Festival of Flavors; Red Lake Indigenous Food Summit 2016 – http://wp.me/p7SOG5-4
I have never really introduced myself.
This public place started from a private place where people knew me and my story was more practice than purpose.
Somewhere that changed.
Recently expectation changed again and in all the turbulence and contradiction of the past few years, we have found a cadence.
A pace and practicality to match a life we hadn’t counted on.
Never intending to wander, yet here we are.
Three homes in twelve months.
Three cities. Three states.
Rather than slowing, the circle moves faster and wider.
Life showing opportunity. Opportunity changing perspective.
A year ago I was worried about roots.
About what wasn’t and what was left.
Today the balance seems less fragile. Less is more. Movement is strength.
Contentment found in smaller moments and knowing we are together.
Daughter turned mother. Mother turned farmer. Farmer turned writer. A writer learning to embrace a life of possibility.
A rooted heart with a gypsy life.
We might be gypsies
And in the end, that’s our story.
Our truth to speak. Our ground to know.
My mother’s father lived in a house across from a sleepy high school for all the time I knew him.
It was a basic house. A comfortable home.
Enough room to raise a family and provide the privacy he valued and craved.
White house. Green trim.
Small porch front and center that occasionally held a hanging pot in the hot summer and always a plastic Santa during the holidays. Cars slowed to admire it’s shining face. As a child I loved that shining face. Watching my children crane their necks in excitement I found comfort in his shining face.
Even as it faded red to pink.
Less detail and more pleasant memory.
To walk through the door was to embrace the familiar.
Stairs leading up. To kitchen where a heavy table dominated.
To the living room where a crystal bowl of peppermint candies lived.
Tv and armchairs connected by worn green carpet and anchored with a horrid golden couch. Uncomfortable to both sight and seat.
Stairs leading down. To a workshop that smells of wood stain and contented memories.
A tidy bedroom I rarely saw.
I loved that house. Felt safe in that house.
First memories littered with awkward hugs and rough pats. Sleigh bells ringing outside my window on a Christmas morning as a man who showed little affection offered a three-year old delight.
Easter dinners and Sunday dinners. Burnt and dry.
BQQ sandwiches and cold Coca-Cola.
Tart buttermilk in a glass packed with coarse yellow bread.
And the window. A sliding glass door that framed the moments spent sitting and eating. Broad back against the magic glass that looked over a pretty back yard.
Heavily shaded by generous maple trees. Grown tall, blocking large patches of sky. Their scent mingling with the thick grass and compost carefully tended for the fenced sliver of earth that received too little light yet still managed to produce a crop each year.
A thick rock wall, built by hand. Wide enough to walk on. Delighted hours of tracing rough mortar, pressing soft cheeks against the cool stone. Stones moved from the ground by a young man, with a strong back.
Determined to provide for his family.
Determined to build a family.
The same strong back that sat framed in the window of my memories.
The window that looked out over the pretty back yard.
Small enough. Large enough.
Littered with memories.
Memories of uncles who pushed swings and sprayed water and played adoring.
Memories of love expressed in sleigh bells and raked leaves and swings hanging from a low branch.
Memories of relationships growing, and understanding dawning, and respect earned.
Watching a third generation find an avenue to unfiltered affection.
Memories of decisions made and laughter lost and the end of a brilliant mind.
A mind like mine.
Careful. Focused. Methodical.
Forever a piece of my home.
The most practical piece of me.
The white house, with green trim. Magic window and maple trees.
Unable to work. Unable to navigate the decisions that illness brought.
My mother, fragile, was struggling to keep her grasp.
Unable to see the choices. Unable to find a solution.
We hoped we could stretch our years to find experience.
I had a brother struggling overseas, and another living on my couch.
We were a third of the way through a remodel.
Down to the studs, trying to hold to the home my parents owned.
Taxes and mortgage and care giving.
I was exhausted.
I stood in the driveway listening to the officer explain.
I stood in the kitchen listening to my brother explain.
I stood in the backyard and saw the damage with my own eyes even after the best had been done to remove all signs.
Her heart ready to find its home. The tiny woman who taught me about marriage. About love. About being loved by a fierce man.
I stood in the cold and knew I would be okay.
I stood in the gray in clothes that felt awkward.
A brother on one side. My truest friend on the other.
I stood in a small group of people and saw the end of a quiet life.
Knowing I didn’t want them to.
Looking for explanation.
Tiny daughter. Fragile daughter. Daughter fighting.
I stood in the hospital lobby.
Taking a minute.
To wash my face. To drink coffee.
To find a way to pretend I wasn’t afraid. That I might be okay.
I stood in a hospital corridor waiting.
Muscles coiled. Frayed and tight. Feeling the weight of time. The seconds, and minutes and days of my twenty-seven years.
I stood in an elevator and heard the music begin.
“Um bum ba de”
“Um bu bu bum da de”
Slowly. Quickly. Painfully. With relief
I stood listening and felt my everything spin.
And I let the world change.
For me. In that moment. An anthem and understanding.
I stood until the music stopped and then I moved.
I moved into my fear, and anger and grief and pain.
I moved and learned and healed and acted.
I acted on belonging.
“Splits a family in two”
“Puts people on streets”
“It’s the terror of knowing”
“What the world is about”
And it would be okay.
I think I will become a consumer in 2016.
A kitchen farmer in 2016.
Herbs, sprouts, fast turn over flats. It’s taken more years than are logical to get here but life is not going to cooperate with our usual hope for cycles and seasons. I’ve never stood fully on the other side of the fence, the customer side of the fence and I have to admit I find it a little awkward. The trusting.
Because it is trust when I look at a product and believe what I am told about where it was grown. How it was grown. Who grew it.
I know the minutes that go into the final product. The planning and tending. The sacrifice and bending. Is it fair to expect that from someone else? Is it reasonable to assume that they are as carefully aware as I have been?
I have always nurtured a tactile relationship with what nourishes me. The loamy sent of earth. Hands stained, neck sweating under an August sun. Quiet barns in early mornings, eager faces welcoming the care you bring. The magic of birth. The magic of harvest. Contentment and joy at the knowing. The who. The when. The what.
To fill your pantry, to set your table is the deepest kind of gratitude.
I will miss the satisfaction. Exchange it for a new kind of understanding. The value of skill. The respect of product. But it will be unfamiliar, I think even in the practiced years it will be unfamiliar. And a kind of grief. I will miss the knowing. I will miss the life.
Knowing your truth. Sometimes it is hard.
A long twelve hours, 689 miles that had been repeated for the seventh time in six weeks. Sitting at the end of the bed I share with my husband, in the tiny room of our new home.
A temporary home. Not intended for comfort but the practicality of circumstance. Exhausted.
Exhausted and angry and forgetting.
I felt the world tilt.
I let him tend me. Behave appropriately grateful. Rubbing my tender muscles and speaking the words he knew would heal.
I let him hold ground.
Waiting patiently for me to rest and awake.
Bearing the brunt of my quiet frustration.
I gave way to an immaturity that I thought had burned clean some time ago. Annoyed with any burden still waiting for my effort. Self talk seeping into my joy. The love being seen.. Being wanted. Being home.
I let him feel guilt for my fragile condition. Circumstances that he didn’t control. Circumstances I have chosen.
I held no ground.
Laying down gratitude for the greed of resentment.
And that is its own pain, the forgetting.
In 2015 I will have traveled ten thousand pressured miles to be home. To bring my family home. To make a space home.
I will have worked strained hours to tend opportunity. Carrying the weight of a family nearly grown, so that they can grow together. I will have stood still, coiling silently waiting for the mark. I will have pulled in the traces, uncomfortable with the pace. Worn by direction.
In 2015 I will have spent my strength and reserve and abundance moving between future and now.
I will have felt the loss and weighed the balance of a body as it bleeds.
I will have fallen.
I will get up.
Knowing, I will take back the ground and remember with gratitude the road that brought us here.
When my children were young, far from grown, I was given more.
Roots in tilled soil.
Standing at the edge of the life I share with my husband, sustained by youth and polarized by fear, I begged for a world made level.
I let him tend me. Behave appropriately grateful for the gift my body had given.
Bloodline and bond.
I let him break ground. Coiling tightly waiting for the mark. Diligent in his promise of time. Stretching to offer the four walls of a home. Missing moments, and letting his body bleed. He traveled.
72.4 miles in dark mornings. 869 miles in the six days before rest.
45, 177 miles to earn a wage. 180, 710.4 to make a living.
3,577 hrs and 6 minutes, assuming no delay.
Given for my peace and rest. To carry the weight of a family beginning to grow, so that they could grow together. For the comfort of love.
I suppose there is balance in what I’ve done. What he gave. The we.
I suppose there is a lesson in the knowing.
We’ve felt our body weep.
Missing moments, and letting a body bleed. Given for peace and rest.
So that they could grow together. For the comfort of love.
We fought through a history of co-dependence. Of family overreach and lack of self to instill in our children that they get to not only choose who they want to be as they grow but they get to choose the people they allow to influence their lives.
The voices that speak into it.
I have been proud, and grateful to watch them one by one choose kindness, compassion and a growing respect for those around them. The kind of respect that is given first from a place in their own character regardless of capacity or differences, and then continued as a testament to their value of another as they come to better understand the character of those receiving.
Both are important in a healthy life. Both are important in a healthy community.
We want them to think. To educate themselves and come to an understanding outside of our own opinion.
We want them to make choices that they feel solidly in their heart, and we want them to do that at their own pace.
It can be an uncomfortable thing, this leaving them to their own understanding while they grow. We don’t always agree, and when this happens we’ve worked hard to teach the respect that comes with a grateful heart and a sound mind. Both our and theirs.
We challenge them to see others as the individuals we hope that they each have the courage to be. To be comfortable with the differences they might represent and see the value such relationships can bring to their life. And then we hope, with all that we are, that we have taught them each how to voice their own differences. The disagreements within perspective that ring true at their core. Truths that are sometimes lonely. We hope that we have taught them to raise their words not their voice. The clarity of their argument, not their defenses.
We hope, that in a world of offense and passive aggression we have taught them how to speak clearly, with kindness and accept the response that is returned with compassion.
Compassion for each other. Compassion for their neighbor. Compassion for themselves.
Tonight I witnessed the reward of parenting by faith as I sat and listened to my children express their concern for those who have long been the voices in their life. Tonight I saw the uncontrolled authenticity of teaching my children to listen with an open heart and reason with a fierce mind. A mind filled with the understanding of Grace and what that looks like in practice. Tonight my children taught me when they kindly asked my opinion on how to let go of comfortable influence that no longer taught or grew. In a country where bitterness is reigning my children, these tender and firm individuals who I love and support as the adults they are striving to become, taught me about boundaries. About the way love looks when someone you love is causing harm. Tonight my children taught me saying no is sometimes still saying yes. Yes to a right mind and a loving heart. Yes to freedom and the truth of belief.
Tonight my children taught me about the grief of differences and the acceptance in letting go.
I accept your right to believe the way you do. I accept my right to not make your words a part of my life.
In our damaged and angry world it is easy to fight for ourselves. To argue and strike at those around us, those away from us, with bitter words and defiance. Indignant over the injustice of our own space.
In our damaged world we seem to be at war. As a nation. As a tribe. As a people.
Sitting in the quiet moment of truth stretched by earnest words and the clarity of a well-grown youth, my children taught me that I can be at peace. The battle is already won. In their struggle. In their understanding. In their boundaries. In their incredible capacity to walk in the Grace that has spent a lifetime being worn. A Grace that offers power. A Grace that offers freedom. A Grace that reminds us of right mind and the gift of compassion. Of letting go because I AM, and Love.
I was recently taken to task for carrying too much weight in my marriage.
It’s not an uncommon conversation. Our life is unique.
By choice, we carry a heavy load. Not because there is something to prove, but because we are not built to do differently.
Less doesn’t bring peace. Drive is wired that way.
Ours will always be a life of more.
Our portion always 100 percent.
100 percent of him. 100 percent of me. 100 percent of everything there is to invest without concern for what comes next. We rest deeply in the knowledge that we can.
Fall in, let go, be still.
For some that is…unreasoned.
It is uncomfortable.
Often discomfort is interpreted as something to be changed, when in reality our discomfort is simply the exercise of a pliable body and a willing mind.
It is conditioning.
Strength being formed.
A learning curve that requires stamina. Stamina developed in the exhausted moments.
It is practicality that requires stewardship. Stewardship developed in the midst of strain, knowing what seems important changes when there is no energy left.
A learning curve of self care and accountability.
Body as tool. Mind as resource. Emotion to be decided.
Not for a delayed tomorrow, but for a fully lived today.
There is no 50/50. No your turn and then mine. There is only all.
For better or worse. In sickness and in health.
‘Til death do us part.
Memories like…remember that time when we moved six times in ten years and your brain couldn’t handle the overload of information that was required to adapt to the five separate and specific environments you were trying to produce in so you plugged your ears and closed your eyes and found out, quite by accident, that in the full and stretched recesses of your heart you were a poet.
Urban Grace getting back on track with the growing of the food and the preserving of the food and the blogging about the growing and the preserving and the selling of the food but we will be making room for a little poetry to sustain our skip a beat hearts as well.
For our farm friends who have patiently waited for our identity crisis to pass, bless you!
To the new friends who enjoy the poetic waxing and conversations about the moon, and grace, and all things life we will be moving the less “farmy” content to a new page called Gathering Grounds.
We are temporarily under construction (again) but…
“We’re here, we’re planted and we’re learning to bloom one hometown at a time”.
Blessings & thanks for sticking around. ❤
The past week has been difficult. Some borrowed stress, involvement requiring the full engagement of pain. My body weeps, wading through the confusion of physical transition. Maiden to Mother, Mother to Crone. Finding my youth an unwanted detriment rather than the familiar advantage. Business is good, business is long, business is sprinting and treading water in the creative places. My lungs are struggling to find rhythm. I am uncomfortable. I am tired. I am slightly out of focus and recognizing my need to reconnect. Align.
Thoughts with actions. Actions with heart.
Set my intentions.
Tonight is a new moon and this morning I woke to a gift.
A reminder of self and value.
A reminder of choice.
My days are mine to invest. My energy to choose.
Movement becoming pain or praise.
I can hold to the surface. Wary of the deep. Cautious, and distracted, and overwhelmed. Struggling with my strength.
Or fall grace-full.
Down from the shallows. Deep to the stillness where I can breathe. And remember.
We are the householders.
The wisdom of generations. Reaping the wounds and growing the root.
We are the placeholders.
The bridge to tender hearts. Sowing the future and battling the past.
We are the covenant.
The milk and honey. The promise of grace, hope designed.
I have a choice.
Stand bound and grieve my weary or I can gather my ground, the promised land of my heart. Breath in the cool waters that the Spirit calls home.
New moon faithful. Set your intentions. Know your ground.