So here I am in a little farmhouse in Nebraska after God put me in a safe and growing place, and I worked through my past as I worked through the garden. I was scared and I was pretty sure that I'd messed up so badly that I'd never recover, like I'd be singing the Single Mama blues forever working too hard for not much and making ends meet by tying together what came my way from the local second hand store, from what my sister passed down to me, and from I was able to grow from a $1.29 packet of seed picked up at Walmart. And I prayed the fabric of this life would hold strong, so we could pull it up to our chins at night, Nora and I in the double bed my great aunt had passed down to me after her death and whose Rodale's Garden Problem Solver became my regular reading though I never would have believed it.
And then Pastor J. showed up and we talked a lot of honest stuff across the scarred kitchen table, and Nora was three, and she started preschool, and I met so many beautiful women, and we laughed and we sang and we loved, and we still do even while we're negotiating the changes that come when women are mothers and women and wives and wishers. Then I got hired full time at the University after 80 other applicants passed through, and I could not believe it. I payed bills. All of them.
And all this time my mom and my stepdad were loving me and holding me strong and encouraging me, and I bought some boots for kicking around the shit that haunted me and the new ideas that also haunted me. And I wrote to friends and I wrote to the world and I sang on my dad's Martin in the kitchen sitting on the counter with my bare feet propped up, just cover tunes because I was still looking for my own voice, and when it was too hot, I'd drink a beer or some sun tea, and when it was too cold, I'd close the door to my bedroom, turn the heat down and crank up the space heater as Nora and I hunkered down. The landscape turned from green miles to the white of some alien landscape, the little brick house they built for Ila sitting around us like Fort Farm, and we were under attack not from anything I could address directly like a broken well pump or a dead farm cat in the shed, but from the pain of already sealed choices I'd made for myself and for my daughter, who lives with my decisions as children must. Back then when I didn't know where I, this real woman who woke each day as herself either closer or farther away from that "I" and what she was made to be, could place myself, and the distance between us was immeasurable though I couldn't, at the time, have known that I should be thinking about the states that separated us. This man.
I still couldn't articulate then what I deserved until the rain poured down into your shoes, and we decided not to harden our heart, and there you were: 1000 miles away.
And here it is, and it asks courageously that I walk away with what I found here on the farm, carrying our lives in a bundle of seed packets labeled "Holy Night She Cried Until the Morning Glory" and "Sweet Pea that He Calls Her When She Looks Shy at the Dinner Table with Bread He Baked" and "The Only Explanation is Heirloom Grace Seed" and "Protect the Children in the Fortress Called Home of Our Belonging" beyond the plains, beyond my own small expectations for my life into what I was actually made to receive and made to give.