|Haying time in June on our knob mowing.|
|The Andromeda Galaxy is the closest spiral galaxy to us, but still over 2 million light years away.|
When I am overwhelmed and need perspective, I just look to the heavens and realize we are but a speck.
I was raised by an amateur astronomer and geographer, professional banker and numbers man, and a brilliant organist all rolled into one. My father had an inner compass and always knew where we were in the world just as much as he loved to watch the weather and the heavens–or a good old-fashioned disaster movie: double feature matinee of The Day The Earth Stood Still or The Amazing Colossal Man, anyone? There are also other mathematical theories and ideas about why 2012 is "it." My father and I would have discussed them all, with just a dash of sarcasm and levity in case "they" all happen to be right. Either way, for a bit of reason, here is NASA's take on the whole 2012 thing.
|This was widely circulated on the Internet this winter.|
This winter I have realized, quite plainly and perhaps for the first time, that the only things that I can really control in my life are what goes into my body and what comes out of my mouth (or my pen). I can also control my environment to some extent (and sometimes not at all: but that is a choice, even though I live with two boys and a husband who, for the most part, are neater than I am). I can also control how much time I spend connected with the world via the Internet (gladly, I do not have a cell phone). I can control when I move or when I am still. I can take joy in the quiet, or, as one of my great-grandmothers wrote to each of her nine children: "Remember, loved ones, the ruthlessness to rest." She didn't just mean for the body, but for the soul.
I occasionally dream of the house that we used to live in and the houses of my past: fine and glittering places. "Palaces" of family or of the stuff of generations but all places of memory and homeplaces because of the people in them. Christmas especially conjures these places and the sorrow that they are no longer in our lives. But they are places, not people, and even the loved ones with whom we shared those homes are no longer in our lives. So what would those places even be without them? "You can't go home again," echos Thomas Wolfe in my head, always, like a sonorous, yet clanging, temple gong.
Now we are here on a ridge in Kentucky, on a farm that we've made in four years and that continues to grow in terms of what we are trying to do. So here I can create a loving home. I can shape a fine home, cottage or even a doublewide with what we have. I can focus on my writing and time with my children and my husband. Real time where I am present and not distracted. I can provide nourishing and delicious food for my family from our ample pantries and freezers. I can spend less, especially now that we've stockpiled much. I can read more and start with the books in my own home library (even though much is still in boxes)–or go to the library more instead of bringing in more books. I can be a better friend and neighbor. I can sing and dance more, just because (and OK, Santa brought Momma an iPod Shuffle this Christmas...). I can pick up my knitting needles again and have-at that yarn box!
I half-joked with my husband and some friends that this year, apart from monthly bills, I would only be spending money on gas, seeds, local produce and the occasional bottle of milk. We have so much on hand that really, apart from occasional clothes for the boys (my husband and I have clothes in several sizes and in classic styles and aren't fashion victims so we'll be fine), we don't lack for much.
In fact, we don't lack for anything.
I have this Wendell Berry quote under my header photo but it bears repeating again:
"It may be that when we no longer know which way to go that we have come to our real journey...And we pray, not for new earth or heaven, but to be quiet in heart, and in eye clear. What we need is here."Yes, what we need is here. Now. Perhaps one day in Heaven, too. But for now, today, this is all I know. And this is all I need.
You come back when you're ready!