Jessie Veeder: How to define a good life


Some mornings I do not take the time to note it the best way I used to earlier than the infants arrived, however once I do, it all the time jogs my memory of the explanations we moved again residence to the ranch seven years in the past.

Has it been seven years already? That quantity sounds so everlasting to me, as if the home and the youngsters and the cattle aren’t sufficient solidification of the choice we made once we have been so younger to plant our lives right here for good.

“For good.”

Once I say it that method it means ceaselessly, however I take a look at it right here, written down, and I really feel compelled to outline it.

Once we’re planning out our hope for the longer term, the “good” is what we tally as much as assist finalize our selections. We selected our individuals based mostly on the laughs, the calm and the nicely-timed casseroles or telephone calls they bring about into our lives. It is the great that brings us nearer to the imperfect elements of them — the scars, the mess, the errors that make up their not-as-fairly storyline. I feel the identical might be stated for the locations we selected.

Final summer time I participated in a collection of interviews for a undertaking that may showcase the distinctive lives of girls in all 50 states. This included a collection of lengthy telephone conversations with a couple of feminine journalists in huge cities on the East Coast, answering questions on what life was like out right here on a panorama they’ve by no means seen earlier than.

Whereas we talked, I imagined them in fashionable haircuts sitting in a excessive rise behind a desk in an internet of cubicles, photographs of boyfriends or youngsters pinned to the material of their makeshift partitions. Partitions inside partitions inside partitions.

I’m wondering in the event that they imagined me on the telephone throughout my toddler’s nap time, my stomach swelling with a brand new child on the best way, sweeping the dust and little items of scoria off the ground as a line of black cows trudged by our fence line on their option to the dam for water.

“I suppose it’s a lot to tackle,” I keep in mind remarking after one interviewer requested why we selected what she referred to as “a tough life.” I simply described how we’re answerable for the fences and the water, the buildings, the animals and the land. And we’ve got a lot to study as we try and fill the large footwear that left this right here for us.

However a tough life?

Nobody out right here has ever declared it to be so, not even because it’s all executed on second shift, when the solar goes down, or whereas it is arising, a ribbon at a time.

However a very good one?

That I’ve heard. And that is why we’re right here.

Jessie Veeder is a musician and author dwelling together with her husband and daughter on a ranch close to Watford Metropolis, N.D. She blogs at



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