Fear and Love – Medillia’s Lament

“He was a strong man, he’d worked with his hands for all of his life, lifted boilers and air conditioning units as a matter of fact and never knew what it meant to ask for help. It had never been there to ask for when he was growing up.  Rage was his middle name, a part he played well and knew inside and out.”   Medillia’s Lament, The Novel

fear and loveSomewhere in my twenties I came upon this idea that there are only two motivating forces in existence for each of us.  The notion explained that every force you could name could be generalized as either having its roots firmly planted in fear or in love.  Medillia’s Lament is filled with characters who draw from both ends of the spectrum and it has been challenging, yet rewarding writing for each.   Creating characters both physically and emotionally loosely based on people I know has become a Godsend in keeping the thousands of details in line and consistent throughout the chapters as I move forward in converting Jody’s script into a novel.  Even when I recently came to the dark side of the screenplay. Although I knew instantly who I would use for my model, my mind and heart hesitated at the journey I would once again take getting reacquainted with my past, my childhood.

Just days ago, I spoke to an audience about my first book written and published. I shared it’s journey and how it brought to where I am today, collaborating with Jody.  Fear began creeping under my front door days before I was supposed to speak and as I allowed it to grab hold, slowly at first, doubt soon followed in and fanned the flames of fear already present.  Ironically it was my eleven year old daughter who squashed its fire and in matter of fact manner read me the riot act.  As I stood at the podium, scanning the faces in the crowd, connecting with individuals and the group as a whole, I realized that fear seams to to always be most present when we are pursuing something that we truly love and desire in life.  I listened to my voice, and watched for reactions from those in front of me, as I did what I had done hundreds of times before.  I was where I was supposed to be, sharing what I had once written years ago, connecting with strangers wanting to know that they are not alone in their journey.

As I continue to write about rage and what it looks like on paper, I am reminded that everything I’ve experienced in life has happened for a reason.  And now that I am in a place to share certain experiences and stories with others, fearful days are recalled in such loving ways of forgiveness and acceptance.



  • Time apart – A New Family

    Kyle and I sent texts to one another from bed this morning, his came from Lancaster and mine from our farm.  The girls and I have stayed back to take care of the animals and have a staycation from work and school.  He took Max and Sophie to visit their cousins and sight see.  At first it seemed the logical answer, the baby goats needing to be bottle fed three times a day, and so much I wanted to accomplish this Spring around the farm outside.  But as the day grew closer and they began to pack and get ready for their trip, my heart began to sink a bit.  When we had decided to blend our two families we imagined what it would look like, excitedly day dreamed about adventures we would take and supposed that we would encounter struggles and challenges along the way, we were ready for both.  We quickly discovered after moving in together that blending our two families was to be a long process just like anything else in life, there were going to be highs and lows.

    Amazingly through it all, the one thing that has remained constant has been the overwhelming love Kyle and I feel for each other.  There is no doubt or uncertainty that we belong with one another and each week as we catch up on Sunday, just the two of us, the closeness between us only seems to grow.

    I tossed and turned  last night, wondered how he was doing, and wanted to reach out to him to see if he was awake.  He had driven eight hours earlier in the day and I knew he would be exhausted, so I resisted the urge.  Ruby climbed up into Kyle’s spot as I said good night to the girls and my nephew, almost knowing that Kyle was hundreds of miles away and wouldn’t be coming home.  I wrapped my arm around her soft, thick body and said a silent prayer of gratitude.  A quiet blanket of peace had landed over us and as we laid there together while the rest of the house slept. As I laid in the dark asking for sleep to take me, I watched the movie of how Kyle and I met and got to know one another inside my mind, not leaving out any detail.  I was reminded of being a single mom, alone at night but comforted by knowing I had chosen to get to a better place in life and hoping that one day everything would prove to have fallen into place.

    alittlelove

    I was surprised yesterday when Abby called and said she had a delivery for me.  I smiled and giggled.  I love flowers of any kind.  She mentioned that they were a loose bouquet, Kyle knew I enjoyed arranging and had wanted to let me know he was going to miss me.  Libby and I jumped into the wagon and drove downtown to pick them up.  Abby beamed as she came out into the shop.  Her eyes twinkled and her smile widened as she handed me the huge bouquet. They were beautiful, tulips of every type and color with beautiful forsythia branches and greenery. Abby handed them to me and said, “enough for more than one room in your home.”  That made me feel incredibly loved.

    I awoke this morning as my phone vibrated on my nightstand.  I knew it was Kyle.  He hadn’t slept either and was wondering what we were all up to.  I shared the cousins’ escapades from the day before and how  the girls were enjoying their time off at home. There was a lot more I wanted to accomplish before going back to work but it didn’t seem like it was going to happen. He said not to worry about it.  I could imagine him laying in bed, holding his phone as he sent texts one after another to me.  Being apart has made me want to be next to him even more, determined to weather any storms we may encounter along the way as we continue to blend our two families.

     

     



  • So I may have exaggerated a little – A New Family

    One of my favorite winter memories is coming in from skiing or shoeing in the back woods and lighting the kitchen stove, leaving the heavy cast iron doors opened as we placed the protective screen to cover the opening as the fire burned bright.  When we purchased the farm last Summer there was about a quarter of a cord of wood neatly stacked in the garage.  We hadn’t intended using the kitchen stove to heat the house and didn’t order any wood for the Winter.  After about the millionth Nor’Easter, I bundled up and made my way out to the garage.  The house was costing a fortune to heat and we had kept the thermostat at a minimum to keep the oil and electric heat bills down.  By the time Kyle arrived home from work, the stove had been burning for a couple of hours and the downstairs and hallway on the second floor was toasty warm and cozy.  Just as we learned to manage the stove, the wood pile dwindled in the garage and we were left with only warm memories of being all a glow.

    Kylewood1 and I agreed to order a couple cords of wood as soon as all the snow melted.  I  told him I would gladly stack the wood and looked forward to it.  He called me crazy and said of course.  True to my word I called Scott down the road in mid March and reserved two cords to be delivered as soon as his truck wouldn’t sink into the mud pit we once knew as our yard.  Last night my phone rang in the kitchen, I was surprised to see it was Scott.  He asked if it was okay to deliver the wood.  I asked when.  He replied, “in five minutes.”  Kyle’s face seemed overwhelmed as I excitedly remembered being in the kitchen during the long winter storms feeling warm and content to sit and stay awhile.  I jumped up and down and threw my arms around Kyle. He squeezed me tight and whispered in my ear, “you’re crazy!”

    The timing couldn’t have been more perfect!  Just two days into Spring vacation I was able to devote the entire day to getting the pile stacked.  I poured over Youtube watching videos of every day folk offering their stacking expertise and advise.  Kyle watched over my shoulder and simply smiled.  I learned a lot.  A cord should be stacked in a 4 X 4 X 8 pile, the towers anchored the pile, and if you layered your piles two or more deep it was important to leave space between the stacks so the wood could season itself.  I watched an older gentleman with a long white beard share that it would take five hours per cord to stack it.  I felt determined to get it done the next day, so I asked Kyle to help me map out where we should put it and if he wanted it to look a certain way.

    wood2Libby and I quickly discovered that the logs that were cut into halves were the best “tower pieces” and that everything else filled in between them.  We had dragged over our deep mud planks to serve as foundations for the piles.  Excitement abound, we made quick work of the first layer aware that rain had been forecasted for later in the day.  Anna came out and asked us if we had let the baby goats out.  Libby and I looked up and saw that they were playing behind us in the tree face garden.  The little stinkers had escaped again. As the sun rose above our heads and kept the sky clear we grew hot and tired.  We unzipped our sweatshirts and took a water break.  Anna went in to do the dishes and change over the laundry.  Libby came back with two plastic cups filled with ice water and began playing with the goats.  I surveyed the pile of wood, it seemed to be a third of the way down.  My mind calculated what was left and I begin thinking that I would be able to finish stacking before Kyle came home from work.  I wanted to surprise him and have it finished.

    wood3Aaron pulled up to the house.  He was surprised at how much I had finished.  He was getting ready for his new job and brought out some lunch that he had heated from left overs and offered me some.  Libby disappeared inside as Aaron and talked about whether or not I should continue around the fence or stack the wood two piles deep.  Tower pieces were thinning out in the pile and as all the kids made their way outside, I had instructed them to look through the pile for me and toss them aside so they would be ready when we needed them.  My body began to ache but I was more than half way through the pile and even more determined to finish the job in one day.  I envisioned taking the girls and their cousin downtown Portsmouth for a fro yo or ice cream from Annabelles.  The goats had made the wood pile their new play land and watching them have so much fun passed the time away quickly.  Soon enough, I was left alone with the animals to stack wood as the kids complained of the heat and being hungry.  The bigs were instructed that they were in charge of making lunch.

    wood4What seemed like hours later, Libby came out to check my progress and squealed as she found me placing the last of the pile between the towers.  She ran in to tell Anna, who questioned why I had more than six pieces left.  Libby raised her hands to the sky and explained, “so I may have exaggerated a little.”  The girls helped me place the twenty or so remaining logs and gather the kindling for the large rubber maid bucket.  They both said how proud they were of me, and I was feeling kind of accomplished.  It reminded me that everything in life is a process with its own unique stages, challenges, struggles, and rewards.  I have grown to love this farm of ours and everything it brings each day to enrich our lives and grow our spirits.



  • Eggactly! – A New Family

    eastereggAfter an incredible day spent with my childhood friend at our farm, my sister and her family arrived for the holiday weekend.  We introduced them to the new animals and somehow in the middle of the pasture decided that we should officially open up the season with a trip to Barnacle Billy’s in Ogunquit.  Two rum punches, steamers, dinner, and a table full of desserts we headed home through the back woods to fill and scatter eggs across the farm.

    We waited for Erin and then five adults headed out into the darkness armed with hundreds of eggs, two head lamps, and one flashlight on its way out.  What seemed like strategic hiding places last night, offer up a bright bevy of color being unleashed and easily spotted from each and every window of our home.  Libby has already counted sixteen and the house is still waking up.  Easter weekend has brought so many gifts to our lives this weekend.  We are thankful for each and every one.

     



  • I’ll have another – Medillia’s Lament

    DIY-hanging-wine-glass-rack“Julie watched as Kevin came out of the bathroom and waited on customers like nothing had happened. She tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear and picked up a glass from the clean tray.  She stuffed the white kitchen rag into the glass and swirled it around making sure every drop was collected and the glass was bone dry.  She tried making sense of it all. She wanted to jump over the bar, grab Kevin’s hand and lead him back into the bathroom to John and fix it once and for all.  Instead all she could do was to stand in silence and watch from behind the bar as she wiped down the glasses and slid them overhead into their places, waiting for another drink to be served.”  Medillia’s Lament, The Novel

    Perspective is a crazy thing. As individuals, we only have one viewing point. It’s what we see, hear, feel, and experience as we go through life as our own main character in the story of our self.  Yet for each moment we experience, there could be hundreds of points of views looking in from the outside at us with a clear vision of the obvious, something we just can’t seem to see now matter how hard we try.  Julie has a front row seat to watch John’s downward spiral and her perspective being incredibly naive and sweet sees nothing other than a quick fix.   She wants to be able to take John by the shoulders and shake him, somehow reminding him of everything that is waiting for him to wake up from his deep, dark depression, but she can’t.  Sometimes life just has to play itself out.



  • Warm Nights – A New Family

    goatmoonOur first Spring has arrived at the farm, we are experiencing all of its amenities with gratitude and a kid like state of fascination.  Kyle and I walked out together last night in the warm, balmy air to the barn bottles in hand.  The air was moving and felt warm against our cheeks and bare arms.  The goats were still outside even though it was pitch black.  Libby slammed the door behind her as she ran out to catch up with us.  Kyle stood by the fence and asked us both to stop and listen.  In the woods behind the barn and two pastures there was a strange noise rising up above the symphony of peepers.  “It’s turkeys, listen.”  Kyle stood still as he looked towards the direction of the loud screeching.

    “Kyle, the guy at Great Works said it’s mating season for the turkeys.” I smiled not believing the words had come out of my mouth in everyday conversation.  My life has become something from a novel I once read in school.  The rabbits were active in the barn, they devoured their new, fresh hay and the goats followed us in for the nightly ration of grain.  Rudolph quickly drank down his ration of formula and goat’s milk as Dasher seemed to be okay with the hay that Libby had dropped down from the second floor.  We changed their water and walked outside in the warm, night air. The kids kicked up their hooves in Spring revelry and danced around us as we moved deeper into the center of the small pasture.  Ruby squeezed in through the two metal gates intended to keep her in the big pasture and at once began herding the goats back into the stall.  We called it a night and put the goats to bed.

    jenandgoats

    I walked Anna out to the bus this morning, just as far as the cars in our driveway could conceal the fact I was in my pajamas.  There were twenty large turkeys walking up it towards the road.  They caught me off guard and as Anna told me she didn’t need me to walk any further I asked her about the turkeys worried the pack might make her nervous.  She turned her head back towards me and said, “I do it all the time, as soon as I start walking towards them they fly off.”  And so they did, the turkeys took flight and landed in the trees that line the stonewall at the edge of our property.



  • An old rib bone – A New Family

    fairy houseThey gathered sticks, stones, moss, and even an old rib bone from God knows what animal that had been aging out in the Pasture.  Anna built the frame from  cedar shakes found in the barn and adorned the house with twigs and bark mulch that had been taken over by some sort of fungi.  I helped her thatch the roof with straw and hay borrowed from the goats.  She set her house upon a flat piece of driftwood she had scavenged two years ago on the beach at Drake’s Island.  Libby gathered materials to build the house on demand as Anna promised she could decorate the inside and add furniture.  We had stopped at Wentworth Gardens on Saturday, looking for adventure on a bright Spring morning, and the girls came upon fairy house furniture.  They both looked up at me and pleaded with their eyes, it seemed magical and even came with a vial of green sparkly fairy dust.

    My mind ran through the files of items they had to have over the years that ended up just being fodder for a landfill.  “You guys don’t even have a fairy house. I’ll tell you what, if you work together today and build one than I’m pretty sure we can come back and get some of these beautiful pieces. Who knows maybe even the Easter Bunny will bring you some.”  I wasn’t sure if they were going to run with the idea or not but the minute we got home they went straight to work gathering, sorting, building, and creating.  Gram stopped by and showed Anna how to scribe the Cedar planks so that they could easily be broken in two on a straight edge.  The weather was incredible and as I watched them busily take care of business, I felt incredible gratitude for the farm and the life it is bringing us.

    Sophie came home with Kyle and Max and immediately began helping Libby create furniture for the house.  The animals were outside in the pastures basking in the warm, golden, light.  Even the bunnies seemed to have Spring fever as we moved the cage out of the barn, keeping it half in the shade if they got too hot.  Anna proclaimed she was done on the structure and the girls needed to clean up from making their decorations.  Libby and Anna were going to be picked up in less than an hour, I never wanted them to be able to stay more than I did in that moment.  Anna wrapped her arms around my waist as we let the little goats free in front of the barn to play and told me it was the first time she could remember not being ready to go to her Dad’s house.  I squeezed her tight and kissed the top of her head.  I wanted so very much keep her and Libby each and every day but somehow knew that everything in life happens for a reason.  I gave her another tight squeeze and said, “You’ll be back on Monday!”



  • Bits and pieces – Medillia’s Lament

    Idris-Ginger-Beer-Bottle-Logo“He balanced the bottle on the sink and slowly turned on the faucet.  He watched as the water poured out and swirled around the porcelain, finally finding its way down the drain.  He cupped his hands together and vigorously splashed water onto his face. John looked up into the mirror and hardly recognized his own reflection. He closed his eyes and lowered his head back down to the sink.” – Medillia’s Lament, The Novel

    I’ve spent the morning rewriting scenes in Chicago, leaving one of my favorite islands in Maine to rework and add in scenes to the earlier chapters in the novel.  Jody’s notes highlighted in yellow, scream for my attention yet as I read through the pages in their entirety I find loose strings that I want to tie up, phrasing and wording needing to be rearranged and exchanged to make the story flow in a way that it deserves.  It’s raining and gray at our farm in Maine as I continue to work on converting Jody’s screenplay into a novel, the perfect day to curl up on the coach with the quilt Aunt Pat gave us for our wedding.  My laptop keeps it anchored on my legs as Ruby lays next to me, snoring in her sleep.

    It’s hard to imagine this project being finished and behind me, it’s become a part of my down time, moments stolen and used to escape to a fictitious town in Maine where legends become reality and hope sprouts seeds that take root  for those lucky enough to find themselves there.  Now the novel exists in a safety box of sorts where only Jody and I have the key, deciding what bits and pieces to share with those who have liked its page on facebook.  It feels like that moment you land in when reading a favorite book.  That feeling of never wanting the book you are reading to end because it is so good, but knowing the quicker you devour it’s remaining pages the sooner it will be over for good.

     



  • Hit the Ground Running – A New Family

    herbsThis past weekend Kyle wanted to make a Home Depot run.  He had finished the SeaStar Farm sign and needed special wood screws to hang it.   The air was cool as the sun shone down on us brightly. We meandered our way through the towering shelves overstocked with every home builder’s fancy.  We were tired and hardly motivated to do anything other than just be next to one another.  What should have been a quick ten minutes in and out turned into a forty minute exploration.

    Outside were rolling carts of hearty spring vegetable plants and herbs on sale.  Our plans for creating an oversize vegetable garden were well underway and the bright green shoots and seedlings teased us with their promise of sun and harvest.  Strawberries, peppers, dill, rosemary, Thai basil, sage, and parsley took over our cart.  We stopped and asked the clerk if we needed to bring in the packs at night and he replied, “do you really want to know?”  The mad hatter had just appeared at the party so we played along and asked, “shouldn’t we want to know?”  Kyle smiled at me and squeezed my hand.  The plants were left out on the rolling carts in the exposed air and would be until they were purchased. Feeling somewhat confident with the information we had been given, we decided to go for it and pushed our plants and wood screws up to the outdoor cashier.

    Days later they seem to be alive and kicking and ready to hit the ground running.  We have a patio garden where we can plant the herbs and will wait for the rototiller to carve out the vegetable area down below.   We’re still a couple months away from planting season but all this sun has filled up our cups with hope and a renewed sense of energy.



  • At the heart of things – A New Family

    mossheartOur focus at the farm has shifted to Spring clean up.  The snow has melted and the grounds have been uncovered, revealing a wet, soggy, muddy mess.  As the days grow longer and brighter we have been pulled outside.  The kids flock to the large pasture to play in the spring fed mud pit, the big boys out front to throw a baseball around, and Kyle and I to the garden beds and walkways to remove fall debris and winter limbs that have broken free.

    I found this mossy heart before we had even officially moved into the farm last Summer.  Searching through images this morning I remembered the feeling it had conjured as I had brought my rake up to it and stopped when I came upon it.  I believe that even with life and all it struggles great and small, that it will let you know you are where you are supposed to be.  Kyle and I spent the entire weekend raking, pulling, dragging, and carrying yard debris to our giant bonfire pile.  Little by little our backyard and its gardens are taking shape and getting to the place that we will be able to start planting new and rearranging ones that are already here.

    We’ve planned to put in a huge vegetable garden, our tenants came over for an impromptu meeting and we’ve decided that it will be 20 x 40 feet.  We sketched out the list of vegetables and fruits it will contain and discussed briefly how we will fence it in.  My body aches as I sit here and type this morning, my muscles strained from work it hasn’t seen in years. The dull throbbing is happy for me, it’s a gentle reminder of all the experiences still left in store.