Names are no doubt very important. Not only for designating a label to something, but also useful for helping give a good first impression about something as well. Our farm was growing steadily, and what had first started out as a hobby (we were beginning to see) was now going to need a more official 'Title.'
Picking out a name wasn't easy! We tried for THREE years to think of something... a name that was unique, that didn't look or sound like someone else's, and that was easy for us to remember! We struggled, and nothing seemed to fit.. No name seemed to really get at the heart of our family, our animals, or our passion for our farm.
Then, one day as we were packing to move, I came upon a small piece of paper, and was about to throw it away, but decided to read it first instead. Upon this crumpled piece of paper was a story, author unknown at the time, about a child walking down the beach at dawn and throwing starfish back into the ocean. The story was called 'The Star Thrower':
A man was walking on the beach one morning at dawn and noticed a boy who was reaching down, picking up a starfish and throwing it in the ocean. As he approached, he called out, “Hello! What are you doing?” The boy looked up and said, “I’m throwing starfish into the ocean”. “Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the man. “The tide stranded them."
"If I don’t throw them in the water before the sun comes up, they’ll die” came the answer.
“Surely you realize that there are miles of beach, and thousands of starfish. You’ll never throw them all back, there are too many. You can’t possibly make a difference.”
The boy listened politely, then picked up another starfish. As he threw it back into the sea, he said, “It made a difference for that one.”
This story struck a chord, so I kept it. And when it came time to finally settle on a name, so I could register my growing herd, I remembered the story. We tried several names at first... 'Throwing Star Farm' was the closest contender, but Dawn Star Ranch won us over, and became our name. It was the perfect fit for many reasons. Many of which will not be listed as examples, but to mention a few.. It was NOT an easy decision to fully give up living in the city, owning a home, and forfeiting my career goals. In fact, one would even go so far as to say we were insane to move out in the country, live off-grid, and be 'goat herders'!
We made very dramatic life changes, necessary to get us out of conventional living, but no less painful either! Despite the shocking change we had to under go to follow our dream, we were determined to achieve what many say is impossible; living sustainably within our means, and give up trying to live the life that "every American" thinks that they should live (a life of stress, DEBT, Stress!)
Looking back at the way things were before, I felt that I was drying up and stranded in a perpetual downward spiral struggling in my attempt to live the way everyone told me I had to live. It was pounded into my head everyday through the media, through popular consumer society, urging me to have a 'better life.' But what is better for me, and what 'Life' means to me is an entirely different perspective from most other people. And because I held such different views, I failed at the conventional life that I was told I should live.
Our life in the wilderness is a journey. We live every day looking forward to hope, and as our farm and family continues to grow, we embrace the challenges along the way; finding opportunities to lift each other up, and learning the forgotten wisdom that brings patience!
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