Friday, June 13, 2008

When you live and work on a farm

You eat. You have to eat to keep fuel in your body. You need the fuel because you burn it quickly on the farm.

1. You eat breakfast around 6:30 a.m. – but only after feeding the animals.
2. You eat at morning coffee around 9:30 or 10 a.m.
3. You eat dinner at noon which most people call lunch. This is your biggest meal of the day.
4. You eat at afternoon coffee around 3:30 p.m.
5. When you have neighbors over to help with the harvest, you have a beer at quitting time around 5 or 5:30 p.m. Then they go home to their own chores and you do yours. (After you retire, you have a highball around 5 or 5:30 p.m.)
6. You eat supper around 6 or 6:30 p.m. – but only after the animals are fed. This is usually a light meal.
7. You have a snack at bedtime around 9 p.m.

So, since parents who grew up on a farm raised me, we tended to keep to this schedule including the highball. Living in the city with all its conveniences takes most of the calorie burning away. I grew fat. I’m still fat. The schedule still haunts me.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I’ve heard it said that when you have a strong craving for a particular food, there is some nutritional element that you are not getting in your diet. If you analyze the food you crave, you can then identify and make up for the deficiency. For instance, when you crave peanut butter, you more than likely need the B and E vitamins it is rich in. Does this extend to other parts of ourselves?

I crave solitude. I crave quiet. I crave lots of trees and greenery. But I already know that I want out of the city and why I want it. I also crave old houses. Old abandoned houses that look lonely and sad. I want to touch their walls and gaze out of their windows. I want to climb their stairs and walk down the silent halls. I want to know their history – their story.

There is story everywhere you look. If you watch animals, you can see that they tell stories, too. A bird sitting on the edge of a full feeder will sing of its findings leading others to the food. Bees dance the story of where to find the pollen and nectar they turn to honey.

Story is a vital, nutritional element that we as humans need to maintain our humanity. Perhaps that is what I need in my diet right now. Story.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Write about a silence…

Sunday mornings, very early before the sun is more than a line of fire on the horizon, are the best moments for silence in the city. Construction has halted, traffic has not started, the family still sleeps, and only the birds join my dogs and me in a sort of communion.

A gentle breeze stirs the leaves on my ash tree. The new growth shows a lighter, more intense green than the older established leaves. I placed a sprinkler under the drip line yesterday evening and have it trickling slowly so the water soaks down where the tree can get it. Small birds will perch on the sprinkler head and grab drops of water as they leak out the holes. A bigger black bird hops around my big dog’s breakfast scraps in the yard. I think Bill deliberately leaves some on the plate just for this reason. He is inordinately kind to birds. He watches patiently as they sit on the rim of his outside water dish for a quick drink.

This is the jewel of my week. This is what I wait for. This is the illusion of peace that I must make into the real thing if I am to survive. Last night’s dreams haunt my thoughts and I push them away. I don’t want anything to destroy this tiny bit of magic. Reality comes too swift and too hard and too soon.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Write about something to hold on to.

“Why do I only remember what your dad gave to me? I don’t remember what I ever gave him.” My mother and I sat in the living room two nights ago. We were discussing our marriages. I listed a few items that I could remember and that seemed to spark recall to further items. Later she pointed out that she seemed to remember the times Dad hurt her feelings and had to work hard at remembering the good times.

That is one thing I think evolution (or God) got wrong with mankind. We tend to the negative and hold on to it while the positive, good memories float away. The radio and TV news are dreadful. The newspapers and the tabloids have the depressing and shocking news first while the hopeful and the upbeat articles are buried inside or stuck in a small section that is mislaid or bypassed. Is it any wonder then that I’m experiencing my own mental tug-of-war? I start whining immediately about what my husband has done wrong, all the pain he causes. What about the good stuff?

Last night at the graduation party, he was a trooper. He helped me set up, ran quick errands, visited with all the guests, and even danced with me when I asked him to. He took my mother back to our house when she got tired and stayed late with me to clean up before heading back out to go to another party.

This is what I must hold on to.