while it lasts

IMGP1509So. I can’t help but notice that the weeks are just flying by. Do you feel that way, too? Flying so fast I can hardly keep up and am simultaneously left with the feeling that I’m just not getting enough done each day. I am guilty of feeling guilty when my “productivity” falters. And the days have been remarkably gray. A grayness that kind of wraps me up and keeps me feeling subdued. The air temperatures that have come along with the grayness are somewhat cool for early June. (I hope this odd coolness keeps the lettuce from bolting before our weekend market…) And there has been good rain. Ahhhh, rain. Thank heavens for that because we were getting a little dry around these parts. So in addition to the rain, and lack of sunshine, and cooler temperatures, a sickness has been lurking about in my household. Mostly, it seems like just a cold but our littlest had a relapse into not feeling well, and with that came a pretty high fever and an episode of puking on the kitchen floor this morning. (I was thankful for ceramic tile.) She has had a couple of days of not doing much more than laying on the couch, and I can’t seem to focus on anything else other than her well-being. So I sit with her and stroke her hair. Or take her temperature from time to time. Or get her a drink. Whatever she needs. However, I will admit to indulging myself in some knitting while I sit on the couch with my girl’s sweaty brow on my lap. 

The sun will be blazing again very soon. Summer will be upon us. The tempo of the days will surely pick up again. And Olivia will, with all hopefulness, be back to her chipper little self in no time.  So, while it lasts, I’m going to stay put here at the house where my energy is most needed. I will let the gray day swallow me. I will let the time go by, like a little bird freed from the clutches of the cat. I will let the weeds grow in the garden one more day… it will be ok.IMGP1325

coming around

IMG_5726 IMG_5721 IMG_5706 IMG_5711 IMG_5717 IMG_5724IMG_5727Our year got started off with a bang, ringing in the New Year with special friends, including my dear fellow farmwives. Lovely, lovely day surrounded by folks I hold dear to my heart. and then…

…Then the reverberation of that bang: the whole family down with the flu. All five of us at once. During that really cold Polar Vortex event. I’ll just say that maintaining the fires during that time took some deep down effort. Thank heavens we had a mountain of firewood stacked right against the house for easy access. And thank heavens everyone’s appetites were down then, so the need to prepare meals was abated at least. And thank heavens once more that Eric, in preparation for the cold weather, had the livestock set up in an extra large paddock with plenty of hay and access to a flowing water source. Whew.

Then triple bang: following a bleary restless night at the beginning of our family’s “down” time, I had to go and spill a cup of tea on our computer. Oops. Turns out to be one of the most expensive cups of tea I’ve ever not enjoyed.

So there’s a quick run-down of my absence in this space over the past few weeks. I’ve missed being here. Sometimes these things just can’t be helped. The good news, though, is that we’re coming around. We’re now working with a loaner computer until our new one arrives. We’re back on our feet following our sickness despite the nagging hacking coughs that fill our days. Our energy levels are returning, just like the ever-increasing amount of sunshine, a little bit more each day.

While I’m probably not going to chalk up these past few weeks as a highlight for the year, they serve their purpose just the same. At one point, I realized that my entire family, all laid out in various horizontal positions, was occupying a mere 25 square feet (roughly). We were all laying this way and that, overlapping and leaning on each other. Helping each other with presence. We certainly were not lonely in our sickness, and for that I am grateful.

inventory

ice1At the beginning of each yoga class I lead, we stand still for a few minutes, drop our attention inward, and just take a little inventory, from head to toe, inside and out.  What’s going on?  There’s no need to label it “good” or “bad” or get into thoughts about how or why certain feelings are there.  We just take note of where and what sensations are present, and move on.

After an hour or so of regular breath and movement, as we lay down and relax our bodies, minds, and emotions, we do the same thing again.  This time, there’s an added component of noticing what has changed since we took note at the beginning of class.  After we take the second inventory, we trust ourselves to the floor, to relaxation, and let it go again.

It’s a pretty good thing to do, this inventory.  I’m not one to think in economic simile, but it doesn’t take much thinking to understand that we are in a state of constant exchange, both inside ourselves and with the world around us.  If we stay up late to watch a movie, we pay for it the next morning when we don’t want to wake up at the usual hour.  If we use our bodies well and eat good food, we are rewarded with relatively good health.  Those are simple equations.  Many of the exchanges we make are more complex than that and harder to track down. I believe that for everything we “pay”, physically, mentally, spiritually, monetarily, we receive something in return, and likewise there is nothing much we receive that doesn’t get paid for in some way as well.  It is important to take stock from time to time and assess the resources we have available to move forward.

That’s what we’ve been doing around here, with the turn of the year.  We began some deep housecleaning, re-organizing our STUFF, the yarn stash, the seed inventory, the sock drawers of LIFE.  We had a couple nice family meetings, discussing the priorities for the season and the year ahead.

And then, we got sick.

this is the best picture that could be taken of any of us this week.

this is the best picture that could be taken of any of us this week.

I won’t go into gross details, but we were plunged into a sort of intermediate hibernation state, with the cold snap of the decade upon us and all four of us laid out like bumps on a log.  It’s a good thing that we were ambitious in our choice of a wood stove.   Warmth was no problem.  Food took slightly more exertion, but Lulah kicked in and made some great noodles with medicinal doses of garlic to fill in where miso soup left off.  ‘Atta girl!

Then, the ice begins to thaw, the fever pains subside, and we stir our consciousness again. We will do inventory once more, maybe a little deeper this time.  What has changed?  What was paid?  What was gained?  What survived the freeze, and what will be taken up by Winter? There are answers to all of those questions, and we will find them, gently, bit by bit.ice2

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not an advocate for sickness.  It’s miserable.  My head still feels weird and none of us have shaken the nasty cough all the way.  Awful stuff.  But, the truth is that it happens, and it is within our best interest to look for the bright spot in what is otherwise an unpleasant experience.

As I awaken from this long night of illness, the sensation of stretching my muscles in exquisite.  The warmth of exhalation through my nose is comforting.  I look over and see that Levon is assembling a 24-piece puzzle, by himself.  He has also created and hung on the wall a painting that looks like what he says it is.

this is an archer, with a bow drawn.  he's wearing boots and a scarf.  do you see it?

this is an archer, with a bow drawn. he’s wearing boots and a scarf. do you see it?

There are birds high in the trees, singing in the warmer day. The chickens run from the coop in the morning, instead of huddling on their perches.  There are three eggs instead of 2, or 1, or none.  My feet are warm.

I am grateful for so many small things.

There is still plenty of dust and laundry to attend to, plus some new watercolor paint spills on the floor and more mud by the door, but there will be time for that when we come to greater equilibrium.  For now, all there is to do is move slowly and use our resources carefully, absorbing the amazing healing power of rest.