Around the Farm:
The animals are enjoying our mild weather. The horses, llamas, and Little Lady Marigold, our timid and solitary sheep, are all snoozy and calm. They watch the skies change and graze to their hearts’ content. Our two geese still wander free, and I love this very much. They nest anywhere they want to and do little damage. Klaus has not murdered them, not even once. The chickens are rewarding us for the nice weather (as if we are responsible for it) with heavy, thick-yolked eggs, shells in every color from tan to heavy brown and a blue-mint green. Do you remember Zoom, our little quarantine hatchling? She has outgrown Zsa Zsa now, and clearly Zsa Zsa, a fancy Polish girl, was just her surrogate mother. Zoom is growing quickly into a picture perfect Auraucana. For our Pacino devotees, please rest assured that he is still wildly happy living outdoors in the South Coop. One red hen in particular keeps him company on a daily basis, and often six or seven other chickens join the fun inside his private quarters. It’s fine. It’s fine!
While plenty still remains and is thriving, I have been ripping out exhausted remnants of the summer gardens, making space for what comes next. Today the boys and I walked through Scissortail Park then did a little easy shopping around town, and I brought home a good amount of mums, pansies, ornamental cabbage, and a few other fun perennials. I did hold off on buying pumpkins until Jess and I can explore together.
We closed and covered the pool yesterday. September 19th is a respectable date for punctuating a long, happy swim season. We are okay with it. Do we love summertime so much and still crave a trip to a beach somewhere on the Gulf? Yes. Yes of course we do. But how wonderful that we enjoyed the pool and deck for so many happy months of this very weird year. And since the end of melty heat and intoxicating coconut oil and chlorine also means the beginning of cool, crisp walks outside and longer bonfires, then the task at hand is to count our blessings and pleasures. This is almost always the task at hand.
The yurt is fully built now and about ready for a floor inside. We are leaning toward mulch, to amplify the cedar-steam experience. Lots of friends and family have already visited to do a little socially distant painting on the exterior covering, and we are in love with it all. Just look at this cute brother-sister duo!! The Whitley crew added lots of color and love to this project, for which we are so thankful. They are all very special to us.
Our temperatures and humidity have dropped, and the leaves are changing just so delicately, so gently. We have opened the house windows several times and are planning a few repairs and beautification projects around the house to caplitalize on the comfortable afternoons. Personally, although I did bake pumpkin bread once, I resist diving straight into cold weather anything, because I know that soon enough it will be plenty cold for longer than we like. I have my feet planted pretty firmly in this transition season, determined to enjoy all the in-between beauty that comes with it. Lots of ease, lot of fresh air, in every sense of the expression. A long, fruitful pause between extremes.
Read, Watch, Listen:
There is a lot to be said for good communication, for granular expression, as Bree Brown says. I listened to her podcast episode on emotional literacy and ended it feeling challenged to sit more comfortably with my feelings and then to express them more clearly, more effectively. I ended it deciding to answer my husband better when he asks are you ok. I also decided to start finding more specific ways to discover how my people are doing.
Brad and Steve honestly have the best material. I cannot get enough. Their podcast episode on burnout and the pandemic was so helpful. Give it a listen. I have a whole post in draft, outlining how it impacted me. How are you doing, on the burnout barometer?
I am almost done reading To Shake the Sleeping Self. It is the memoir of a young man who, together with an acquaintance from work, took a nearly spontaneous bicycling trip from Seattle all the way down to the tip of Patagonia. It has inspired me, certainly, for both physical endurance challenges and for deeper self exploration, but also to travel more and to travel better. Going off beaten paths, meeting more people, seeing unseen places and rediscovering new beauty. I just finished a chapter where they stopped in Moerlia, Mexico. This is a town in the mountains with which Jessica’s boyfriend Alex is intimately familiar. I love hearing him describe the culture there. It’s nothing like the tropical, touristy slice of Mexico we experienced on our honeymoon (though wow that is beautiful too).
Have you considered the Netflix series called Ratched? We are big fans of American Horror Story, and this is a similar viewing experience. We binged it this past week, and I think it made Saturday night popcorn taste even better than usual. Dark! Dark and adult. Not for kids, in case you were wondering.
Are you following Morgan Harper Nichols yet? Because if you are a living, breathing, feeling, evolving, hurting, or otherwise hungry human being, then you sould. She is easily found and propogated on Instagram, but she has a strong presence pretty much everywhere I look. Bob Goff even interviewed her recently! Gorgeous. Noursishing. Makes me cry and makes my mouth water all the time.
And then this short essay on a beautiful, anxiously aging woman, I ran across it on Facebook:
How many years of beauty do I have left?” she asks me.
How many more do you want? Here. Here is 34. Here is 50.
When you are 80 years old and your beauty rises
in ways your cells cannot even imagine now
and your wild bones grow luminous and ripe
having carried the weight of a passionate life.
When your hair is aflame with winter
and you have decades of learning and leaving and loving
sewn into the corners of your eyes
and your children come home to find their own history in your face.
When you know what it feels like to fail ferociously
and have gained the capacity to rise and rise and rise again.
When you can make your tea
on a quiet and ridiculously lonely afternoon
and still have a song in your heart.
Queen owl wings beating beneath the cotton of your sweater.
Because your beauty began there
beneath the sweater and the skin, remember?
This is when I will take you into my arms and coo
YOU BRAVE AND GLORIOUS THING
you’ve come so far.
I see you.
Your beauty is breathtaking.
Find more poetry by Jeanette Encinias here.
Jess and Alex invited us to their house for dinner Friday night. Jess set the table beautifully and spent several hours preparing us a gorgeous, delicious meal. It was part belated birthday fun for Handsome, part just touching base with each other. We took Klaus along, and he and Bean partied hard while the rest of us did not cheat at cards whatsoever, despite the rumors.
During our cards game, Alex got a phone notification about the passing of Justice Ginsburg. It is just so sad, and her life was so truly humbling and inspiring. We had one more good conversation about this with the kids, in a long line of good conversations. They are two of the smartest, most thoughtful people I know. We are so happy to spend time with them, watching them sort out their beautiful lives and express themselves. I think that I will always remember sharing that moment in history with them, at their dining room table.
This collection of short tributes to Ruth Bader Ginsburg is worth reading. What a legacy. We will all be watching our collective love for her grow over time.
Final Thoughts for the New Week:
The world is changing, we are all feeling it. But the world is as beautiful and magical as it is broken. We are every bit surrounded by miracles ready to happen and dazzling grace as we are burdened by tragedy, difficulty, and grief. We are not robots. We get to creatively choose how we respond to every single detail, even the curveballs. Especially the curveballs! We get to take hold of our own energy and make something breathtaking with the gifts we are given, which are numerous.
Hang in there. Write some Senses Inventories this week. Reach out to your people. Drink more water. Exercise in a new way. Take it all in. Count your blessings and register your pleasures, and if you’re in a dark place, know that things always turn around.
“Fight for the things that you care about,
but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”
~Ruth Bader Ginsburg