Friday, July 3, 2020. Quarantine Day #111.
State offices are closed today, but our bodies don’t know that, so we woke naturally up at 5:13 a.m. Handsome, Shepp, and I spent the next two hours taking in the day slowly. We drank our coffee, watched cartoons, explored the gardens, and watered and fed the animals. Little Lady Marigold, our new sheep, made another good attempt to meet me at her breakfast bowl. She always backs off at the last second, but every day the distance shrinks. I love her slotted pupils, stick-straight legs, and puffy, matted fleece.
Temperatures were still mild in the early hours, mid seventies, and the skies were painterly blue and white. Our first harvest of the day was five eggs, 2 bright yellow squash, seven heavy tomatoes, and a few cups of ripe blackberries. There is always a second harvest in the afternoon.
Mid-morning I grabbed a 5 mile progression run on the treadmill (felt great, zero pain!) and half an hour in the gym. Meanwhile Handsome played around with the art of motorcycle maintenance. I cannot vouch for his Zen, though, because apparently my little green Honda had been sitting too long and now has a fuel line gummed up. Did I ever tell you that I got my motorcycle license? It is one of the biggest shocks of life, truly. Sometimes when I think about it I start sweating and trembling spontaneously.
We decided to break some monotony and take a short drive to Wellston, Oklahoma, just under an hour away. There is a locally famous barbecue stand there, an outdoor restaurant, really, that serves food from an old school bus.
We enjoyed the steamy drive in a topless car but declined to stop and eat because the parking lot was at capacity, swarming with people. We are distancing pretty strictly still, so that was a hard pass. Instead, we drove and drove, loving the sunshine and the undulating country roads flanked by corn fields, hay meadows neatly adorned with giant round bales, and tiny, almost delicate cemeteries. We accidentally joined up with Memorial road where it suddenly becomes heavy gravel, so we slowed way down. The careful pace allowed me to see the roadside meadows better: Vitex and Indian tobacco growing wild. Pecan and Red Bud saplings wilting in the heat. Thick ornamental grasses, tickseed, and Virginia Creeper, all tangled up and blissfully unaware of pandemic. I soaked up the rural house gardens when they appeared. Mostly orange day lilies and pink crepe myrtle bushes. I imagine they are generational perennials.
Back home again, we ate regular food from our well stocked kitchen and were perfectly happy, ha! The heat and humidity returned and our work was caught up, so we spent part of our afternoon in the pool and on the deck.
I finished reading Cold Mountain, the Civil War novel that many people remember as the movie with Nicole Kidman and Jude Law. The book is beautifully written, a weirdly motivating read if you like manual labor and general human suffering, or the perseverance through suffering. And it is so humbling. The circumstances people can survive, it just amazes and inspires me.
“That’s just pain, she said. It goes eventually. And when it’s gone, there’s no lasting memory. Not the worst of it, anyway. It fades. Our minds aren’t made to hold on to the particulars of pain the way we do bliss. It’s a gift God gives us, a sign of His care for us.” ~Charles Frazier, Cold Mountain
“Waste not thy liberty.” One of my all time favorite, short and sweet mantras. Tomorrow is Independence Day. I have been thinking a lot about freedom lately, about being free, about being set free from all kinds of earthly bondage.
As a thought experiment lately, every time I catch myself saying or thinking that I have to do something, my goal is to replace it with I get to do something. It’s a small but powerful word swap. I have been liberated and set free from so many things, so many hardships and limitations, so much silencing, so many real fears. Not only am I free in the political or social sense; but more importantly I am free spiritually, psychologically, and emotionally, so long as I continue to choose that state of living. My thoughts and habits can either cultivate or surrender this gift every day.
Liberty is not the wild absence of discipline; in fact being free invites a more authentic version of self rule. Being free from outside controls requires and encourages us to set our own controls, some that make sense and are harmonious with our values and circumstances. At least that’s how I see it.
Okay I hope you are well, thank you for reading! I also hope we have popcorn for dinner soon and watch a movie.
One more thing, what do you think would happen to a person’s body if she were to only eat watermelon and cashews? I mean, mostly those two things?
“I am full of freedom.”
(I owe you this story soon, friends!)