impossibleway: (Autumn Fern)
The garden behind the little house had been growing all summer. It was so near the house that the deer did not jump the fence and eat the vegetables in the daytime, and at night Jack kept them away. Sometimes in the morning there were little hoof-prints among the carrots and the cabbages. But Jack's tracks were there, too, and the deer had jumped right out again.

Now the potatoes and carrots, the beets and turnips and cabbages were gathered and stored in the cellar, for freezing nights had come. Onions were made into long ropes, braided together by their tops, and then were hung in the attic beside wreaths of red peppers strung on threads. The pumpkins and the squashes were piled in orange and yellow and green heaps in the attic's corners. The barrels of salted fish were in the pantry, and yellow cheeses were stacked on the pantry shelves. . .

The attic was a lovely place to play. The large, round, colored pumpkins made beautiful chairs and tables. The red peppers and the onions dangled overhead. The hams and the venison hung in, their paper wrappings, and all the bunches of dried herbs, the spicy herbs for cooking and the bitter herbs for medicine, gave the place a dusty-spicy smell.

~Little House in the Big Woods :: Laura Ingalls Wilder


DSC_2558.JPGWe harvested the pumpkins last week. It was an exciting evening, for sure.  I cut them off, along with the acorn squashes, and the children loaded them into the cart.  We rolled it up to the back porch and they carried them up the stairs.  Heavy things are good for sensory integration, so they were very pleased with their strength and so happy.  I gave Roan and Willow washcloths and they set to polishing all the pumpkins and squashes.  A couple more wait on the vine, but the rest fill up one side of the play stands, Willow's store room.  Butternut squashes filter through the house, rolling here and there as Laurel totes them around.

The garden is slowing down and beginning to get drowsy these days.  Tomatoes are still coming along, and I think they will for awhile longer.  We are making the most of the heat from the bricks on the side of our house, in addition to the sun that has started to linger longer on that side.  Our house faces very nearly East-West, and we get a bit more sun on the South side in the cooler months.  Basil still needs harvesting to be made into pesto.  There's also that late lettuce I've wanted to plant.  Our grape vines are doing well and the children picked a whole bowl yesterday and made their own grape juice.  I have optimism for next year, though they badly need a trellis to grow on.

The onions have been partially picked and need to be strung, mainly for the enjoyment of the children.  The carrots are still waiting, though I may send them out to pick a few today.  I think it is important they see and do things like this.  We have no way of knowing where our lives will take us and it is the most basic skills that will carry us through many challenging days.  You might not use that calculus class, but caring for a home and garden will always serve a person.  More apple pie filling and apple sauce await me today.  And a big vat of turkey broth.  I like making vats of things.  Feels so secure and self-sufficient.  Time to stock up on more canning lids and freezer containers!
impossibleway: (Berries)
It occurred to me last night that I am running two households.  My parents are gone on a trip and Mike is away working and here I am, terribly overwhelmed.  I weed two gardens, pick from three berry patches, try to keep two houses in order (since the children like to play at the Old Davis Homeplace) and I'm doing it alone.  Oh, well.  I've got a lot of berries, if nothing else.

DSC_1666.JPG

The champagne currants did very well.
I have about three cups in the freezer.
I got a quart of red currants from my parents' bush.
I'm envisioning red currant jelly or conserve being made on a chilly day.

DSC_1672.JPG

Laurel joins in the picking efforts whenever she can.
Sometimes, she takes the whole bucket for herself.
Roan is doing his best to teach her which berries are ripe.

DSC_1685.JPG

The Tomten helped me pick black raspberries.
I've gotten about two gallons of them so far.

DSC_1687.JPG

I made black raspberry jam, which is a rare treat that needs ten cups!

DSC_1694.JPG

There has been plenty to eat, too.
Since my parents' garden has a fence,
I can keep Laurel with me and just hand her ripe ones now and then.

DSC_1695.JPG

There's a quart of blueberries for the freezer.
I've got more to pick today, once the blazing sun sinks a little.

DSC_1698.JPG
impossibleway: (Tulip Tree in the Hemlock)
Beauty is the moment of transition, as if the forms were just ready to flow into other forms.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, as excerpted from the Enki Homeschool Teaching Guides

The angel hovers tenderlyThe Enki materials say that much of life lies in the transitions and seeks to ease them in family life.  They're there, we just have to pay careful attention and honor them.  So, we sing a familiar song to cue the next activity and we allow the transitions to move deliberately.  I hum while I get the last of supper ready, we sing as we get ready for our walk, I sing a song while I pull down the shades.  This was something we did a little of before we chose Enki, finding songs from Seven Times the Sun and putting them in at the hard parts of the day, morning and evening.  I must say, things do pass more easily now and I'm certain it's not just Willow's ever-increasing age.

I've been thinking a lot about this as I've worked to ease the transition for Katherine and her family from baby-on-the-inside to baby-on-the-outside.  We often see birth as the great big end to pregnancy.  It's a big event that takes us weeks (or months!) to recover from, so it seems right to treat it as an end.  The only thing is that there is a beginning right on the other side of it.  One big change followed by a tremendous change.  So, I'm thinking it's not an end after all.  Birth must be the transition between inside and outside, heaven and earth.  It's a pause between the in-breath and the out-breath of old life and new life.

Perhaps viewing birth this way will help me to serve future moms that ask for my help.  I, too, remember being completely shocked by the first six weeks after birth.  Nothing prepared me for it.  We talked some about meals and breastfeeding, as we should have, but it just didn't sink in.  I couldn't believe how out-of-sorts I felt, how overwhelmed I was.  My mind had to work on a completely new way of thinking.  I'm turning over the idea of prompting moms to think about the birth as a true transition.  It's big and strong and heavy, but it's not the end.  It's the place where things shift onto the next thing.  There's a golden few days and then the new life together takes flight.
impossibleway: (Northbound)
Quiet TimeOh, what a week.  Whew.  I hardly know where to begin. Baby waiting Monday, a baby in the wee hours of Tuesday running very little sleep, a return to normalcy yesterday and the beginning of postpartum doula work today.  Helping new parents find their way is heavy, heavy stuff.  It's easy to sound like the together mama to one who is doing everything for the first time, but I surely remember feeling completely overwhelmed and inept.  I still feel that way sometimes, especially as I navigate childcare and schedules and my own introverted nature (with the ironic desire to serve others).

The one thing that has been constant through it all, blessedly, has been quiet time.  Having been a TV-free quiet period for three months, we've all come to depend on it as a time to recharge.  I remember the first few weeks, how deliberate it had to be in order to make it work.  I'd lay out mats, get out special quiet time things to play with and we'd put on Pippi.  There's less of that now, as we've found our places within the new rhythm.  Roan usually wants me to sit on the couch and read with him.  Willow works at some contracting activity like playing with small figures or coloring.  We listen to Sparkle Stories (as there are lots of free ones and I've bought a few) and Roan generally goes to sleep.  Laurel is nearly always sleeping.

My mind is worn now, scattered as I try to finish chores and put food on my family.  Potential future clients loom out there in periphery.  Mike has vacation time coming up next week.  I am looking forward to it.
impossibleway: (Little Pumpkin)
Walnut Baby

Feeling hopeful today, with my little girl in arms, who entered our world eight months ago.  And for our dear friend who just may be having her little one today.  This little treasure just arrived in the mail for her.  It may be a long evening ahead, but it will be a joy to share their transforming experience!
impossibleway: (Hooded Girly with Basket)
When Mike and I were first married, we both worked part-time until we found full-time jobs.  Those were lovely Summer and Autumn days.  We walked the road by my parents' house and collected hickory nuts and walnuts.  We picked all the berries and made apple butter.  And we were told that it seemed like most of our days consisted of making or eating food.  Well, I suppose they did.  And they still do.  Yes, I spend four or more hours in the kitchen each day.

I read this article on NPR and it got me to thinking.  One of the comments played the Older and Wiser Role of saying that canning, making your own this-or-that or gardening is all good fun until you have a real need to do it.  Then, it's drudgery.  The comments go back and forth, and the naysayer drops out of the game.  Modern culture tells us we have better things to do with our time than make and preserve food and care for our homes and families.  It's a strange day when cooking from scratch is considered an activity of the fringe culture.  I think it's all in your point of view--do you seek contentment in the every day or desire other things?

StorageI suppose this idea might be a common one--many middle-aged folks that we know do not use clotheslines or grow vegetables as their main source of food.  Some who had to line dry or snap beans can't stand the thought of doing it again when they don't have to.  I must admit that I will never tire of the trash and branches being taken away each week or the simplicity of buying canned green beans.  I have no desire to sit and pick beans and then snap them.  However, I think the naysayers are in more comfortable places in their lives and that is a large part of it.  My parents didn't see reasonable success until their forties and it may be that long for us.

All this is on the tail end of making a whopping nine pints of applesauce last week.  Now, we don't normally buy applesauce and the only time we eat it is at the Maple Festival.  But, to look out and see those apples high in the tree is, well, quite different than buying it on the shelf.  Sauce made from early apples has a zing to it and it's so smooth--they turn to mush with the least effort.  All it costs me is a couple hours of time and hot water and some regular mouth lids.  The flavor is much better than the stuff on the shelf and we get to learn about the deer eating the apples while we pick them.  My efforts yielded a small amount, I suppose, but it's still more food stored away that I didn't have before and didn't have to buy.

We don't need to do the things we do.  We eat well because we work at it.  Things like berries are too expensive to buy in the quantities that we enjoy.  I ration things like bacon and I've started making a month-long meal plan, instead of week-by-week.  I can say to Mike, nope, we're not having frozen pizza until the 23rd.  I did work in a few convenience meals for fun.  Since my mother didn't think in terms of convenience foods when I was young, I don't either.  Instead, it was home frozen corn, the potluck of frozen spaghetti sauce or chili, canned pears and meat bought on sale and collected until we had enough for everyone to have a steak.  Coupons have never worked for me because I don't buy what they're selling.

I see all this as a game, most of the time.  It's not drudgery when I'm in the right frame of mind.  I eye the roadsides to see what color the blackberries are this week.  I dream up ways of using dry beans that we get from WIC.  I look for recipes that use things we have on hand.  I watch the skies and ponder over whether or not it's cost-effective to switch washing cloth wipes for conventional bath tissue when little people tend to waste it.  I decide that line-dried laundry may not save a lot of money, but it burns more calories than stuffing it all in the dryer.  Hard work is plenty of exercise if you keep it up.  Sometimes, though, I tire of it and the game feels like I'm on the losing end, no matter what I do.  For now, this year, my resolve is strong.  I take momentary dips in the the depths and come back up quickly, knowing that there is always something to do to keep on this impossible way.
impossibleway: (Berries)
Early applesThings continue to change in this little neighborhood.  Someday, I should draw you a map of it and our little house so you can see just how small and intimate it really is.  But,yes, change.  I was picking apples from one neighbor's tree and spotted another at his tomato plants.  I was wondering if he'd be able to get out to his garden, as his legs have been failing him.  I chatted with him, his wife, and his caregiver and picked his raspberries for him.  He was so feeble, it hurt to watch.

It took him some time to make the short trip to the carport and three stairs to get inside.  He was so tired, he couldn't manage to get his feet up the stairs.  Through various efforts to pull and hoist him, it soon became apparent we needed Mike's help to get him inside.  Us three women couldn't do it.  I stuffed a small cooler under him, we all rested for a bit and I called Mike.  Mike lifted him up the rest of the stairs with each of us assisting in various ways and we got him into a rolling desk chair just inside the back door.  We left him with ice water and a pint of raspberries.

His trees are full of peaches and the berries and apples were practically bottling themselves into wine and vinegar on the plants.  We'll prune his tomatoes today and assure him that he can pass his torch to us for the time being, however long that is.  Things feel serious and I can only guess how frustrated he feels.  Something has come over me this year, perhaps it's the pregnancy.  Things that have previously left me feeling defeated now push me to do more.  Whatever it is, the urgency and awareness of things needing to be done and food needing to be stored away is serving us and those around us well.  I'll do my darnedest to help folks in any way I can.  Maybe a jar of yesterday's apple sauce will lighten his heart.
impossibleway: (Elsa Beskow Christmas)
Christmas Snickerdoodles I made 75 snickerdoodles in Christmas colors, one dozen stored away for a blustery December day.  Most people are thinking in stars and stripes today, but I am thinking to Christmas. I suppose I ought to have an interesting collection of cookies by the time the baby comes.  We don't buy many convenience snacks, so cookies are made a few times a month around here.  I'm planning sugar cookies around Christmas in July, must have sugar cookies.

The heavy rain has mostly blown out and we were able to do some yard work today.  I finally admitted to myself that a raised bed by a dogwood is just a little too shady and did some pruning.  I'm hoping my lettuce, basil and tomatoes will take off now.  I weeded the blueberries, since I couldn't see the berries for the grass.  Roan squealed each time he spotted a ripe berry.  The children and I picked raspberries for lunch and I made these stuffed zucchini from the one Aimee gave me last week.  They were really good, which is saying something for me and zucchini.

Baked beans, deviled eggs and a blueberry cobbler for a picnic this afternoon.  It's all super-economical, which is the way everything has to be these days.  Mike's promotion really only meant an extra forty dollars a month for us, surprisingly, and things have actually gotten tighter in the last while.  It feels depressing at times and triumphant at others, sometimes in less than an hour.  I've gotten the bulk of the month's groceries for $100 and the garden and WIC will make up the rest.  My goals are fairly simple--thrifty, homemade, healthy and reasonable variety.  I'm watching the harvests extra carefully this year.  Makes me think of a June apple tree I had my eye on. . . 
impossibleway: (Mike Panorama)
Foggy viewWe're in between rain showers here.  May, the rainy month.  When I worked in the National Forest, there was one May where a storm would start up every single Friday just as I started my campfire for the program.  Never failed.  We've got a fairy ring in the yard and a tiny bit of sun residue right now.  Maybe it will dry off enough for the children to play in their tent for a bit.  Until then, a warm bath and some links for May.

*Old School Gerry Backpack :: I rode in one of these.  I've got a photo I should scan and share with you all.
*How to Take a Walk in the Woods :: Good thoughts.  You don't need to be an expert.
*Felted Rainbow Rocks :: My dad would just love one of these wool geodes.
*This.
*The Paradox of Choice ::  A good TED talk, not that I've heard a bad one.
*Wall Mounted Clothes Drying Rack
*Funky Monkey Baked Oatmeal :: Easy and good.  Might scale back the chocolate chips, oddly.
*How to Build a Tomato Trellis :: So many ways to grow tomatoes out there.  This one looks like a nice alternative to the cages that always seem to tip over.
*DIY Candied Orange Peel :: I'm always in pursuit of the best recipe for this.  Maybe this one.  I think I'd run my through the dehydrator, too.
*Felted Wool Balls for Toddlers :: Little cat bells inside.  I do think of my children as being slightly similar to cats--they get rowdy as night falls.  Loving this blog, by the way.
*Make Your Own Cranberry Sauce :: Totally doing this.  Maybe I can find cranberries before the baby comes.  Or get Mike to stockpile some after. . .
*Internships: Low-Paid, Unpaid or Just Plain Illegal? :: I did a lot of work in college, all four summers and volunteering during the year.  Didn't amount to a hill of beans.  I was paid, though, and it was pleasurable work.
*Alaskan Sourdough Starter :: Sounds good to me.
*Ramp Pizza :: I would never eat this, but it is a good use for a local flavor.
*A New Way of Seeing Children :: Great thoughts here, good reminders:
  The deepest mystery of parenting is that we often miss the truth about children's behavior, and yet it is so simple. Children are human beings just as we are, and behave in   accordance to how they are treated, just as we do. We seldom stop to consider that this is simply an inexperienced human being with real feelings, who is doing the best he can do, given all the circumstances of his life up to that moment. For how could he do any more? And why would he do any less?
impossibleway: (Thread Rainbow)
Kefir Smoothies

Kefir grains are available at Brandy's Fiber Frolic today.  They go fast!
impossibleway: (Tulip Tree in the Hemlock)
Early Spring Nature TableStill snowing off and on here, but we are trying to keep our spirits up in hopes of an Easter Sunday in the mid-fifties.  Here's some things to look over while you wait to thaw out.

Midwinter

Jan. 30th, 2012 06:44 am
impossibleway: (Once)
The weather and I have been extremely close lately.  Things are ten to twenty degrees warmer than average this Winter and the winds have been strong, blowing rain in and out.  For once, instead of fretting about climate change, I am taking this warmth and giving it all the love I can.  I suppose that's been the same with me, too, generally sunny with a tendency to be all over the place. 

My plate fills mighty full as I think of the weeks ahead of me.  The first doula meeting and a public meeting for the Waldorf group are coming up quickly.  I have to be especially mindful during times like these, though I don't know that I've seen times like this.  Children and commitments are not something I've have a lot of these past few years.  I keep it that way on purpose.  Yesterday crumbled as I talked on the phone, but I quickly got it back together, amazing myself.  And my children were so happy to see bedtime.  Strange.

I feel like an excited mess.  Almost like finding out you're pregnant--absolutely thrilled, feeling very much far away from that birthing day, and yet, scared to death, too.  I think once I get my hands on some books in my various topics and this book, I'll feel a lot better. Much like when I read Ina May's Guide to Childbirth and stopped feeling so terribly scared of the work of labor.  Now, labor is fun, glorious work.  Let's see what happens with the rest of my new tasks.

Today will be sunny and fifty-one.  Tomorrow, sixty-four and Willow gets her stitches out.  Mike is off for two days after the longest time, so we have lots of loose ends to tie up and enjoy.  Let's see if the wind is calm today.
impossibleway: (Hooded Girly with Basket)
Not much to say around here right now--tying up lots of loose ends, finishing up some projects, enjoying Mike being off for two days, working two days and being off again.  Christmas is such a busy time for him at work that there were days he didn't even get to come have lunch.  I've started work in earnest on my doula efforts as I have a potential client. 

I feel like I'm being pulled in lots of directions lately.  I keep having the urge to go to the library and find some books about various topics, but I'm holding off--one thing at a time.  I find myself going around collecting and cleaning up lots of tiny piles of what-nots, bracing myself for a big purge in the coming weeks.  And goodness, I really want to take down the Christmas tree and put the playstands back in the living room.  Lessons in waiting.
impossibleway: (The Little House)
When I was young in the mountains, Mike and I did laundry once a week--two whole loads.  We didn't even have a washer for the first 18 months we were married.  We'd just make laundry day social time with family.  My grandmother had a super big clothesline, so I even hung the wash out at her house.  Things have changed drastically since those early, golden days and we have doubled our family size and quadrupled the amount of laundry we have.

Depending on the season and my mood, we try to air dry our laundry as much as possible.  In the Winter, we use our beloved drying racks in front of the heat vents.  Our gas furnace really dries out the air in our home, so the wet clothes help to put it back in.  I can tell a huge difference when I am out of the house for a bit while the laundry is on the racks.  It's almost steamy inside! 

In the Summer, I do a combination of line and rack drying.  I use the line when it is not too hot outside to take Willow in the sun.  I use the racks on the porch when the breeze is not too strong.  I have come to prefer the racks for drying diapers as I can move them to follow the sun throughout the day.  Willow loves to help with putting the wash on the racks and I spent much of the Winter handing her napkins and wash cloths to put on the lower rungs.  When we are outside, she hides among the sheets and towels on the line, in between collecting walking sticks and flowers from Mrs. Houck's yard.

How we fit this into our daily rhythm is to work around Roan's naps, as I imagine many of you with very small children do.  Mike or I put the clothes in the washer first thing during our morning routine.  When Roan goes to sleep again, I deal with getting the clothes hung out or into the dryer.  We do have our share of humid days where it is simply counterproductive to air dry clothes.  Also, I give myself a free pass to machine dry during periods when there is simply too much on my plate to hang up clothes.  When he takes another nap, I retrieve the clothes or try to fold them if they've been in the dryer.  I try to avoid having laundry sit around unfolded for more than 24 hours.  I have found that staying in the habit helps me to keep it up, so I push myself a little bit.

Looking through my photos, I found that I do rather like taking pictures of laundry, so here are a few from over the years.  The one above is from when I was expecting Willow and washed the prefolds for the first time.



I think this is from one of our first Winters here at the Blackberry Bungalow.  Watching TV with a bowl of chocolates while covered with a woolly blanket.  Those were the days.



Crsipy Baby Beehinds on the line.  These have since gone to live with [livejournal.com profile] stacymakescents.



Cloth wipes and doublers.  I'm taking a break from cloth wipes these days, but Willow still likes to play with them.



The view from the clothesline.  We use the one in our neighbor's yard.  Our house is the bungalow in the middle.



Sweet dresses drying and my clothespin bag.  I found this one and another at Grandad's house.  The women in my dad's family were very handy with sewing.



Getting the tiny girly clothes washed before Willow came.  It was so humid that day these took forever to dry!



Willow helping last Summer



Most of the air drying I do is diapers and I almost always air dry my collection of BumGenius diapers.  They're babied as much as my babies!



On windy days, I use clothespins on the racks and bungee them to the handrail for the stairs.  I have had my laundry blow away too many times to count.  It only took me five years to figure this out.  Sigh.



Napkins on the line.  I have since figured out that I can stack them six at a time and hang them that way.  Napkins dry super-fast no matter what.  Saves lots of clothespins.

For more rhythm posts, visit Frontier Dreams!

Northbound

Jun. 30th, 2009 09:48 pm
impossibleway: (Northbound)
It's been one year since I packed up my worldly goods from my desk at the Wythe County torture chamber and walked out to the parking lot.  To say that a lot has changed since then would be a gross understatement.  I was mystified at the injustice of it all, so uncertain about the future and anxious to meet the little person dancing in my womb.  How time has changed me.

There would be many hard days ahead, many hours of anger for a person who is not easily provoked to wrath.  It is funny, now, how little I care about some things.  Days are filled with unexpected laundry, meal planning, doling out the nunnies and trips to the berry patch.  Most interactions are with people I choose, not coworkers out to make me look immature or inadequate.  There were productive relationships left behind, but it doesn't seem to matter now.  Maybe I feel a little sad about that.  I don't know.

I have no major plans beyond nursing and potty training.  I feel, increasingly, that for the family dynamic to work, that someone must remain at home to provide a peaceful anchor to the chaos of our modern world.  Things run much more smoothly with someone available to tend to the garden and manage the resources.  There will be time again, someday, for what I want.  And I am willing to wait.

Whenever I feel a little sad or the future seems uncertain, I turn to this photo my dad took in The Summer of My Independence, when things were so bright and yet so hazy.  I had no idea where I was going then, but it didn't really matter.  I was Northbound.

impossibleway: (Mama with Willow)
Yesterday, I made it clear where my priorities lie for now.  I turned down the breastfeeding peer counselor position.  It was sad to do this, but it would be unrealistic for us to think that me working would be a wise thing right now.  I have committed to being at home for the next few years and home I will stay.  Willow is so sensitive to changes in her routine that I feel it might jeopardize my own abilities to nurse while helping others to do it.  She refuses bottles and is very erratic in nursing while we are out.  We were very blessed on the hike that she did so well.  If I could get paid to take folks on hikes all the time, now that might work. ;-)

Forward

Jul. 1st, 2008 04:46 pm
impossibleway: (Default)
July,
she will fly
And give no warning to her flight. . .
One of the excuses I was given for losing my job, apart from budget cuts, was that I was not forward thinking.  Clearly, some people are not traveling the same sort of forward as me.  Today, my forward gained new momentum.  I've embarked on a journey whose path I do not know, only having the knowledge that I can't go over, around or under.  I've got to go through.  My forward is not to bigger-and-better and more and getting.  It is to less and simpler and quality-over-quantity. 

I never believed that "not forward thinking" bit anyway.

It's hard to say what's in store, though I may end up in a part-time position back at my old workplace.  After all, on unemployment benefits, you must take any job offered to you or lose your benefits.  We'll see what the mail fairy brings over these next couple of weeks.  Suffice it to say, just when I thought pigs couldn't fly, some went flapping by the window as I packed up my worldly goods from my desk.  Sometimes I feel the insanity never stops.

But there is always home.  It is the one place where Mike and I can find peace, no matter what the outside world throws at us.  Our pace here is set by us, not by a society driven by greed and rushed by desperation.  Our vegetables do not shout vain commands and the berries grow sweetly in the grass.  Indeed, my forward is the blessing of time on my terms, infinitely many bathroom breaks, and the first cloth diapers drying on the rack.

Give me my forward any day. :-)

Not my Job

Jun. 16th, 2008 09:59 am
impossibleway: (Northbound)
I fluctuate between hard and easy days lately.  Between euphoria and anger.  Right now, I'm trying really hard not to feel angry.  It's not productive and I don't want my angry vibes to have anything to do with my baby.  For a brief time, her world is protected and life is mundane.  It is my task to be a peaceful parent during the last few months.

I had some things said to me on Thursday which were very untrue, but hurt my feelings nonetheless.  Sometimes, you hear about a person so morally depraved that others crumble around him, so unconcerned that no one stands a chance.  I have met and worked for that person.  There is not hope for a transition period, part-time work, or a severance package.  If it happens, I won't be surprised to see pigs flying when I look out the window.

It is hard to be at work these last nine and a half days.  Yes, I'm counting.  There is little work to do.  I've already contacted most of the people who will be affected by my absence.  I'm working on tutorials to coach the computer-illiterate through pieces of a highly technical job.  I've cleaned my worldly goods from my desk and now I wait.  There are a few tasks here and there, but mainly I wait.

A couple of months ago, when eliminations of the "non-essential" seemed like a bluff, our pastor gave an excellent sermon on handling pain and anger.  I am working hard to remember it today since I am really struggling and just want to tell a few people off.  It is not my Christian duty to find fault in others and make them pay.  Revenge and nasty words do nothing but place me in the same boat.  It is not my job.  My anger is fruitless and hurts only me and those around me who must deal with my bad mood.

Really, I look forward to my time being up.  I look forward to time enough to enjoy life more fully.  I've always had trouble with the American ideal of the desperate struggle for money to have big things that we drive away from all day long to struggle for more money to get more things.  I'm not the only one, but I suppose I've been given a direct mandate from God to focus on what really matters right now and in the coming years.  It will never be an employer who cares not for my happiness or my financial security.

It will always be, however, making a home where those who dwell in it long for its peace when they are away.  It will always be time carefully managed to extract life's full sweetness.  It will always be a life that is bigger than me where there is time enough to reach outward.  And even when times are meager, it will always be the first five red raspberries harvested where the lilies bloom.
impossibleway: (Northbound)
Winter seems to have taken a vacation 'round these parts.  While it might have been three degrees a couple of weeks ago, today's forecast is for seventy.  Tired piles of snow still sit in parking lots and Hungry Mother Lake was still mostly frozen when we were there on Sunday.  We've been blessed with lots of rain and with it, lots of fog.  Mud season has officially started.

We traveled out to Miller's Creek today for a bit of addressing work and it was a good thing I didn't try to go alone.  The road was solid, squishy mud in many places and it was a bit of a challenge to navigate some of the hills.  It was wonderful, really, to see everything so moist and refreshed.  We're still what you'd call "below normal" but the rain and snow have been coming frequently.  Miller's Creek looked a lot more hopeful than it did back in the heat of summer.

I've been reading a lot about Appalachia and the Blue Ridge range lately, and it's got me thinking about where we're going.  Used to be muddy roads were all we had, long ago in some time I can only dream about.  In those days we were what you'd call "isolated".  But the interstate came through and we've been changing and growing ever since.  Towns are still small, but some are growing in ways that make me nervous.  Wytheville is getting a Starbucks.

When Mike and I were thinking about where to live and before we had real jobs, we decided to live in Marion.  Wytheville, we thought, had too much going on.  Real estate is higher there, too.  We would have paid much more for our house if we'd chosen Wythe County.  Turned out well for us.  We're near my family and the hospital (should the need arise) and away from the traffic.  Well, the kind of traffic a town of 8,000 can bring. :-)

With all the hotels and proposed shopping areas in Wythe County came a Sheetz--Gas Station of the Future.  I went there today for a soda and was rather surprised.  They have a counter where you can get various hot dogs and hamburgers and coffees.  You don't talk to a person to order your food--you punch it in on a computer screen.  One look at that told me I didn't need a cappucino.  It's the middle of nowhere!  We're supposed to be known for down-home, personable service.

Makes me think of this poem.  I've posted it before, but it still rings true.  Makes me think of Blue Mountain Mama and her work against mountain top removal. . .

It's changing here.
I know it.
Everywhere you look
somebody's putting in
a new road,
a new house,
a new business,
a new something-or-another,
and I know we're growing,
we need some of that . . .
but we're changing the beauty out of things.

It's not like
you can't tear down
a mountain.
Anymore, you can
and people do,
more or less?
So what's one mountain,
more or less?
Level off the tops,
we might have something to farm.

I never thought much about progress
until now,
and I certainly never thought of myself
as against it,
but it's turning out I am against it.
And it's not because progress is bad.

It's because progress--
the way we're doing it--
is so ugly.
A mountain is beautiful.

I'm young
I know that,
and probably rash,
but I swear
I hope I die
before the only thing that's left
that takes your breath away
around here
is the smell.

From Jo Carson, collected from her life in Appalachia
impossibleway: (Winter)
Failed GPS data sent me back over the snowy hillsides and into the woods for another try.  Seven degrees at sunrise and another half inch of snow overnight means the countryside is still at its idyllic wintry best.









Brrrr!!

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