Sunday, June 24, 2012

When Five Days Is Fifty Years

I should start with something eye-catching:  The Unfolding Adventures of a Single Mom Living on a Farm in the Middle of Nebraska Who Learned How to Grow Food and Found Herself in the Dirt, Too, and Who Has Suddenly Found Herself Through God's Grace in a Place More Beautiful Than the One She Thought She Belonged.

Too short?

Oh, folks, I just want to talk to you honestly.  You.  Me.  One to one.  

There is a part of me that wants to keep this new thing a secret, held close.  But this is too important not to say:

His name is Tom, and he's beautiful, the kind of beautiful you find in really rare things, and he seems rare to me.  And somehow through the fields, I heard his voice.  Or he heard mine.

So, that's all I'll say for now.  I just wanted all of you to know that I finally found him.  He was just over there this whole time.  And wow.  

Saturday, June 16, 2012

When the Words Won't Come, Just Say Thank You

A daughter who's got you on her mind.  A mother with her daughter on her mind.
Grandma Aanonson's wisdom and humor.
Mom and Mike scaring me at 1 AM at the door and a peace offering the next morning of biscuits and gravy.
A restaurant reservation in Atlanta.
A woman letting go on an airplane dropping all her baggage because she belongs somewhere she feels free.
Wildflowers growing from her hair.
The woman who writes the songs my heart didn't know it was singing.
The laughter and jumping up and down and clapping and pretend punching each other in the arm.
The Author of my life writing a surprise ending better than I imagined.  I continue the Beginning.
Hang on to your hats, kids.  Love isn't done with us yet.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

"I am not done with my changes."  -- Stanley Kunitz 

The garden is a living poem, each terrace a stanza of unlikely unfurling and brave resolve in the wind and hail and damage of life.

You know I won't stop loving, no damage permanent enough to make the seed refuse to speak the message of its constant transformation, rolling under the soil like a restless child with growing pains in the night, kicking the covers loose and the first green shoot suspends itself above the safety of the dark unnaming space below to the exposed moment when we are most fragile and most determined to live.

Then the Gardener appears to coax us on to our names, to our love, to our becoming.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Stanzas from the Farm

Hot crunch radish pulled red and root
from the crumbling dirt.  Red root heart,
begin the day above ground this time.

The daughter testing boundaries of voice
and bark and howl and leaving pen marks
upon the world pushing against her and the world
she wishes to push as she walks here.
If a daughter changes herself, the whole world
will change.  Like this:  Her tiny foot stomps
the ground she will stand, brave and delicate.

The shy and rising swans taken up
before the green unfurl and flower.  Release
the ravaged voice you heard when you were ugly.

The white dazzled water speaks the angels'
presence in Hildegard's wet branches.  Her songs
levitating on the edge of breathing and black out.
The fertile sheet music and the tendril of voices.

The gift of him arriving from so far across the field
southeast of the farmhouse, a thousand miles,
while I dug the soil down with prayers he would
see the garden and see my heart there, too.
He did hear and walked in carrying Provisions and Grace,
and I am restored in the love he shares so freely.
How it is we heard and how it is we answered:

The three A.M. birds name the day.
The heart's clay cracks to greet this Yes.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Count Them

A quart of cherries picked before the birds devour them.  The tree now two years' worth of regrowth after the wind called it down to the ground to rebuild again and again.  You do it.  You can.  It did.  Trust it.

His laughter.  Home.

Nora has been a dog for the last 27 hours.  That's acting!  She barks and quips and there is late night howling that makes my heart grow several sizes larger than I thought possible.  We're just a cave full of lovely wolves.  Howl and prowl.

Perhaps we do not consider enough the power of three ukuleles.  Perhaps we should.  Go long!  Go long!  Lighter fluid.  Lighter fluid.  We'd secretly like to be in The Who, but, you know, with ukes.

Hello, God!

Audre Lorde's book of essays Sister Outsider.  

Dancing the equation to its solution.  Movement is not to be feared.  Grace is not to be feared.  Rhythm is the hand touching the cradle of the child that touches the stars that touch the atom in your fingernail.  Put it all in your pocket and hand it to someone you love.

Cat Stevens and Carli Simon.   A call and "I'm here."

Nine days and nineteen hours.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Three Things

1.  I Have Always Needed Music to Do What I Do

I won't start until the music begins.  All right.  There it is.

2.  She Knows How to Build a Fire in a Wood Burning Stove

We reach the other woman on the path who is also reaching.  If we reach together, we'll grab the same thing at separate times.  The cotton blue woman standing at the iron stove feeding wood through the grates, I'm calling you Great Grandmother.  You sat on his bed because it was the only place to sit in the room.  And that's why I'm here.

He was pulling the horses around while you rubbed your hands together near the potbellied stove radiating not but three feet the warmth only he'd bring round once the horses were also rounded.

You can sit in any room and see your future radiating three feet warm and the edge of it is where you find your fingers again, wordtangled like ten confused tongues.  She had the sense there were already enough words to feed the fire a hundred times in the morning:  eggs, bacon, cedar, biscuit, cotton, a note she'll slip into his hands when she has to leave to tend the life she's planted and that grows up all around her like a gift and a thing missing.

"Are you warm?"
Standing suddenly as the gloves (her work, her cover, her hiding, her distance between the fingerprints and the surface of life) fall to the clean, pine floor:  "Yes."

3.  Companion

For life the barn swallows huddle together over the five most cherishfragile eggs.  In the evening, the two swoopdive between each other, still playful.  And sharp as knives cutting blue and green slices between what is naturally done and what they'll have to choose to do because both are required and both are what they've built the nest from: mud (the dust of ashes to ashes and never lose a momentprecious) and spit (the lake upon which the words sail: are you warmyes?)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Why I'm Not Actually a Failure

I'm standing at the kitchen sink scrubbing egg out of the bottom of the frying pan with the lid from a Juicy Juice bottle.  I'm crying.  This is normal.

I'm thinking about something Pastor Jurchen said to me the other evening.  "If you've got demons from the past, you've got to drive them around in the trunk for awhile, and then let them roll around on the floorboard.  And then, when you have that rollover experience, they're going to go flying all over.  You've got to let them."

I drive like an octogenarian, so this imagery was hard for me to follow at first, but standing here in front of the sink trying to scrape off this egg, I'm beginning to understand.

About thirty minutes before this, I had fried up a little ham, scrambled some egg and assembled a breakfast burrito with cheese for Nora.  She said, "I'm not eating that disgusting food."  And I, like most parents, said, "That's what's for dinner tonight."  The situation intensified as I informed her again that I wasn't going to be making a second supper.  Nora yelled.  And I yelled.  So I gave myself a time out.

Another thing Pastor Jurchen said:  "I don't get the feeling that you've done a lot of getting angry in your life.  That you don't yell at people that often."

This must be why I'm standing outside now with my eyes closed and my face turned into the sunset while holding the trash can that I just rinsed clean with the garden hose.  See, Nora dumped her orange Jello onto my dinner plate.

I have to hand it to her, it was a pretty effective move.  She wasn't eating her food, so I sat down to eat mine.  She grabbed some Jello from the fridge, opened it, and dumped it on top of my supper.

I honestly didn't know how to respond.  I stood up silently and dumped my dinner in the trash, missing the trash bag.  At a loss for words, I retreated to my bedroom for another time out secretly hoping there would be a sub sandwich and a parenting guide under my pillow.  No such luck.

After explaining to her that she can never pour Jello on dinner again, I end up making her a grilled cheese sandwich and when I turn to the sink, the words inside my head slip past the guard at my mouth, and I hear:  "I am such a failure."

All right.  Back up.  I understand at this point in the game that I'm not a failure.  I've failed a few times, sure, but that doesn't make me a failure, so why am I talking to myself like that?

Oh, right.  The demons are rolling around on the floorboard.

So, I start to name them.  You.  Yeah, I'm talking to you.  You're the one who said I should never get angry or stand my ground, which meant I lived with a whole boatload of bullhocky for more years than I needed to.  And you, you're the one who tells me I don't how to be a mom.  Well, you're full of it, too.  Remember those nights I didn't sleep while I held Nora in my arms making sure she was breathing?  That's right, buddy.  I would give my life for her, and that alone makes me an astounding mother.

Sure, I yelled.  Big deal.  People yell sometimes.

When I asked Nora if she could think of other ways to let me know that she's angry, she said, "Hmmm....I don't know if I can promise that, Mom.  I think I'm just going through a phase or something."

I love her honesty.  I love how well she knows herself.  I love that she gets angry enough to dump Jello on dinner in order to be heard.  Because that's the girl who will grow up to be a woman who knows herself well enough to speak the truth even if it means arguing.  That's the girl who will grow up to be a woman who has the courage to look at all that useless garbage in the trunk and say, "I'm not eating that disgusting stuff."

I also understand that THIS woman will only be making one dinner per evening, and it won't be scrambled eggs with Jello.

It's astounding to me how much learning I still have to do...

Saturday, June 2, 2012

There is a lot on your plate.

Cooking:  the intentional transformation of life into Life.

Find your appetite.  Find your love.  Find your health.  Find your medicine.  Find your abundance.  Find your beauty.  Find your Joy.

All is gift.