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The Crowded Acre: A Change of Plans

By Jennifer Welch

I’m not very good at existential questions, especially those along the lines of: which came first, the chicken or the egg? It could have been the chicken just as easily as it could have been the egg, if you ask me. But does any of it really matter when we consider that chickens are actually tiny T-Rex’s which we have basically domesticated? Perhaps we should stop asking questions and take a small moment to give ourselves a pat on the back for that one. But truly, if I’m being honest, I dislike this question because I reject the idea that things need to be linear in order to make sense.

Twelve years ago, I took an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) class at our local CMC campus. My husband, Brian, was also enrolled in the class as part of his required certifications for his employment with the fire district. I have always loved medicine, though I originally thought I would attend veterinary school to work on large animals. Once I decided that I didn’t want to spend a third of my life with the majority of my arm on the internal side of a cow’s sphincter, I let the idea of medicine go by the wayside. That is, until I took this course. I fell in love. I got to think on my feet. I got to see weird and gross things. I got good at it. I graduated at the top of my class with a new take on my future. I also had a new baby in my belly, and that changed things in ways I never could have imagined.

As the mother of a daughter and one on the way, I had to make decisions for our family that were not rooted in my new fascination. I decided to stay home and raise a family, eventually having a third child and starting our small family farm. In hindsight, I wouldn’t take any of it back. Eventually the farm grew alongside the children and a food truck was born of my inability to sit still, even in the throes of parenthood. I worked hard and loved well and, most importantly, I regret nothing. But a moment came when I realized that I had reached a point where my family could handle the reality of me doing something for myself. So, ten years after my initial foray into emergency services, I enrolled in another course and got a job with our local county EMS service.

I’m not one for linear progression, or maybe it has just taken me entirely too long to make sense of my life. Either way, I have bounced and rebounded in ways I didn’t know I was capable—and in ways I didn’t know would ultimately serve me in my goals. For almost two years I have been working to learn how to serve my community in ways that I am able. I like thinking on my feet. I appreciate the opportunity to meet people in their time of need and vulnerability. I am learning how to help them with my head and with my hands. This learning will never end, as every person and every scene is different. My commitment to this learning has led me to a unique opportunity: to expand my knowledge and skill level through an intensive program on the front range. If all goes well over the next month, I will be moving to Denver for six months, come January, to complete a program in Paramedicine. My parents will move out here to help with the kids and the farm—neither of which will suffer due to this decision. And when I return, I will have a broader base of knowledge and skills with which to help my community. And my family. And my farm. This is all to say that I will be leaving this forum for a short while. So, thank you for following along with my journey thus far—non-linear and all—I will be back to relay tales of burro-taming and child-rearing before anyone is able to make actual sense of which came first: the chicken or the egg.

Jen Welch lives and writes in the Upper Arkansas River Valley and her understanding of biological processes would lead her to believe that eggs actually came first, before the chicken, as they would have been the result of some forced, unnatural mating—which leads her to believe that the true question lies in whether or not there was consent …