The Season in Review

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As we enter the last week of our CSA season I can’t help but think back to the beginning of this year with a certain lightness that was not present in April.  We spent the winter planning the season to a “T.” Our budget written out, crop plan in place, and planting calendar complete- on paper, it was nearly perfect.  See, we had a lot riding on this season. Even though we completed a CSA season last year, it was small, only 20 families, and we were working off-farm jobs through the summer.  This time around, we knew we wanted to do it differently and make it more of a full time gig. In order for us to take the next steps, the CSA membership needed to grow as well as the space upon which we plant.  We grew the membership over 200% and started in June with 80 beds, 100 feet long each, organized into 5 plots. The season prior, we had one plot with 16 beds. It was a big leap and one we knew we needed to take.  Right now there are so many cheesy quotes running through my head, you know, like “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” or how about this one, “if you never try, you’ll never know.” All cheesiness aside, this is true!  IMG_3706

See, we are non-traditional farmers.  Unlike so many of our farming counterparts, we did not go through a time of interning and farming for others and we do not come from farm families. Dan worked on a CSA farm through highschool, fell in love with it, and set his mind to farming.  In the middle, we met, had kids, built a house and then looked upon our tillable acres with this forever dream in mind. The dream was finally ready to become reality and we finally had a chance to take a leap. Here we are now on the other side of the leap. We did it! Our first big season with over 100 members is coming to a close.  It wasn’t perfect like the paper copy – it was full of missteps and completely lacked a head of cauliflower. It had less broccoli than we planned for and some of the tomatoes certainly had cracks. The first few boxes were light due to the nasty Spring and we compensated with plentiful boxes the second half of the season. We can honestly say that we’re proud of every box we packed.   

IMG_4081If I’m left with a lesson here, it’s this, KEEP A LIGHT TOUCH.  Every few years I’m confronted with some thing and this life lesson comes back front and center.  Life can get heavy, especially when it’s something deeply important.  But I think the lighter we are, the easier we can adjust, make changes, make things work.  When the Spring rain felt like it was never going to stop, and the soil was more compacted than expected and things weren’t growing as planned, we could have crashed and burned in that moment, but instead, we adjusted.  It was heavy at first, our stressed, weary bodies problem solving, but slowly we lightened up. We changed, we started growing on a 6th, then a 7th, 8th and 9th plot where the soil was more fertile and the drainage much improved.  This first round of squash went poorly and we planted another and it was beautiful.  We realized that there would always be something… potato bugs, cucumber bugs, heavy rain, never enough time, and sometimes there would even be an email from a member unsatisfied by some aspect of the share, but we had to keep moving, adjusting to each challenge. IMG_4373

The lighter I could be about our season, the more easily I could see the beauty. We are so thankful for all of our members, the emails of appreciation, our incredible pick up site hosts, and the people who banded around us to make this season happen successfully – Jake and Mary, our eternally positive, hard working employees, our Mothers, the best Nana/Farm-hands in the world, Dan’s Dad, who’s helped on the farm in so many ways and our children for loving the rhythm of a farm.  As we prepare to fill the last boxes of the season, we’re happy to report that each box has been fuller than the last, harder to close the lid. We hope it doesn’t overwhelm people and we realize balance (too much/not enough) is very hard to achieve. We’ve learned, through lightening up, that this reality is all we thought it would be – it’s a dream to grow all of this food, and share it! We’ve loved this season so much and we are so thankful we get to grow food here in Minnesota – naturally, free of chemicals and sustainably.  We hope this is our “first big season” of many. Each year I hope we learn as much as we did this year, and continue to become better farmers.

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Wild Eyes in the Morning

As I lay between my two children, listening to them each whisper musings from the day while moving their bodies back and forth in to sleep, I wish I could crystallize all this into one portrait, one sentiment, one feeling.  An actual image comes to mind as I lay there, it isn’t any masterpiece, but there’s a depth to it – oil paint, mixed with fine tip pen and ink, pencil and coffee stains, wine rings and spilled soup, the colors are mostly green, pink and black in my mind.   Spontaneous splashes coupled with deliberate marks all bubbling together, alive- harmonious and discenent all at once.  This image, relegated to my mind’s eye, holds true. Each day is ripe with tiny beautiful moments, the gap between Mirah’s front teeth, the hummingbirds always hanging out by the window – one fluffy, one smooth, the way Omer’s blond hair gathers into a little tail at the nape of his neck, the tree trunk layers of a leek, the lime green lettuce heads all in a row.  Laced in between the beauty lye layers of chaos – I am eternally five minutes late for work, there is never enough time, Mirah wakes up and wants her mama right in the middle of my five minutes late for work routine, my heart breaks a little, I get in the car. Dan says I have wild eyes in the morning, and he’s not wrong. They are wild for all the things I forgot to do and for all the ways I am unprepared, for all the dreams I am still dreaming, for all the art left floating inside my mind as I zip up Omer’s coat and scramble for my keys.  My eyes are wild as I swim in the soup, and coffee stains. Life feels unfocused like it’s right in front of my nose and I keep trying to pull back on the image, and consider the long game. I look to the sky, to god maybe, for one peak at the future, one clear picture of the path, but instead, I’m left here to squint, pulling the beauty close as I swim through the rest.

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Choked Up at MOSES

We have this wonderful family friend Mary who cries at the drop of a hat.  It’s the most beautiful thing. I ran in to her unexpectedly at Whole Foods once and this brought her tears.  As the years go by I often remark that I am taking on this trait- a compliment to myself. It also runs in our family.  My Grandpa used to cry when he listened to music, or when the grandbabies were doing something especially cute. He would always say it was his allergies as he wiped big tears from his cheeks.  My son, just last night while watching a cartoon started crying at a touching scene and immediately blamed it on his watery eyes. We’re criers, I said to him! So this weekend Dan and I were at the MOSES Organic Farming Conference and as the keynote speakers were being introduced I started crying.  Tears dripped down my cheeks and down my neck – real big time crying. Dan gave me a smile, he’s witnessed this a hundred times. It’s important to note though that the frequency of these crying events truly does not depreciate the circumstances. I consider myself lucky to feel moved this often, and I know there’s something magic about our friend Mary – her crying is meaningful and truly touching.  So why was I crying at the MOSES Organic Farming Conference? There were so many reasons.

 

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This conference has taken place for 30 years and for the last 19, it’s been in my home town of La Crosse, Wi.  3,000 plus people involved in organic farming gather to connect, learn more, and share. Of the 3,000, one is my dear childhood best friend Jonnah Perkins; I write about our friendship and farming connections here. From third to sixth grade we spoke our own language, and cultivated a kooky, creative world of our own.  We have both taken circuitous routes to farming, both spending time in New York City, in the arts and then, like homing pigeons, back to the Midwest.  In addition to farming, she is a professional runner (!), coach, and all around brilliant artistic soul. We connected over how we both have two children, a boy and a girl and how we’ve found ourselves here in this spot in life.  Jonnah noted how we’ve both always been committed to an alternative life, even if we weren’t always sure what it was.

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The tear spurring keynote speakers have been farming organically since the 1980’s and were instrumental in writing the organic farming standards published in the Farm Bill of 1990.  They’ve been preaching the good news of organic food for decades. They spoke of it being our duty to continue to share this news. It is our duty not only to grow food naturally and share it with our community, but to stand for organic on a national level; to demand better for our communities.  It was powerful to see these six people closer to the end than the beginning of their farming careers, so passionate and so fervent in this belief. They were energizing and inspiring and reminded me to keep the plot, stay true to the bigger picture. It is so easy to take a deep dive in to crop planning, successions, how many plants per row, the cost of a pack shed, the list goes on, the costs go on – but how important not to forget why we do what we do.  We farm to connect with our community and provide people with quality food grown naturally!  I can’t wait to share the farm and it’s bounty with more people this summer. I’m dreaming up events, farm dinners, and more ways to connect with people.  I can’t wait and this chokes me up.

Vote.

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This weekend we fulfilled a huge part of our farming life and bought a walking tractor.  This way we can plow the field for next season and prepare for expansion.  I’m terrified of any type of big purchase.  I admire Dan’s steadfast nature and his commitment to laying roots, doing things the right way the first time and investing in good equipment.  I come from a place of trying to strip everything down to nothing, like what if money didn’t have to exist?? So, we meet in the middle on these things.  The tractor is necessary and truly so good.  I spent a chunk of Sunday turning the prairie ground in to fresh soil for next years food.  I listened to Cat Power’s new album, The Wanderer and then I listened to Hurray for the Riff Raff’s, The Navigator. It’s an incredibly freeing feeling, blasting music and pushing a tractor down a semi-straight line.  I feel privileged and very lucky.  I thought about our right to vote for the things we believe in and how important that truly is.  Dan wrote a letter earlier this year, saying as much, but I thought about how badly we need change in our country (understatement of the year), how we need to vote every day with how we spend our money.  Money does indeed exist, and we need to use it for good.  Vote today for sure and then vote every day after that.  For the people who aren’t allowed to vote, for the children, for the oppressed, vote.

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11/5

I sat down the other afternoon while Mirah napped I got out a blank piece of paper and started writing down my goals and dreams.  There was a time when I did this obsessively; a little voice in my head whispering, “what’s next,” “what do you want?”  In the past year or so I’ve become so practical in my thinking and life has been in sharp focus, not leaving much room for the wild, outlandish dreaming of years gone by.  But here I was, home from work with a sleeping child, the other one at school, and a blank piece of paper in front of me.  On the top of the paper I wrote “back to the drawing board of dreams.”  In the middle I wrote “if you don’t take brave steps forward dreams shrivel up and float away.”  Life, to me, is this delicate balancing act.  Sharp focus in concert with a squinted eye, questioning the fuzzy, mysterious energy residing in that space.  Things lay dormant for a while on purpose.  When I say things, I mean dreams, ideas, aspirations.  When you find them again, they look different, intriguing, and for me this time, more possible.

…more thoughts tomorrow.

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Why CSA; and a Few Other Suggestions for Getting Through Winter

This winter has felt a little extra long, right?  I’m not sure if it’s the extreme cold, mixed with snow, then warmth than extreme cold on repeat, or the juxtaposition of having a four year old yearning to be outside adventuring and a ten month old wanting the comforts of carpeting and warmth, but winter is getting old.  Ways I (and my family) have been coping with the winter lately, to varying degrees of success are:

-Staging my own personal Winter Olympics competition that involves running up and down the drive way a few times. I put my hands in the air when I reach the house, waving, and blowing kisses while playing commentator while my husband and children look on with equal parts intrigue and fear I’ve actually cracked.

-Making combination toy-fruit towers.

-Riding a scooter between the front and back door (approximately 34 feet)

– Rearranging the furniture at least four times and then putting it back how it was.

-Bonfires

All that aside, what’s truly and honestly kept the fire burning for us out here has been planning for our farm season.  This will be the first year we will offer CSA (community supported agriculture) shares to people in the area.  Our dream, long before purchasing our land, was and is to grow a lot of food for local people.  We played around with how we would do this.  We thought about specializing in a few different crops; growing for farmers markets, restaurants, and grocery stores.  We still have big dreams to make some of those ideas a reality, but we realized CSA is truly our way forward.  On the most basic level CSA means community members purchase a share up front, and we use that money to grow food for those members. The exchange is about as direct as can be.  On a deeper level, CSA means connection.  The polarizing political climate and the hunger for human interaction without the existence of screens has me desiring more and more face to face with my community.  More often than ever before I hear people, my peers, saying they feel alone, or isolated in their day to day, measuring themselves up against the perfectly curated images on social media.  Life is messy, even if we rearrange our furniture ten different ways, there are still graham cracker crumbs smashed in to the rug, and dust bunnies in the corners of the room.  The more we can connect in our mess, the better off we all are, right?  So, to me, CSA means connection in a real way.  If we can grow delicious food and provide a box full of it for a community of people each week, all summer, we are connected on that base level.  I love people, I always have.  I love to talk and laugh and dream up possibilities.    I love to take twice as long grocery shopping because I ran in to a few people and got to talking.  CSA is a way we can give to the community, to reach people and to grow something meaningful.  We’ll start out small this year, with only as many members as Dan and I can count on both of our hands, but we hope to grow and grow, spreading the idea of connection through good, local food.

If you are in St. Peter, Henderson, Mankato, or any other surrounding community, please consider joining us this year.  It will be fun, it will be delicious and it will be worth every penny.  Sign up over at www.littlebigskymn.com.

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The heart and the home.

Do you ever feel just as light as a feather, like the paint a graffiti artist uses to tag a train.  A little naughty, full of pigment and attached to something solid.  

Do you ever wish there was someone crazier than you at a party?  Do you ever get scared you are not doing the thing you should be doing, or do you ever just not care?

I’ve been making this joke lately to Dan about selling all of our belongings, buying a Westfalia camper van and hitting the road.  Just the four of us.  Dan usually looks at me with a disgusted smirk.  A smirk because he knows I’m mostly kidding.  Disgusted because we’ve dedicated this chapter of life to laying down roots and building a home.  Both smirk and disgust because we’re happy here.    We’ve put our hearts, soul, sweat and blood into building a simple shelter for our family to live close to family and friends.  Brick by brick, two by four by four by six, we built the walls around us.  All the while, growing the family that fills in all the blank space.  We finally feel ready to start working our land to the extent that we’ll provide food for more than just us.  We are settled AF.  (That’s a thing people are saying now right?)  We have begun this winter season with out any major changes.  I’m not pregnant, we are not scheming to build bedrooms, finish spaces.  We feel good in our space.

We visited dear friends in Southern California this fall, and it was dreamy… Westfalias everywhere.  We went to the beach every day and Omer was the vision of pure joy frolicking in the waves.  I walked down Venice beach in October feeling comfortable in shorts, a swimsuit top and sandals.  Omer’s eyes were wide watching the body builders at muscle beach, the basketballers and the eccentric gentleman letting him pet his iguana.  We fell in love with the waves and how they pull you out then back in.  The ocean is truly magical, the waves meditative, life giving and restorative.  I understand why people shape their lives around the ocean.  In Malibu, we swam at the iconic Beach Boys, Surfin’ USA beach (I don’t think that’s it’s official name).  I noticed a family of surfers there, the youngest child surfing looked to be about ten.  My friend Katie said she’s observed a lot of surfing families that travel around hitting up different beaches, probably in their Westfalias.  What a life.

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photo credit: Katie F. Collins

My adventuresome heart is so easily caught up in the magic of the other, the what if.  But, there is something rooting my feet firmly to the ground these days.  I’m realizing again and again that we really actually get one time to do this whole thing, which, for some reason, gives me pause more than the old familiar reminder that life is short.  I will only listen to my daughter laugh for the first time once, I will give birth to her once, we will raise our children in rural Minnesota once.  So, what if we were raising our children at the beach?  So what.  I’m learning it’s not the point.  If you are lucky, life is full of choices, and we get to make them… who we spend our life with, where we live, what we do.  I’ve learned that part of being my best grown up self is doing a really good job with the choices I’ve made.  I am so lucky to be in love and to be married to a really good, funny, supportive person who knows how to build us a house.  I am lucky that as I type I am watching the snow fall on to naked trees outside our window and I can hear my mother rocking Mirah to sleep while Omer plays.

Life is of course full of do-overs and thank goodness we get do-overs.  We don’t have to stay with an asshole ’til death do us part, we can change careers, change states, flow through life being kind to ourselves as priorities shift.

But, as the year clicks over, I will not wonder about some fictional sunnier, sleeker, sexier version of life.  I will do my very best at this one.  I will feel lucky I get to visit dear friends at the beach and then come home, like the waves pulling me out and back in again. I will try my darnedest for my daughter’s sparkling eyes and my son’s hugs to fill my heart for a hundred lifetimes from now.  I am so fucking grateful.

It’s been bitter cold here.  We finally put a heat lamp in the coop for our poor, crabby chickens.   I whisper thank you to the wood shed for keeping us warm and to Dan for chopping and hauling.  Me and my adventuresome heart love it here.  The cold is meditative in it’s own way, and the frenetic beauty of the summer is magic; coming all too soon.

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Shape Shifting

I lay Mirah down for her morning nap, the heat from the wood stove floating to her upstairs nook.  I still find it amazing that babies can be ready for a nap at 8:15 in the morning.  I walk downstairs, putting intentional blinders on, cruising past dishes half done, full laundry baskets both clean and dirty, baby food blended, but not yet put in jars, mail to be sent, bills to be paid, to get to this room.  There are literally one hundred other things I could be doing.  But, I’m writing, because writing feels good.  I have spent a good part of my life being an artist, playing and writing music for people, but I haven’t wanted to do that in a while.  It’s been a conundrum because the inspiration never leaves and the impulse to create is strong.

About every two weeks I walk around the same circle, me and my creative self.  I get inspired, I’m flooded with ideas I want to write down, thoughts to share, and then my mind kicks in with all the reasons it’s not a good idea.  I think about how our culture is obsessed with sharing and instant gratification via social media platforms, I tell myself I should be writing music, not anecdotes about life.  Then I start feeling guilty about not writing music, like a part of me is dying away.  I tell myself I am not a writer; why am I sharing?  It’s a ridiculous circle I find myself plotting around approximately twice a month.  So, when I reach that point in the cycle when I’m inspired, I stuff it somewhere deep down. 

IMG_6098That being said, I am not really tortured by this.  Life is filled with the hustle and bustle of sweet, funny, tiny people, coffee fueled mornings, a million interrupted conversations, friends, dinners, dreaming, bedtime, and more dreaming.  I smile more than I frown, and I’m not as exhausted as I thought I’d be with two children.  I delight in my little nursing baby and my son who has taken to spoken word poetry mostly about how much he loves me.  His latest, “I made a rainbow in the sand, now lay on it, it’s where you’ll feel my love the strongest” blew me away. I am keenly aware that they won’t always be this sweet and little.  But, within the day to day, mini-victories and break downs both mine and my children, the desire to create is never any less strong than it was when I was twenty-two.  The torture is certainly gone, but the desire lives on.

I am certain a part of me is dying, but it’s not my song-writing self; it’s more subtle and less simplistic.

I gained fifty pounds through each of my pregnancies.  It was quite amazing!  Those pounds were baby, and boobs, thighs and cheeks and more thighs. I felt healthy and youthful in that body. After each birth the pounds slipped away, easy at first and then with some effort.  When they were finally all gone, I was not left with what was there before.  This woman is different.  I caught my face in the camera of my computer the other day (I was trying to figure out the webcam feature for a class I’m taking and this was tricky, because I’m getting oldish), and I thought, who is that woman?  I didn’t shutter, or think negatively about the person on the screen, instead, just a question and a certain answer, I’m not what I was.  This physical change is dramatic when having babies, but it happens to everyone, here and there through life.  There is beauty in change, in old selves’ dying away.  The physical change is only a metaphor for what is happening inside.  I like to think my priorities, goals, and passions are being refined through time.  This happens to me, just as much as it happens to my baby; she is born and at first she only sees faces and looks using inquisitive wrinkly expressions, then one day she smiles and then four months later she’s crawling after the cat. 

I’ve spent the last few days contemplating wether I should keep writing, scratch that, keep sharing what I write because there’s always a part in my two week circle where I say, no.  I’ve been reading Louise Erdrich’s The Blue Jay’s Dance and last night I read this:

I acquire an old portrait of this house and its inhabitants, taken by an itinerant photographer in 1891…

How many women are buried beneath their houses?  How many startling minds, how many writers?  This house is over two hundred years old.  How many women lie stunned within its walls?  It is a new phenomenon that so many women bear and raise children and do work in the outside world.  Again, the photograph.  I examine the woman’s face, her stance between the spires of hollyhocks.  I imagine, her, and I wonder.  A woman needs to tell her own story, to tell the bloody version of the fairy tale.  A woman has to be her own hero.  The princess cuts off her hair, blinds her eyes, scores her arms, and rushes wildly toward the mouth of the dragon.  The princess slays the dragon, sets off on her own quest.  She crushes her crown beneath her foot, eats dirt, eats roses, deals with the humility and grandeur of her own human life. 

I love this so much.  For me, this paragraph is enough.  I’ll keep writing and sharing because of this.  I’d like to be done with the wasted time of self doubt and questioning, both about art and in general.  Maybe that’s another way I’m evolving (fingers crossed). 

The sky is gray and it’s windy, not that I’ve been outside. I can hear the chimney shake ever so slightly.  The chickens are busy in their coop, Mirah sleeps on – maybe enough time to finish the dishes. 

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‘Tis the Season


We were away this past weekend at what Omer calls “Grandpa’s Lake,” a house my Grandfather and Great Uncle built in the 60’s on a deep, clean lake in Wisconsin.  It is where the bulk of my childhood memories were made, and is quickly becoming Omer’s favorite place.  We decided to go up on Friday after I mentally and emotionally gave up the idea of selling arm loads of flowers at the Saturday morning Farmer’s Market in St. Peter.  See, bugs are eating all of my flowers, and my plan for a bumper crop of zinnias is shaking out a little differently.  Mirah and I walked the garden rows this morning, her dressed for the day, me in my tie dye pajama shirt.  The garden, like the season, is in full bloom.  Zucchini, cucumbers, strong sturdy kale, green beans and way more tomatoes than we can eat or can or throw at each other.  The flowers are blooming in droves and take my breath away; bug damage and all, they are beautiful.  But, even more than the annuals I carefully chose and planted, it’s the weeds that have surprised me.  By this time last year I had given up using a hoe or pulling them by hand, I was just mowing massive amounts between the plants.  So we decided to be more prepared this year.  Last fall we plowed up an eighth of an acre of prairie to put our garden on, closer to the house, easier with a new born.  The plowed ground sat all winter and we tilled in the spring with a borrowed walking tractor.  We planted the garden Mother’s Day weekend, and weeded faithfully through the beginning of June.  As far as I could tell we were earning a solid B- in the weeding department versus last year’s D+.  The weeds that dominate our garden plot now are prairie flowers, coming up even though we plowed and tilled them away in the cold months.  They are gorgeous and everywhere.  Coreopsis and Black-Eyed Susan fill in the garden rows and weave themselves through the tomato trellis.  If you ask me, they are way too beautiful to pull or mow, or hoe even if they are inhibiting our carrots from growing as they should and stealing nutrients from the annual veggies. We 

As a new mother of two, I am constantly drawing parallels, making connections, feeling a well spring of inspiration and creativity (and listening to way more Adele than I ever thought I would) and all of this sits dormant most of the time (except for Adele), as I pour my energy, love and joy in to my home, my children, the day to day.  Life, like the summer season, is brimming and spilling over in ways I couldn’t have imagined.  Time is different now.  All winter I dream of summer, with expectations of a beautiful garden, the right amount of flower’s to harvest and sell, days spent outside with my kids.  It’s a clean dream, no mistakes, no weeds. I think it’s okay for me to have these high expectations with the garden, I’m already studying up on how to get rid of these pesky bugs for next year.  But, with the rest of life, I am striving to let go of expectations, of what once was, and live in the energy of this season.  I don’t have time for much, I even write this post on borrowed time.  But, this too is a season, and their are metaphorical wild flowers growing everywhere, in Mirah’s first laughs, and everything Omer says, and the way Dan and I have figured out how to work as a mostly happy team raising kids, while moving our own dreams forward. 

I have so many happy memories of weekends spent at Grandpa’s Lake as a kid.  The whole day was spent in the water.  When hunger struck there was inevitably a green box of club crackers and cheddar cheese on a plate on shore for us to devour.  My sisters, cousins and I fell asleep in a line of sleeping bags on the porch floor giggling, pillows wet from the last swim of the day still in our hair.  I remember my mother and aunts buzzing around, busy doing things I didn’t understand.  At sunset, my Mom and Dad (when he could get off work), Uncle and Aunts, even my Grandpa jumped in the water for that last swim.  They swam out deep, and I watched with astonishment as their bobbing heads drifted toward the middle of the lake.  I could hear them laugh, and in that moment, they were kids too.  The buzzing that I now understand to be delivering the club crackers, making dinner, taking general care of the children under foot, was shed as they swam out further and further.  When my own kids finally fell asleep this past Saturday, it was me swimming out in to the middle of the lake.  Dan and I splashed and laughed like teenagers.  My shoulders were tired from nursing and carrying Mirah, and my brain was mushy from answering all of Omer’s questions, but I couldn’t feel any of it as I swam.  Obviously none of us know what’s to come of our lives.  But, I know this is a particularly full and beautiful season.  It’s one of endless work, endless joy, and making sure to swim out deep when I can and to leave the wildflowers to grow like weeds.

Look at What the Light Did Now*

Our baby girl, Mirah, was born five weeks ago yesterday.  I tried to write something when she was three weeks and then again at four weeks, but it was all too fresh, and probably still is, but here I go.

I gave birth to her in the middle of the night early in April.  Maybe because this labor was shorter or because I’d done it before, I was acutely aware of the pain.  It was unbelievably painful, just nuts (sorry if you are reading this while pregnant).  But, the moment she came out, I took her in my arms and breathlessly uttered, “I feel great.”  I really said that, and it was true.  Two hours later I was wheeling her little bassinet in to our hospital room, walking on my own two feet, feeling immensely, overwhelmingly grateful.

Birth is absolute magic and I could talk about it for hours, but instead I want to attempt writing about the time directly after; the first tender weeks of life.  With new life comes all of this light and hope.  The world is new and pure and this person, this new soul is saying hello for the very first time.  In my mind’s eye I imagine light cracking through darkness or water loosening up thick hardened clay.  For a few days, maybe weeks the world is open, letting her life come in.  I say hello to her and see my ancestors in her eyes.  Dan and I made her, she is the future, but she is also part of everything that came before. 

Having babies makes me miss my Dad a lot.  He died too young, and never got to be a grandparent.  He would have been really good at it and he would have known just how fleeting it all is and to enjoy every minute.  He would have found these children hilariously entertaining and held them in his arms in just the right way to transmit the greatest amount of love.  I look at Mirah and feel closer to him, like she knows him some how or like she’s seen him before.  I felt this with Omer too.  They get it.  There are no greater mysteries in life than birth and death.  No one can describe being born or dying, although we will all experience both. Mirah, and all babies born, bring this light and knowledge from beyond, into the world.  In the first weeks all I could do is look into her eyes, watch her gaze out the window, and soak up this sacred creature.  The shift may have come with her first smile, but now I look at her and she is Mirah.  She is rooted here with us, embodying all of the light she carried with her in birth.

Mirah and I have been growing with the season.  When we left for the hospital the grass was brown.  When we returned a few days later there were tiny buds on all of the trees and the grass had changed to a beautiful neon green.  Each day we’ve watched the world around open more and more.  In the middle of summer when it is humid and there are biting bugs and weeds all around I want to remember this time of tiny buds appearing on trees, and grass shifting before my eyes to a deeper green.  It’s almost as magical as birth.

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