CLARK: Imperfection is beauty | Opinion


We follow several farm accounts on Instagram. It’s fun to see their new piglets, goats and foals. Invariably, the photos look like the glossy cover of a magazine at the grocery store checkout. Photos are taken during the golden hours of sunrise or sunset, with the animal staring straight into the smartphone camera lens. It’s hard to compete with that. Why even try? When I think about taking a photo or a video, our animals have their heads down and they eat with their backs turned towards me.

Farmers who take these award-worthy photos rarely show the messy parts of their properties. I wish they would. It would make me feel better about myself. As a recovering perfectionist, I can feel anxiety mounting as I look around our farm and see unfinished projects, delayed maintenance, and mess created by our rescue donkeys on the loose. These are reminders that my husband Houston and I can’t accomplish a lot on our own. We’ve had help from good friends, student volunteers, and even summer interns, but besides help with the glamping tents, it’s mostly the two of us who work on our 21 acres. There is no way to make everything perfect. It creates a challenge when someone comes for a farm tour or to stay in one of the tents. I want them to see our place at its best, and that’s not always possible.

Our clients come from cities or suburbs, primarily the DFW, Austin and Houston areas. They drive for up to four hours just to be in a quiet place, where they can relax and feel a sense of peace. Many come to connect with friends or relatives. Some make the trip to take their children out of the house. Adventurers come to discover nature in all its unpredictability. Most of them don’t pursue perfection.

When I take a moment to look at our property through the eyes of a preschooler who is petting a pig for the first time; a businessman enjoying a chef’s meal at his campsite; a 30-year-old celebrating during a weekend with the girls; or a teenager catching a wriggling catfish, I realize that I might be too hard on myself. Maybe perfection is not the point. Maybe the point is to provide a place where people can have extraordinary experiences.

In a culture that so often celebrates perfection, it’s refreshing to recall the words of Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe: “Imperfection is beauty…” * I agree. That’s not to say that I never struggle with the desire to show our property in its best light. I just admit that sometimes being imperfect is beautiful in itself.

* “Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it is better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”

Sherry Asbury Clark is co-founder of Purdon Groves and a freelance writer. His column, Discovering a Small Town, appears weekly in the Corsicana Daily Sun. You can reach her at [email protected] For more information on Purdon Groves, a farm, table, location, and retreat property, check out or visit their Instagram or Facebook pages.

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