In February we were given a rare treat: snow that lasted more than a day.[Read more…]
I think it was when we were walking the trail in the field, when I was in labor with Beatrice, and Jeremy and I had a brief conversation about gardens and planting and growth and fruit. Namely, about the timing of the harvest of some plants versus others.
Our garden last year had been brief and exciting. We plowed, we tilled, we planted, we watched eagerly. Then plants sprang up, the fruit grew, and the harvest was bountiful. All of this happened in the span of a handful of months.[Read more…]
Wilting spearmint, an almost-finished cup of coffee, a stray apple, and the two-year-old who’s after it. She’s already eaten an apple this morning, so I won’t let her eat another, yet. She’s contented herself, instead, with peeling off the stickers and placing them on herself.
For the last half-hour I have sat in the oversized easy chair and nursed the baby–the baby that now contorts himself every which way instead of lying contentedly against my chest. A friend said recently that nursing a baby boy is like trying to nurse an alligator. I wrangle him, and Elvie brings me apples until I tell her to stop. Then she brings me “abocados” instead.
I plant seeds in the garden, and then spend the next several days anxiously walking up and down the rows, looking for signs of life.
I am watching for seedlings, but I’m not watching for seedlings, because—as Tolkien observed through his created people, the Elves—the eyes of mankind is always “thinking of something else” , and that “they look at no thing for itself; that if they study it, it is to discover something else […] because it reminds them of some other clearer thing”*; because of the truth of Romans 1:20. I am wandering the garden path, and my mind wanders with it.
How do you like that word? It means “a confused jumble or medley of things”. Like the kids’ toy box, or maybe that casserole on Leftovers Night, or maybe a bit of an update made up of things that are too insignificant or underdeveloped to warrant their own posts.
We went for a walk yesterday through the orchard. It’s hard to call it that–it still looks like a motley collection of twigs stuck in the ground. It doesn’t quite have the feel of a real, mature, fruit-bearing orchard; though it will, of course, become that with care and time.
Words really do get stuck. There is something in the act of opening the computer and sitting down to write that makes them absolutely congeal in my brain. What was a coherent string of thoughts becomes a gelatinous mass of random one-line thoughts. What’s for dinner? We should take the library books back. My back hurts. What’s that noise? What will the weather be like tomorrow? I should message so-and-so back. Where’s Anselm? What was I wanting to write about again? What time is it?
It was raining outside that day, but it was warm. I was determined that we should take a walk that day, even in the rain. Rather, I thought we should take a walk because it was raining. Because we never take walks in the rain. Is it different in the rain? How different? What shall we see that we don’t see when it’s dry outdoors? You don’t know unless you begin, do you?
We took a walk in the rain precisely because we don’t usually. I am ever looking out for those things we don’t do that we perhaps should. It’s something of a hobby–perhaps more like an obsession. My avoidance of uncomfortable things is a never-ending mystery and I investigate it with the tenacity of any detective: Why am I avoiding this? What would happen if I didn’t? I wanted to walk outside in the rain because I never do it. I never do it because it’s uncomfortable. I know that those uncomfortable things usually yield the most surprising and satisfying results.
I think that’s also why I push through these stiffening, uncooperative thoughts, and try to put down here what words I can. There is something in the exercise alone that’s worth it. I always feel better for it.
Just as the weather began to turn warm, as the grass grew deep green in patches and flocks of robins began to visit the farm, we ventured out of the house for a good Explore.
It was Mama that needed it most. We moved last Spring, and the Summer and Autumn were lovely and full of the outdoors and the fresh air. And then Winter came, and it was too cold, and too wet, and then too cold and wet to go outside.
My life in Georgia was almost totally indoors. It’s just how things worked out. We wanted up here to be outside; this winter was frustrating. I don’t like cold. I should get over it.
But outside we went, today, for fresh air both literally and figuratively. We put on our boots and jackets and headed East.
It’s been over seven months since we moved up here to the place we affectionately refer to as Janderhil.I made that name up while scrambling letters of our surnames and looking up old place-naming prefixes and suffixes. I ended up with Jan, yahn, a variant of John, which is my dad’s name. Then der-hil, of the hill, a mash-up of sorts, because it sounds like “yonder hill”. And then I felt foolish about the name and how much I liked it, and I sat on it for a year before finally mentioning it to someone. Thankfully they liked it.
I gave a quick tour of the house back in May, and here is a small look into how it looks now.