Long after the snow melt and spring run off the river rages on. It is messing with people’s emotions. It is frightening. Homes are at risk. Livelihoods are at stake. People wait anxiously for river levels to drop.

Further downstream there are other issues. The powers to be have made the decision to do a controlled breach of the Assiniboine River to minimize flood damage. This puts an added strain on all ready raw nerves. Many people, and in particular farmers, were cautiously optimistic that waters might soon recede. Hoping above all hopes that flooding could be averted. Then things change. Totally outside the control of these rural residents an intentional breach has been cut into the riverbank. Optimism turns to the harsh realities that crops may not be sown. The reality that what is there today maybe forever changed. Homes and farms built over many decades maybe damaged for years to come. When will a sense of normality return? What will normal be?

At the end of last week I talked to a young farmer who had just received word that a long sought after refinance package had been approved. This morning I had a call from a young farmer who thought that settlement had been made with a creditor only to find out that the deal had fallen through. Such a range of emotions. Stories that are typical of many farmers out there. Never certain of the future. Should we fight or should we concede?

The challenge becomes to focus on today. If at all possible, try to find something positive in your day. Yesterday is gone. Hindsight only contributes to questions that cannot be answered. We have no control over what tomorrow may bring. I have posted the following quote in a previous blog; “it is not the experiences of today that drive people mad – it is the remorse or bitterness for something which happened yesterday and the dread of what tomorrow will bring”. Avail yourself of resources to help cope with the stress of today. Call the Manitoba Farm and Rural Support Services. Talking helps. Make it a good one.

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