I have been in one of those pleasant storms of coincidence lately, one of those brief and lovely seasons that feeds you layer upon layer of soul food, from a surprising variety of sources, at just the right moments. Books, interviews, conversations, and spiritual affirmations have been flooding me for several weeks, and I am so grateful. I’m trying my best to harness it all, to capture not just the words and themes but also the symphony of sources, because that has been much of the beauty. I feel humbled to receive encouragement from people I respect and love. I feel thrilled to discover actionable ideas from people who know more than me about things I care deeply about. And I feel hopeful that I am on the right path, maybe more than ever before. This all is a full spectrum pleasure, a refreshment and fortification which I have desperately needed.
In between it all, summer is in full swing in Oklahoma. Most days, the work at hand entails just keeping the farm alive and hydrated, animals safe in the extreme heat, gardens somewhat productive, beautiful enough to enjoy privately. We are very much at that point of the year when I find it hard to remember what a deep freeze feels like. The other day I dug around for something in a coat closet, moved a pair of winter boots, and laughed at how far away it seems that I was spending five minutes bundling up in layers just to go do one quick round of frigid feedings or habitat checks.
The book How to Do Nothing by Jenny O’Dell happened across my path right as I was losing my appetite for the trappings of social media. Not losing my appetite for connection, just the junk and noise of it all. You know. This book deserves a full review, which I will share soon. Then Red Dirt Kelly, my friend and a brilliant woman we feel lucky to know, invited me and two other women specifically to read a unique book by Ada Calhoun, Also a Poet. This book is bearing more heavily on me than I could have guessed it would, and I am very excited to soon meet my two new friends, hug Kelly, and discuss the first half next Saturday. Also a Poet is almost a biography within a biography, or a memoir within a biography, or something like that. Fascinating characters and clean, insightful prose. Mostly, it has fully rekindled my desire and calling to write.
Then I had a waking dream just as I was finishing up a round of antibiotics for (probably) salmonella poisoning. It had to do with book cover art, and my hands shook as I told my husband about it.
We had another brief health scare with Chanta. He is a sturdy but undeniably aging horse, and gosh we love him. Every year we love him more, and every year he seems to slow down a bit, which is to be expected. Maybe I need to get him to read Ageless Body, Timeless Mind by Deepak Chopra? Anyway, this threw me into more equine reading material, which actually calmed my heart so much. Our horses are doing great, all things considered. And we will give them the best possible days for as long as possible. This all led me to send a thank you to our friend Tracy who is always there to answer horse questions when we have them. Then I started reflecting on all the many questions I have been able to answer for gardening friends. Which led me to think again, and more gleefully, about how good the world is because so many people dive headlong in their passions. I want to be a lifelong learner of as many good topics and skills as possible.
Perhaps, like me, you are noticing more and more “prepper” advice in mainstream media. Lots of people are responding to rising food process and interrupted supply chains with foreboding advice about growing and preserving, hoarding, prepping, saving, you name it. IIt often feels unnecessarily panicky to me, but then I admit to having an allergy to fear mongering and anger generators. It seems like we have enough of those two types of energy to keep us alert, you know? Victory gardens, sure. Yes to growing a garden, no matter what your economic status, yes to learning a few new skills no matter what your upbringing. And actually I think this generation has many advantages over our great grandparents, who survived the Depression and World Wars. We have more general and specialized knowledge, we have a communal sense of urgency, and we have recent history to show us the dangers of soil depletion, chemicals, and monocropping, among other things. In order to harness the edge I believe we have, all we really need to do is slash distractions, go deeper instead of broader, and get to work. Be resourceful, creative, and diligent.
This is where How to Do Nothing was so useful to my thinking. That we can accept the invitation to live according to our natural design and just use technology as a tool, not let it rule over us. That we can reclaim long stretches of time, immediately, for our own private consumption, owing nothing to anyone, is just a luscious, greedy, deliriously happy idea to me. I love it. I am here for it, as the kids might still say.
Do the kids still say things? Or are they too sad, as a group?
Overnight, we lost Rick Astlee, the one eyed duck. We are heartbroken, as we always are to lose any farm-ily member. He was special. He survived ice storms and bathtubs residencies. He chose to live with the flock when given the opportunity to float on the pond. He survived that goose attack, of course, which is what left him one eyed and limited in navigation skills. He had a best friend named Mike Meyers Lemon, who must be even more sad than I am today. Handsome and I are thankful to have had that beautiful little boy for as long as we did, but we are definitely going to miss him. He is buried in the front field, in wildflowers alongside the meditation path.
In happier news, today the llamas enjoyed a long, drenching afternoon beneath the sprinkler. Romulus especially luxuriated in the water, and it made me happy to walk out and see him standing or lounging in the spray. All day he turned his body and let his woolly self get soaked. Little Lady Marigold seemed offended by the offer, honestly.
So much can change in such small windows of time. We are constantly on the knife edge of transformation, even if it often seems like change takes forever. Miracles happened constantly, sometimes overnight. One phone call, one bold decision, one enthusiastic mindset shift or eye to eye conversation can be what triggers a detour to a better storyline, and I love that. Keep chipping away at your biggest desires. Keep dreaming them and believing in them. Pray, too, as you work. Imagine them perfectly fulfilled.
In my garden, in my marriage, in our family, in our community… With hopes and dreams to be what we were designed to be, to live more fully and love more deeply, I want every drop of it.
More soon, friends. Thanks so much for dropping in.
If these words can do anything
if these songs can do anything
I say bless this house
Transfix us with love