on winter solstice

b&woak4First one toe, then another.

The day begins.

 

A sun to worship, the ancients rejoice.

I hear it, subtle, but there.

A louder song, a promise born, faintly,

in the wind.

 

And why?

 

First one breath, then another.

Not the first day of,

but midway through.

Midway to

the fresh and green and day you’ve been waiting for.

 

Sometimes me, sometimes you.

Spiralling in can take an eternity, and in the dark, what to hold onto,

this?

 

Yes.

This–

if we are just a microcosm of this macro cosmos,

then know,

and know well,

that there will always be light–always–

(and dark)

again.

 

And again.

And again.

And again.

love flows

 

beach, love, mindfulnessthrough you, through me,

love flows and sets us free.

love, beach, mindfulnessToday, my only goal is to exhale, deeply.

Exhale back into space and time, my home, my kids.

Our last summer farmer’s market was Thursday, and although we will continue harvests for our CSA and our weekend market for another seven weeks, these last many weeks, from September until now, are the crazy-making time on the farm.  The nearly too much time of the year, the so very much food in the fields, the explosion, the reverse of the calm before the storm.  The storm, before the sweet calm.

And doubling up on markets to boot.

A friend asked me earlier this year if our work out here on the farm and in the shop felt sustainable, and I responded then, not quite in the thick of the busiest time yet, that I had come to accept that our summers were not a picture of balance.  In fact, for so long I kept trying to find balance until I finally got a clue and changed my perspective on the whole thing.  Balance, at certain times in your life story, isn’t the right word to be searching for.

But things do need to be sustainable, and I knew then, when I answered her, that it was sustainable because it wasn’t this busy all the time.  We have a little dark side of the cycle out here in the winter, a time of rest, and it regroups us, even if it is nearly impossible to remember this during the wild ride of September.

Nevertheless, we are here now, slowing down.  The summer crops are spent, the fall and winter crops are growing still, but slowly, soon to stop for the year and simply await harvest or flowering, come spring.  The leaves are changing color too, which out here means yellow.  Golden, against the ever present green and the turning to brown all around.  These colors, this time, it stirs you, in the deep parts.

I want to let go of all that intensity, and fall back into my heart, the only place that matters.  The trappings of life, even a good and happy life with days of living free, on a farm, and working hard, can oddly still detach us from the heart of the matter.  The point of this whole mysterious thing that falls between our first and our last breath.

Love.

And why this takes so much intention to hold onto, is really the mystery to me, but I know it, deep down, and I return to it as often as I can remember to.

So, today, at least, I have enough space around me, in what is to come this week, to really see these sweet faces around me, to know that I won’t have to worry about my-busy versus their-needs.  It is a relief, for me.  I am the worst multi-tasker.

You see, the truth is, I don’t want to be anything at all, really, when I grow up.  Why should we be something?  I just want to be love and be present, in this love.

That is really why I came here in the first place.

Bursting

With a perfect 80 degree sunny day and late night-post strawberry harvesting till dusk bonfire to welcome it in, summer arrived according to the skies this Wednesday.  In some parts of the country, the reference to the summer solstice not as the beginning of summer but as midsummer might be more accurate, but for us, it does feel like we don’t really slip into summer until July.

In fact, it was so rainy yesterday that the farmer had to pull out all his rain gear to finish harvesting.  And we weren’t quite sure what to do about finishing that strawberry harvest; wet strawberries sitting  in paper pulp pint containers for too long didn’t sound like a good idea.  And so, even though it was still raining this morning, we rose early to finish and the berries all looked good this morning.

Still, even with the rain, there are a number of solstice celebrations happening this weekend and we have put up the start of our summer bucket list on the blackboard and I am hoping to put down in writing a few camping trips and special days to make sure that they happen.  All good signs.

Because really there is but one thing to make sure of in this shortest of Willamette Valley seasons, folks; love up that sunshine!   Make each of these long days count.  Summer is best lived loud and large and outside!  If possible, let this season burst the seams.

On the farm, it is really amazing how much we pack into and rely on such a short number of weeks.  But all the work and all the play are worth it.  That golden orb that warms the ground and our bodies is close by and burning bright for the next six weeks or so before it already tips closer to the fall equinox than this here summer solstice.

Here is one of the most quoted and most beloved Mary Oliver poems.  It’s been a few years since I shared it, but it’s a good one to start the summer off with.

May your summer be a shining one!

The Summer Day

by Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

 

Dreams fly crookedly towards the sky

Happy New Year!

No matter the realities of our day to day,  this day is one of those remarkably fresh days, full of possibility and wonder.  Even if there is some trepidation in the room with us as we ponder what is to come, the thought of a new year is, for at least one day, clear and open, a brand new journal ready to hold the stories we will write these next 365 days.

On the most basic level, I can only think of what a great year it will be.  Our baby will roll over, sit up, and crawl.  He will begin walking and talking by this time next year.  That is a whole lot of awesome; how can we go wrong?

Things feel just so perfect for us as we start this year.  Our dreams, though they took some twists and turns on the way, have been realized in so many ways.  To be here, holding all these things so dear, is both incredibly amazing and terribly frightening.

I am reminded of these Mary Oliver words, shared with us by a friend as we prepared to meet our new little love last year:

“To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.”

So little matters when seated next to another living, breathing person that you hold dear.

And right now there are so many things happening in the world at large that leave one feeling on the verge.  Late night conversations are about this poorly propped up, teeter totter existence that we have built, which seems like it is about to collapse.  But the reality of that thought seems just as impossible as it does possible, especially when you are cradling a brand new person in your arms.

And his freshness is that same freshness that fills this day.  Even though it is just a day on the calender, we are all together today dreaming of good things to come.  Even though the year rarely unfolds as we envision it on January 1st, the crooked path that our lives take always leads us somewhere.  Some years it is a ditch.  And some years, it is to a place so splendid that we are able to forget some of those bumps along the way.    I feel like I’m holding my breath.  I want to stay here at the peak of the mountain all year, to keep looking at this bright blue sky we have arrived at, forever.

she farms in a tutu…

and sings “grow, plants, grow” to each seedling she helps place in the ground.

She coddles the young plants with tender hands and sweet words,

just like I used to do with her when she emerged into this world, full of light.

With her, rocks and pine cones and even me and the chickens,

we all become tiny babies in her arms.

And it strikes me how she has been a mother since she started walking on this earth–

my daughter, born with the same fierce love of little ones, the need to nurture, to help things grow that marks mothers the world over.

And I hope that she carries this with her, that she sees that it is a strength, not a weakness,

my daughter, my baby, turning four today.