Closing out the year 2021, I feel maybe more wide-eyed and open-hearted than ever in my life, which is wonderful. I also feel a bit weirded out by how quickly time has been passing. Lots of my friends feel this way, too, about the speeding clock, and theories abound about why this is happening. Whatever the reasons, our days and months seem to be gaining momentum. In the New Year, my remedy for this sensation will be to schedule in more free time, more protected white space for play and spontaneity, and more rest days that I can redeem however I need to at that time, trusting in my overall work product. Trusting that life can and should contain more wiggle room.
Looking back over the past twelve months, I am in awe of all the hard work and dazzled by all of the intense Love. I am deeply grateful for the relief sent our way, for the grace supplied to handle difficulties we have never handled before, and for the fresh inspiration. I feel a gorgeous weaving together of sincere effort and desire, and it is thrilling.
As last year began, we spent time with Handsome’s cousin, Shane, and his beautiful little family, while they were in Oklahoma to bury Shane’s dad, Wes. It was a profoundly sad time but a happy reunion too, and we were thankful everyone was healthy and safe enough to be together. During their stay, Oklahoma was blanketed by snow and the farm was without power for several days, so that was definitely a memory maker! We did our best to cling to New Year’s Eve traditions and have fun outdoors when possible, and we just covered each other in love.
During that visit, while cooking dinner for the group, I received a phone call from Jessica that changed everything. She and Alex had just decided to get married! The engagement was no surprise to us, but their timeline was: They set a date exactly two weeks from the date of that phone call, ha! So we were thrown immediately into some of the most joyful, also the most feverish, most love-drenched planning and farm beautification days ever. Jessica and Alex were the picture of young love and true, warm-hearted family love. They deserve the world. As I type this, these lovebirds are fast approaching their first anniversary!
Handsome and his team at the Public Utilities Division made history with their unrelenting work and fierce, talented attention during Oklahoma’s Polar Vortex and all of the precipitating (no pun intended) energy crises. It was a long, cold, challenging season for them, and I am so proud. He coined the saying, “We’ll keep them alive today so they can hate us tomorrow,” and my smart husband got to be on television press conferences with Oklahoma’s favorite ASL translator. Who remembers this guy?? He was amazing.
We celebrated Easter outdoors with our local family!! The tulips and daffodils were blooming, the sun emerged with extra early heat, and everyone brought their pups. I remember feeling hope for normalcy, something even bigger than the seasonal dose of excitement springtime delivers.
Eventually vaccines rolled out, and we were thankful to partake. Beyond thankful for our health and our family’s health, thankful for the preservation of life so far. We know intimately that not everyone has been so lucky.
Sometime during the warm months last year, I cannot remember exactly when, we finally met some longtime neighbors and struck up a new friendship. Rex and Cathy live down the road from us, and their German shepherd (Max) is a neighborhood celebrity. It was with the excuse that Max and Klaus become buddies that we started talking, and soon enough we all just clicked. It turns out that their (now grown) daughter grew up as best friends with the little girl who grew up here, in our house at the Lazy W (but long before it was the Lazy W, ha)! Rex and Cathy have quickly become two of our favorite people. A very happy development this year.
If I look back on the gardening year of 2021, I will remember mostly flowers. Lots of different lilies, hydrangeas, zinnias and marigolds of course, some sunflowers, shady beds full of soft impatiens, blooming sage, and even roses. Gosh so many roses! I will also remember the castor bean plants that my running friend Mike gifted us in the form of bizarre, prickly, sappy little seed pods. The plants are ultimately sky-scraping, elegant monsters. I will also remember the okra. Oh good grief, those plants produced three times per day all summer long! Okra and tomatoes were the bulk of our little farm’s food production this year. My focus was more on flowers, to make sure we had lots of bouquets for our vow renewal. It was a fun diversion, but I’ll get back to food in 2022.
2021 was the year that we almost lost Rick Astlee, the bully duck, thanks to an attack by Johnny Cash, the bully goose; but Rick convalesced in our bathtub for two weeks and survived to enjoy a happy summer with his guide duck, Mike Meyers Lemon. Klaus was enraptured, and we were relieved. It was also this year that our chickens enjoyed a free range experiment, which we will repeat after winter, once I have figured out how to protect my gardens better.
In spring, Lady Marigold celebrated her first year with us. She has grow daily into a bossy little hand-fed, spoiled rotten, circle-zooming miss fancy pants. We lubb her.
Our nieces and nephews insist on growing up. Chloe has her driver’s license? Connor is speaking Spanish??
Our own beautiful kids are healing and growing in their own ways, both with and without us, proving that we are only vessels or conduits for God’s Love, not the source. He is always the Source.
We learned so much about friendship and family and social evolution, about teamwork and thriving in harmony. Community has taken on new and deeper meaning, as I know many of you will agree.
We celebrated out twentieth wedding anniversary with an outdoor vow renewal, which was definitely postponed once and almost postponed twice, for monsoon-level rainstorms! We were surrounded by friends and family and could not have felt happier or more in love.
Not much travel this past year, despite having tried. Three good trips were all cancelled at the last minute due to covid outbreaks or upswings, but we barely pouted at all. It seems like life at home, on this farm, with each other, has become so nourishing and relaxing that we recharge just fine, right here. We did make one quick getaway to the Palo Duro Canyon area in the panhandle of Texas, which was absolutely enchanting. We enjoyed that quick visit so much, we intend to make a longer adventure of it soon. Rent a cabin, go for long hikes, pack our own groceries to cook, have some no-cell-service kind of romance. We love that it’s a Klaus-friendly trip.
All the hardscape improvements we made to the farm during the first year of pandemic have held up, and this year I think we mostly just added gravel. Lots and lots of gravel, ha! We also bought a zero-turn-radius riding lawn mower, which makes life so much easier. We also hosted the Master Gardeners for a second time at the end of summer, also nearly derailed by a freakish monsoon, but gosh that turned out to be a wonderful memory maker too.
The fifth annual Lazy W Talent Show was a huge success! We hosted it in October and called it “Fright Night,” and everyone brought the Halloween vibes! So much fun. That will go down in history for us.
Mom and Dad hosted Thanksgiving this year, and Gen was in town, wahoo! We were missing Jocelyn, Dante and Deaven, and Joe and Halee and their magical boys (stationed in Spain right now). But we ate their share of turkey and pecan pie and stayed fixed in gratitude for everything and everyone. I will remember Thanksgiving Week 2021 as one especially full of games and laughter, team efforts and shimmering affection for each other.
Christmas was overall the quietest holiday of the year, and honestly we needed it to be that way. It felt restful and intimate, and it gave us time to just soak up Jess and her beautiful little family, and we slept a lot that weekend. My heart has felt comforted and joyful, just as the carol offers.
I ran one speck less than 2,121 miles this year, which means absolutely nothing except that I stayed healthy and consistent, uninjured and very happy, and overall a bit stronger thanks to more regular gym days. I have actual running goals for 2022, wahoo!
Of course there have been heartaches, there always are, and there always will be. But I feel content. Well seasoned. I feel good despite the hard times, or maybe in part because of them. God has grown us so much this year.
Happy New Year, friends. I hope your pain is eased and your joy is rekindled. I hope your faith is stronger than ever. And I hope your dreams begin to come true right before your wide open eyes.
“Open yourself to every possibility,
for there is nothing your heart can imagine
that is not so.”
~This Tender Land,
William Kent Kreuger