They Might Be Gypsys

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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.
It’s alchemy.
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.

{Unedited} Forever Pieces

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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.
Hawaiian rolls.
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.

Not large.

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.
Gentle magic.
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.

{Unedited} Houses Fall Down

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I was twenty-seven, making my relationship with my husband in its fourteenth year.  The children in my home and care were eleven, nine, eight, six and four.
My step-father, the big sanguine man who raised me, had just been diagnosed with a broken heart.
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 opened our arms and my sister, fifteen walked in.
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 terrified.
I was exhausted.
I was numb and overly aware.  Finally, after years of getting by. Beginning to see who I needed. What I needed. Where I belonged.
It was a year that broke me.
Into pieces. Into the strongest pieces.
My mother’s father died. Found at his home the day my husband started the job that would shape our future.
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.
My father’s mother joined her husband.
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.
A life of support. Of choice.
Knowing no one could remove the signs.
Knowing I didn’t want them to.
I stood in a hospital room.
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.
“Mm ba ba de”
“Um bum ba de”
“Um bu bu bum da de”
I stood where it found me and felt the threads begin to unwind.
Slowly. Quickly. Painfully. With relief
I stood listening and felt my everything spin.
I stood still for four minutes.
Sobbing and knowing and broken into the strongest pieces.
I stood still holding words I wasn’t old enough to have.
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 the strongest pieces.
I moved into my fear, and anger and grief and pain.
I moved and learned and healed and acted.
I acted on the seeing and the understanding and the knowing.
I acted on belonging.
“Under pressure that brings a building down”
“Splits a family in two”
“Puts people on streets”
“- that’s okay”
“It’s the terror of knowing”
“What the world is about”
The year I was twenty-seven I heard the words of a man I will never meet, who I barely had a perspective of and understood.
Houses fall down.
And it would be okay.

 

 

 

{Unedited} The Knowing

rosemary-up-close2.jpg.jpegI 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.