Block Island, RI
Kyle sent me this image yesterday while I was home sick. I smiled immediately remembering the long weekend we had spent on Block Island more than a year ago. It was our first weekend away, just me and him, and I have never laughed so hard or felt as much as a kid as I did on that island. The weekend was filled with mini adventures, exploring the island on old fashioned basket bikes with bells, climbing the cliffs and building endless rock towers of our own, and sipping wine with dinner as we sat on the large front porch of the National watching the ferries drop off and pick up lingering tourists. We had only been dating for a couple of months when he had surprised me with this amazing getaway but somehow now looking back on our long weekend in the fall, it feels as though we had been together forever.
One of my most magical moments from the warm, crisp fall weekend was when we both looked to the back of the ferry on our way over to the island and saw thousands of Monarch Butterflies that had come along for the ride. Their gentle wings fluttered majestically on the sea breezes as the sun dappled light across their strong little bodies. It was if they had been ordered up for our viewing pleasure. The image came across my phone with talk of more adventures to come, islands still left for us to explore. Looking forward to creating new memories with Kyle yesterday made being home sick a little less blah.
photo by Ryan Hennessey
It’s during the quietest times in the days that we seem to naturally reflect. Take everything in from our day and rework our conversations, experiences, and disappointments in our mind, trying to make them all fit into a neat little box so we may pack the day away and be done with it. I had a lot of time to reflect yesterday, home sick not even feeling like writing, so I took up all the loose strings in my mind and began to ravel then unravel, trying to weave them all into something that made sense,so they would fit within the framework of my mind. I came to a spot in the day, exhausted from fever and chills, where I just let go of the strings. I let them fall where they may and reminded myself that I’m not in control of hardly anything, barely my own reactions at times. One day, I’m assured that all of these loose strings will make sense, as hindsight being nearly perfect, they will reveal their beautiful pattern as they were intricately woven into my being, as they were always meant to be.
I’ve walked down many roads in my life, some of which I would like to have forgotten, many being rich with history, characters, and curiosity. My most favorite roads to travel are those which are new, fresh packed with unexpected adventures, twists and turns, and people I never imagined meeting along the way.
As a child I walked the back roads of New England, paved in dirt, lined with stone walls and covered with canopies of bright green limbs. From there I found myself slowly meandering through the rooms of the Louvre and many other historic buildings packed with works of art and illuminated with creativity and pure genius. I’ve been humbled by the thick, rich pungent smells of a third world country as I stepped off a plane and into a place that I scarcely knew existed, having my eyes opened as to how the most of our world lives. There have been roads coated with richness, made to spoil me as I relaxed near the Equator, hardly wanting for anything.
If there is one person as my faithful companion down all the roads of my life, it is my mom. If she isn’t beside me walking 39 miles in two days through the streets of New York City, then she is with me in spirit, as I’ve spoken daily with her for almost all of my life. Her endless wealth of experiences ground me as I make my way creating my own. Her fearless way she faces life and all it offers up to her, defines who I strive to be when I’m in doubt of my own direction. Hers is the one voice I am able to hear above my own when I have gone askew and need a bit of redirection. She is the one who celebrates most when I come to that place in life where I can take a load off and just rest a while. I’m so thankful for my travel companion and love that I now have two.
When you come to that place in life where you’re not sure whether to turn left or right, move forward or back, simply do what you love. Filling the space of uncertainty around you with acts or words that represent what you love most has a way of taking the edge of uncertainty off. For me it used to be gardening, spending hours with my hands digging below the surface, turning the soil and feeling the warmth of the sun on my face. Now it is writing, when I am most uncertain about life, I write. Spend a little time doing what you love and watch what is able to grow from those moments.
Since Kyle and I began speaking about becoming a publishing house, helping other individuals self publish, two new opportunities have unveiled themselves and presented us an avenue to turn our words into reality. We’re traveling to western New Hampshire these weekend to lay the groundwork with our first partner, a major brainstorming session followed by developing a working outline and strategy for taking their idea and putting it into a book format, and online presence. It’s always seemed that the spoken word takes on a life of its own and the more that I walk towards it, the quicker it becomes a reality and begins building into something I had only once dreamed it could be.
Words carry intent, desire, motivation, possibility, and drive as they move forward and fill the space that exists between us. They have the ability to spark each other’s attention and create a cause to take action, we’ve witnessed their incredible power so many times throughout history. My favorite words of all time exist in the Emancipation Proclamation; my least favorite find themselves circling the space of those who intend to bring down not lift up. What words are you using, speaking, allowing to fill your space?
I love you that much
Two days spent on the couch beneath quilts and afghans, not wanting to move or eat left me feeling less than human. Finally falling to what has been swirling around me and others for the past month, it rendered me helpless as a mom and more so as a farmer. Kyle, Sophie, and Max disappeared while Anna and Libby attacked their Rainbow Looms quietly upstairs. I drifted in and out of sleep constantly aware of the dull throb in my forehead. I awoke to a banging of pots and clanging of pans. Idle chatter and instructions floated in from the kitchen as I tried to decipher what was happening. It was soon followed by the sweet smell of basil and pepper as it filled the living room. Kyle had Max look up a recipe for chicken soup on the Internet, the three shopped for the ingredients, and then prepared Chicken Noodle as beginners just starting out in the kitchen. My face smiled as I buried it under the blankets, I couldn’t have been this lucky to have found love where I least expected it, when I had least expected it. Kyle kissed me goodbye this morning and whispered in my ear, “I love you that much”.
photo by Anna Grace
Writing a book is like climbing a tree. When you first sit down to write, you climb quickly with endless energy. You swiftly reach up for each new branch and grab hold of each page, one after another, and before you know it you are sitting ten feet off the ground. Then you stand on the branch and look up to realize you have so much further to go before you are sitting at the top of the canopy, looking down on your incredible accomplishment. Your arms turn into jelly, your mind swooshes around like a bowl full of water, these are the hardest days to climb, to write. You begin to question your ability to reach the top of the canopy, the last page of your book, your mind has taken the reigns from your heart and you sit back down on that low branch and begin to contemplate why you began to climb in the first place.
“Stand Up! Reach for that next branch and keep climbing!” your heart screams from deep inside and you choose to listen. You choose to keep climbing, no matter how insurmountable it may seem from where you sit, you choose to climb higher instead of staying where you are, and you choose to finish the climb you started when you were younger, more energetic, naive, and full of it. Every story is written around a climb, most are messy, depressing, even tragic at times. Those climbs often make the best stories for others to read. Medillia’s Lament is my climb, continuing to work on a project in which I have no prior experience or knowledge with shear determination and will, hoping that in the end there is a reason for every season and this tree was always meant for me to climb.
Kyle and Ruby
It’s been a month since Ruby arrived at SeaStar Farm. She has secured her place in our family with each and every one of us, excluding Jack the cat. The kids take turns feeding her and taking her out during the day and Kyle and I grab lunch and night shifts. Funny how once an addition is made to a family, it’s hard to imagine life before they were there. We are suddenly emerged in keeping an around the clock count of when she last did her business, her feeding schedule, and the amount of fresh air she’s breathed.
The demands of a new puppy are far and wide but somehow after just one month of having her with us they are a welcomed part of our daily routine on the farm. She has enveloped us all in her heart and cemented herself in ours. So much so that when the Vet asked us to get a stool sample I readily obliged, pushing aside my gag reflex and inability to handle anything involving someone else’s blood, saliva, or excrement. I’ve always admired friends’ abilities to become involved in the medical field, my limits are tested with the simplest scrapes and abrasions. The day after I had dropped off Ruby’s sample to the Vet, Kyle sent me a text, could I please call him when I got the chance.
Somewhere in her short puppy life between the cattle farm where she was born and ours, she had contracted Hook Worm. My heart sank as Kyle relayed the Vet’s diagnosis. We had failed Ruby in her first few weeks with us, my ego took a strong kick to my gut and proudly announced we were horrible dog owners. I drove to the Vet to pick up the medicine for Ruby. Two doses given and she should be back to new. Kyle and I did the worst thing possible and went on the Internet for a visual. Once the hysteria had died down in my mind, I landed somewhere close to normal and realized that we were experiencing just another part of this magnificent thing called life. It was checking in with us, making sure we were on our game. Ruby will be fine.
Welcoming animals to SeaStar Farm enriches our lives in so many ways, it also opens our hearts to the possibility, no scratch that, assurance of pain and ultimately loss. We will outlive any animal that we bring to the farm in these early years, that is almost certain. At one time in my life I would have avoided the loss, not wanting to feel the pain grief brings at any cost. Now, living here with Kyle, experiencing all the animals with the kids and friends, I wouldn’t miss it for the world.
The moment a brilliant idea hatches in our mind, we begin to watch it grow into everything it could possibly be. It takes on a whole life of its own and before long it has become responsible for making every single one of our dreams come true. I think that is one of the biggest mistakes I made with my last business. As my idea took form, than began to root, it quickly materialized in the world beyond my mind. It sprouted new shoots and leaves as it received press, new orders, a bricks and mortar, a website, wholesale accounts, employees, loyal customers, brand identity, accolades, and requests for money from the community. The faster my idea grew into a business in the real world, the more demands my mind made on it of how it could fulfill so many of my personal dreams.
My bright, brilliant idea began to travel on roads I had not originally imagined when it was first born. Instead of a quick clear shot to the top, each new change or addition to its original form brought with it a dip, turn, or detour in its clear path to success and all that it had originally meant. As my bright idea grew, it traveled on an amazing journey, met incredible people, and realized forms that I could have never imagined in the beginning when it existed only in my mind. Ultimately, my bright idea burnt out and now exists only in numerous news clippings, rare sightings of some of its many products, and mostly in my heart. As I finished typing my thoughts for this post, I received a text from my daughter, Anna. Libby, my youngest and just so happens was the logo for my bright idea, had taken one of her own bright ideas and created her own Rainbow Loom pattern. My seven year old, apparently had decided to breath life into one of her own bright ideas this morning. Maybe our bright ideas have a path and goal of their very own, maybe one that we weren’t ever aware of or meant to know.
Libby’s bright idea
It’s a funny thing getting to know two goats; it’s even funnier watching a puppy acting as though she is the third. I brought Ruby out to the large pasture today as the girls played with Comet and Jingle and just watched. The two goats kept side by side as they munched on the rare exposed clumps of grass and occasionally looked up as Ruby encircled them, begging them to play with her. The girls from the far corner of the pasture would call Ruby’s name and she would be off, sprinting towards them. It was a sight to see both Comet and Jingle sprint after Ruby in turn.
Comet and Jingl
I grew up in the country, rural as it could be, but we didn’t have animals. It wasn’t until eighth grade until we were able to convince my dad to allow us to get a kitten. Sylvestor was all ego and often kept to himself, we had little interaction with him once he grew out of being a kitten. Now it’s hard for me to imagine us not having animals around. Our number is holding tight at four; two goats, a cat, and a puppy. There are grumblings every now and then about the possibility of getting sheep or additional goats but nothing concrete.
For now it’s always in the pasture with Ruby and the goats that I seem to be able to find my balance. The arctic temperatures of late have made it a challenge on some days, but the bright sun always seems to be able to draw at least two of us out each day. This afternoon scenes from Funny Farm played out in my mind as I watched Ruby lower her head and taunt the goats to respond. Her tail wagged excitedly back and forth as she was able to goad first one and then the other into her game of cat and mouse. Jingle and Comet seemed less than impressed but still more than willing to occasionally lift up their heads from munching and give a nod in Ruby’s direction. I listened to the girls playing off in the distance, Libby had a friend over, they pretended to be birds learning how to fly and were trying to leave the nest. I couldn’t help but smile, knowing that there days of make believe were most likely numbered. Almost in disbelief, I looked around at the farm and felt incredibly grateful that each of the five had landed here just in time to experience a little bit of their own funny farm.