Friday, August 27, 2010

How Do I Love Thee? Part I

I love thee for thy claw foot tubs

and skirted grandma sink.

I love thee for thy pegs and hand hewn beams,

thy graven signatures of old.

I love thee for thy open heart

and island fair.

But most of all
I love thee for thy air
of playful handmade imperfectionism
that shall be my teacher here.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Random Reason to Rejoice #1

A perfect clementine.

The skin slips off willingly. The sections separate easily. And it's sweet, almost as sweet as those canned mandarin oranges (which may be clementines entombed), except packaged in nature's perfect compostable single serving container. Grape growers may have tried to take the title some years back for their own product, but clementines are nature's candy in my opinion.

A tip top clementine like this needs to be celebrated. After all, they aren't always available, they aren't always affordable when they are around, and they aren't always this good. Sometimes they're more bitter in flavor and harder to peel, like a tangerine. Not that I have anything against tangerines. They just aren't clementines.

So here's to my darling clementines, making lunch time brighter while they last.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to The Farm

We fell in love with a barn instead.

Yes, there's a story. I will tell it if you will read it.

Life has taken an interesting turn in the last two months or so of my cyber silence. I tried once to begin again like a good little zen girl, but some mystery keystroke erased all I had sheepishly written. Already feeling a little stupid about announcing our brave plans to the world and then cavorting off on a different path, I lost my nerve and went back to dealing with life. But not writing is starting to pain my spirit, so I must out with it.

As summer approached, we began house sitting for friends while they vacationed in order to have some independence and privacy again. During the first of these stays, I had a well-stocked kitchen at my disposal. (They had herbs, people!) As I was washing up after a light dinner of braised chickpeas and vegetables over cheesy polenta, I found myself moved near to tears. I realized that I simply had to have my kind of food--varied, healthy, light--back in my life. We simply had to be able to live our own way again very soon.

Under this pressure we were feeling, David did something he rarely does. He issued an ultimatum: if there was no buildable plan and no time line in place by June, we would be moving out of the parents-in-law's house into... somewhere. I agreed, and (no surprise) there was no objection from the parents-in-law.

So I lined up an apartment and paid a deposit. And of course that's when life offered a titillating new path.

During our time at our second house sitting gig, I was meditating in her room dedicated to the practice when I felt arise my fretfulness about not having a home. At that moment, I heard a voice say "Ann, God is your home."

First, let me say that I don't mean an actual audible voice. Through the years of thought work required to recover from certain past issues and the reading I've done about the mind, I've learned that our thoughts blather on constantly, whether we're aware of it or not. This is all perfectly normal, according to the brain experts. I have, in fact, become well acquainted with my own mind's chatter. But there have been instances, and this was one of them, when the quality of the "voice" wasn't any of my usual ones. It was, instead, wise, knowing, loving, and calm--everything I'm not at the moments when it comes.

What that statement meant to me was that my spiritual home can be anywhere, that I need not worry about my physical home, that I am cared for wherever I may be. Notice taken.

That night, a Friday, I dreamed that someone was taking me to see our house under construction. I sure hoped that it was nice because I had had nothing to do with starting it. It was in a field, as expected, but all I remembered was its shape--a simple rectangle, much like the barns commonly built around here.

When we woke on Saturday morning, we discussed over tea and coffee my deep frustrations at the lack of progress in the house planning and David's doubts about being on an island in the middle of his father's hay field. We were frustrated and doubtful enough that we wondered if we should just buy our own farm and decided to take a look at real estate listings in our chosen county.

I searched first and found nothing affordable or appealing. Then David took a turn. When he called me to the computer to see a possible property, my response was "But it's in town. I thought you didn't want to live in town." He replied that he didn't any longer know where he wanted to live and asked me to view the virtual tour. We were just looking. What would it hurt?

The fact that the house was a converted 1890's barn (!) was the first intriguing point. Then the images in the virtual tour revealed hand hewn beams and salvaged barn wood paneling, claw foot tubs (plural) and covered decks (again, plural), a room that could be David's coveted study, a pantry and built in spice storage, a dining room big enough for a harvest table, a wall-mounted porcelain sink of the kind I had been researching online,
a closet on the main floor that could fit a freezer, and (be still my heart) a generous kitchen island fit for all sorts of culinary endeavors.

That list was most of the features I had been trying, with no luck, to fit into our house plan, packed into a former barn of the same shape as in my dream.
There was even a vaulted stair area that I had been talking myself out of choosing. I ticked the items off in my head as I watched the images cycle by and listened to David read the captions, feeling that tingle of crazy excitement that comes when the unseen forces are moving unexpectedly.

It occurs to me that trying to remember how we came to be at home here is like trying to remember how I fell in love with my husband. I'm sure it happened, and momentously, but the chronology gets slippery.

Anyway, we slept (or not) on it and called the agent on Sunday, made an appointment to see it on Monday, slept (or not) on it again, made an offer on Tuesday, and secured financing on Wednesday at a lender appointment that I had already made (! again). Then there were all the real estate processes to be endured--the paperwork, the inspections, etc. Not to mention telling the draftsman, our friends, and David's parents, who were just about to pay for the survey and deed work for the previous plan. I was quite sure that everyone would think we were the flakiest people ever. I took it as another sign from above that all were understanding and happy for us, even the landlord of the just-secured apartment, who sweetly returned my deposit. Some of our friends were so intrigued that they drove by just to look at it--in another county! It's normal for people to be politely happy for someone's good luck, but our friends and family seemed to us to be doling out extraordinary encouragement. Another confirming sign, we thought.

So here I am, at my desk in our serendipitous home, with no idea why we're here and not where we planned to be or how this home choice affects my career plans, which were previously farm-centric. We do know that the spirit moved most definitely. This path just worked, when the other path kept catching us with thorns. Besides, it wouldn't be a life of faith if I knew what was going to happen and why. I just have to trust that this divinely proffered home is part of making life the finer thing I crave.

I can see the gibbous moon through the high window in the stair vault. Time to rest where the hay used to live and begin again tomorrow with all the truth and life I've got.