Thursday, September 4, 2014
On the day of the fourth anniversary of my marriage to Laura, many things are running through my mind.
In the year following our wedding, I finished my college degree (lovingly known as the 33 1/3 plan, referencing the number of years it took from start to commencement), we sold our house in Massachusetts, bought a house in NY, I moved our entire household and orchestrated the move of our horses, Laura got pregnant, I opened a gallery and we went to Portugal for a last "just us" hurrah.
The gallery is now closed, and prints from the equine photo workshop in Portugal are piled in my basement but also displayed on four continents. The degree languishes, but the knowledge helps me every day in raising my son and striving to be a good father and husband.
The horses moved home after boarding for a year, as I fenced in a few acres and brought in a run-in shed to shelter them. New water and electricity lines make their home easier for us to manage. The garden has tripled in size. I am now known to the state of New York as Farmer Number 1909, accepting WIC and Senior Nutrition checks (as well as cash, thank you) at three to four farmers' markets every week. I haven't ridden my horse in a couple of years, but he is still dear to me and as honest and sweet as ever. And, he and his pasture mate sure can make compost. They are a part of my spirit, they nurture my inner nurturer, and you can't beat the soil in our gardens.
And, the "baby". He's just shy of three years old now, and last night he joined in a bluegrass jam when a young woman offered him a washboard to strum along with the music. If we're foolish enough to leave the TV on during dinner, he is likely to jump out of his chair to dance to a theme song. Every week we go to "concerts"- music events where he can dance and play and clap, and flirt. People marvel at his willingness to entertain. As the saying goes, to Jay "there are no strangers, just friends he hasn't met yet."
Our marriage has not been easy. My wife's job is very stressful, and we are raising a child as members of slightly differing generational viewpoints. Sometimes I think our biggest connection is that we both frequently feel socially awkward, but are pretty comfortable with each other's energy and boundaries. That's not always easy to find, no matter how passionate and loving two people may feel. We continue to approach some sort of breaking point, cool off, and try to "re-set". It's work, wearying and wondering work, and yet it somehow does work.
And, my parents are very much on my mind. Their 58th anniversary approaches. I know they have had their share of work with each other. At the moment, my two concerns are for my mother's ailing heart and for my father's declining body and spirit. We had planned to visit in January, but I'm feeling an urgency to go soon.
So many forks in this road, all of them requiring paring and pruning, and not always with a clear view of the road ahead. Faith keeps the feet moving forward- faith in my resourcefulness, faith in my family, faith in the power of love to overcome the power of sorrow and anger.
Ever forward, the only sin is sitting still and waiting to die. My 95-year-old neighbor fires up her wood chipper and mulches the rakings from her flower beds about once a week. Friends older than I am continue to strive for knowledge and growth.
The lexicon of my new farming vocation says that I am a "grower". I like that title. I plan to keep it, even when I can no longer kneel in the garden.