Here at the ranch, social distancing is kinda our jam… we’ve been doing all of the things that seem to be everyone’s “new normal” for generations! Loooooooong before it was cool! 😂
Closures, cancellations, 50% occupancy, and working from home are all things that everyone is getting used to right now. But here in rural America, life is a little different than what you all are experiencing in the city…. it’s basically business as usual.
Farmers’ and ranchers’ lives are continuing, in large part, a lot like they did before all this craziness began. Every single day, ranchers are caring for animals and maintaining grasslands and waterways, farmers are milking cows and planting and harvesting crops. The weather, the season, the accumulated rainfall, and temperature dictate what and when things are happening on the farm…no matter what else is going on in the world. Farming and ranching are quite simply, essential.
Your freezer might be full for the first time, but only making monthly trips to the grocery store and having overly stocked pantries and full freezers is what we have always done; it’s necessary for our way of life. Trips to town that are 30-60-90 or more miles away to get groceries cannot happen every day (or even every week, for a lot of us) – just to make the trip is expensive and time consuming, so we go once a month.
You may have missed going to restaurants or shopping in stores but out here going out to dinner, a date night, shopping (in a store) is not part of our normal lives. Typically, these sorts of activities are in conjunction with a ‘part run’ or other necessary emergency reason to go to town. Or occasionally it rains (meaning that farming is off the table for a day) and it is a rare opportunity get a cowboy to town.
When we do get an opportunity to shop, we shop ‘local’ in our nearest small towns, because we know that without them, our town wouldn’t survive. We eat at restaurants we love, when we can, because we know they need us to stay in business. Something that has sadly been made very apparent in every town and city lately.
You haven’t been able to see people in person, but out here we seldom see other people, apart from those we pass on the road. Close neighbors could be miles away out here in the sticks.
That doesn’t mean that our lives haven’t changed, don’t mistake me, they certainly have!
Business and businesses are struggling, and we too miss our friends. Our kids didn’t have school, just like yours – and we are ready for them to go back, just like you. We are blessed with an outdoor classroom and obviously a lot of us have a job where we already ‘work from home’ which is a lucky break.
One thing that has become a significant challenge for us here in the rural world is moving everything online – like classrooms and meetings. We lack access to reliable internet, so I am so envious of the virtual classes I see my friends doing with their kiddos, and streaming! or really anything online– so awesome (so jealous!)!
What I do think is nice, is even the largest cities have become small towns in so many ways through all of this. Beyond the stockpile of toilet paper, so many people caring about their neighbors and community in a way they never have before – such a blessing in a sea of craziness. This sense of community on such a large scale is so awesome. And it will hopefully continue.
For now, just wearing a mask is a sign that a person cares about their neighbors and strangers. A small symbol of community pride, right there on your face for the world to see. It’s not often that you can literally SHOW you care to everyone you encounter.
Small town life it pretty cool too, even if you enjoy it from the big city.