Whenever I’m scared, I sing.
It’s always the same song that comes to mind first, always the same words evoking what I need to steady myself:
“Love, love, love. Love, love, love. Love, love, love, love, love….”
(do you know it, yet?)
“There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done. There’s nothing you can sing that can’t be sung…”
These words and rhythm set into mind as I brush-hogged the field last week. It’s been three years since sheep grazed our 6 acre pasture, and without them, annual mowing keeps the land open.
In the past we hired our neighbor to mow, but we finally bought a tractor this year.
I’ve never liked tractors very much.
There’s the engine noise, blocking out birdsong. There’s the metal heft of it. Then there’s the imprint of my first farm job, where each time the engine started up my boss would call out, “Okay, we have all increased our chances of injury or death by 200%.” As a seasonal employee then, I didn’t drive the tractor.
Eventually I did learn how to drive tractors on a subsequent farm, though their land was flat.
Driving a large tractor on our hillside farm takes some getting used to.
The roll-bar and seat belt add safety, but it’s the singing that calms me. Eventually that opening refrain morphed into the Elephant Love Medley from Moulin Rouge, and then into Your Song, both the movie and the Elton John version.
And because I can’t hear anything above the noise of the tractor, no one else can, either. I sing out loud, missing all the high notes without care.
Before I began Edge reassured me, “You’re not going to tip over anywhere on this slope. Except maybe there.” So when I got there I went back to the Beatles, readjusted my direction, and took it slow down the slope instead of across it.
Love, love, love. I did it.
Eventually, I relaxed. I even enjoyed it. The scent of goldenrod, asters, and fleabane washed over me as I mowed; fallen apples filled the air as I traced along the old apple tree that juts out on the western border.
As I breathed it all in, I thought about trust.
Trusting myself to do something uncomfortable. Trusting Edge, who went through all the steps with me. Trusting the land and the conversation between slope, tractor tires, and myself.
But more than that, I thought about how it’s the same in any situation.
“All you need is love” has played in my head more times than I can count, reassuring me, deepening my breaths, helping me move beyond fear. When I forget to sing, I stand locked and uncompromising. When I remember, I soften and open up.
It took three evenings to mow the field.
The vegetable field still demands most of our daylight hours: preparing beds, transplanting fall and winter crops, harvesting, and so on. But each evening I jumped on the tractor more ready than before, and mowed into dusk, singing.
Tell me, what do you do when you’re scared?
Do you sing, too?
Share your song in the comments below, and we’ll create an unstoppable playlist 🙂