it’s about time

time 4It’s about time to dig those sweet potatoes.  Jewels waiting to be found under the soil.

It’s about time to throw a Biodynamic Conference.

It’s about time to mow down the rank growth of Summer, and feed it to the Fall. time 1

It’s about time to sow cover crops.  They need time to grow while the sun still shines.

It’s about time to be finished putting up food in the pantry and freezer.  Enough is enough.time 5

It’s about time to start eating some kale.

It’s about time to package up the seeds of the season.time 2

It’s about time to contemplate breeding the milk goat.

It’s about time to fix the chicken coop roof.

It’s about time to stack firewood, and cover it well, so it stays crispy dry.

It’s about time to pick up knitting needles again.

It’s about time plant the last of the cilantro and lettuce to see us into the winter.

And while I’m waiting for the watering can to fill, so I can water the freshly transplanted lettuce, I am tempted to walk away from the filling bucket, to use the time to do another thing on this endless list of things to do.  It’s about that time that a breeze hits my face.  The evening light sparkles through the trees.  My shoulders relax.  My spine lengthens.  I remember.  Once upon a time, I heard some wise men say that time is our own creation.

It’s about time.

It’s about time to just stand there, letting the watering can fill, with the sun and the breeze on my skin.

It’s about taking our own sweet time.

Making our own sweet time.

Making our own time sweet.

Oh, sweet time.time 3

stick around

I am a small person, relieved to be standing at the end of the long winter, watching, feeling the approach of a new season, Spring.  And I am that small person in more than one way.

We held a memorial service for my grandfather last Monday.  He crossed over back in December, but the rest of the family lives far away so we took our time waiting for the season to change and making sure that most of them could make a visit.  It was crazy sweet to see those cousins we rarely see, let the new generation of little ones play, and tell stories about our shared loved ones gone on.gg memorial

At the same time as that was happening, the final business of my step-mother’s estate finally came to a close.  It has been a long and arduous year and a half since her untimely passing.  Finishing the work of her estate feels like shedding an old skin, like maybe I should cut my hair, drink champagne, do something radical to mark the passage of that time.

Our little family weathered four deaths of near-immediate family members in about 18 months.  A couple close family friends departed in that time frame as well.  Saying that it’s been an “intense” time doesn’t do it justice.

But I am not complaining.  I have grown.  I have learned about things I never thought of learning before, and that knowledge has contributed to the wholeness of my life in ways I never imagined.

I have learned about how much work is involved in dealing a loved ones affairs.  I am no longer quite so intimidated by IRS forms and large banking firms.  I understand the need to keep busy in the thick of emotional upheaval.  I have also begun to learn about what to keep and what to discard.  I have learned that it gets easier to let go of things as time passes.tree 3

I have learned that each death is as individual as each life.  Death is like birth – a place where the mystery of being, which we so often ignore, comes in close contact with our daily lives, where we can no longer ignore it.  Before our children we born, where were they?  Now that they are here, it is hard to imagine that they were not here – they certainly cannot imagine it themselves.  And just so, when a person we love has died, it is a stumbling point on our sense of reality – where did they go?

I have learned that in some ways, they haven’t gone anywhere.  Their presence stays with us in our hearts and our minds, naturally, and if we are lucky, our understanding of them and what they shared with us while they lived might even grow as we travel through the remainder of our lives.  It is not the same, but it is enough.

I have learned that our perception of loss, and of ownership, does not always match with reality.  Sometimes, our own perception is all we have to go on, so we have to stick with it.  But it’s worth is to understand that its only our own perception.

I have learned the benefit of silence in conflict.  I have felt, more so than ever before, the need to stand up for my perception of loss and ownership (even though I know they are only mine) in the face of contradiction and exploitation.  I have seen how the law of the land fails the ways of the heart, and sorrowed at that failure.

photo credit a. white. thanks.

photo credit a. white. thanks.

I have learned that none of us are alone.  Our lives necessarily touch other lives, and we often have no idea how much impact that contact has.

And I am beginning to learn something about memory.  It is a piece of perception, and so necessarily personal, but the sharing of memory is potent somehow.  If I cling to my personal memories in a possessive way, I run the risk of letting them grow dusty and stale, and less meaningful with time.  Sharing stories, memories, with others who shared the love of loved ones passed on opens up the possibility of greater understanding and greater appreciation.  It may be painful – our personal version of history may be challenged in ways we could not have imagined, which can feel like a complete violation of everything we are.  But it isn’t.  Not really.  And sometimes (not always) letting ourselves feel that pain can a way to new growth, and new growth makes for fresh flowers.  growth

Given all that – Thank you.  Thank you, everyone who hugged me and loved me through this time.  Thank you for your support and good thoughts and patience and love.  Thank you for carrying boxes, for offering me water.  Thank you for listening to me, over and over again.  I cannot imagine how it would have been without you all.  I know it would have been much more difficult. Thank you.

Knowing full well that my request is meaningless, I am asking for two more favors.  First, please have a will – a legal, written will.  And last, if we could take a break from this death thing for a year or so, that would be great.  Please, stick around.

on time

“You cannot step in the same river once.” ~ Chuang Tzu (maybe)time view

The weather has changed again.

After so many days of the children running outside barefoot, talking about Spring.  After a roof and walls went up on the outbuilding so large I think we could almost move into it.  After surveying the damage of the last big freeze and being very grateful to still have some kale.  After days of sun and wind and hawks and owls calling in the big trees.

We woke to the sound of drizzling rain.

The weather bounces like a yoyo.  Or maybe it’s a boomerang.  There’s a chance of snow tonight.  I welcome it, having known through those balmy days that Winter was still underneath it all.

Welcoming the change seems the best option, now and always.

The seasons unroll themselves, cresting at times in wonderful moments of full expression, then dipping back into shadows or shades of the season behind, or to come.

time childrenSort of like children.  We watch them crawl out of their baby fat.  They spring up like weeds, trying on every characteristic in their genetic code as they grow, amazing and challenging and delighting us all at once.  Just when a behavior seems to have arrived to stay, it is gone again.  Like the open toothless smile of an infant, so fleeting.  One of the perks of being a mother, for sure, is to still be able to see the baby inside the person who grows out of it.

And I see myself in them too, as I was or might have been.  I see in them fragments, gestures, flashes of who I am, and have been.  They are not me, and I am not them, but we are present in each other in a way that, though constant, always changes.

It helps remind me of who I might be now, too. (It is all too easy to lose track of myself – a sense of myself – in the care of feeding of a family.)

There, in the old photos, I recognize the baby, the little girl, the young woman.  I remember being her, sometimes.

time high school

What is it that holds together all these people we have been?

Time.

Slippery substance, mostly of our own creation, that one.  But there it is, running through the seasons, through the years, stringing clouds, rain, sun, days, nights, laughter, anger, tears and hugs all together in an endless beaded string.

Some days, I have a rough ball of clay to thread onto that string as it passes.  Other days, there is a delicate iridescent pearl.  Both add texture and depth to the un-finishable creation of life.

The big question is – what will we do with our precious time on this drizzly winter day?time shadows