This crisp November morning, the Saturday before Thanksgiving, has dawned with flawless blue skies, bright sun, and the quietness and solitude that brings me total peace here at The Farm. As the huge buck I've protected over the past few years regally sauntered across the front field just a moment ago, a flock of geese flew overhead, and the crows were chattering out the driveway. It's so good to be at home today....I don't plan to leave...Joe's at the office, and Eliza's got plans, so Annie, the cats, and I will hold down the fort...I might just do a little yoga.
The Farm family's been on a whirlwind of a trip this fall - great, great joys contrasted by huge sorrows... I really don't know where to begin, so I'll just make one of my lists....
1. Eliza's senior year has been memory-packed...Band activities, trips, fundraisers, and responsibilities define her days, and months of hard work culminated last week in a trip to Grand Nationals, where she shone radiantly and beautifully across the big screen in the Lucas Oil Stadium with the Warren High School Marching Warriors. Petie (91), Tita, and I were there to watch her perform, and as the band walked on the field, I was so consummed with pride that my smile covered my entire face. Petie and Tita cried with joy...I finally had to tell stop or they were going to miss the show! Later, we were able to catch up with E. and her friends at a mall in downtown Indy, and Mom got to meet some of the kids she hears me talk about all the time.
2. The weekend before Grand Nationals, Tom and I drove down to Boone to pick up Petie. I brought her home on Eliza's 18th birthday, so fitting since she and Papa were here 18 years ago for three weeks after Eliza's birth...Mom visited for three days before we road-tripped to Indianapolis. It's the first time she's been here since Samuel graduated from high school, and I am still in awe of my mom's get-up-and-go at her age. She visited my classes and met many of my colleagues, as well as had some time at The Farm with Joe and me. My heart hasn't been that happy in a long time...My mom came to visit me (!!!), and we spent some wonderful time together talking. I learned a great deal about her childhood that I'd never heard before; much of what I learned allows me to understand the dynamics of her family better than I've ever known until now. I love her so....
3. Samuel's had a heck of a semester at American University...His profs have referred to his work and insights as amazing and to him as the "relentlessly hip underbelly of the 2009 MFA inductees." I'll hand it to him - he's worked full time in retail in downtown DC while carrying 12 hours of graduate work, three courses of which have been in literature. Additionally, he's had two rounds of flu, two other infections, and has been held up at gunpoint. Quite an initiation into the city....Can't wait to get him home over the holidays and let him relax.
4. It's been a difficult time at work. Just too crazy to even begin to describe.
5. It's been a fall of passages, as we've said goodbye to our beloved Molly, who taught us all a great deal in her last days, and to sweet, loveable Rufus, the bassett hound puppy Joe loved like his own child. We could experience and accompany Molly toward her passage, but Rufus's unexpected death has been a huge emotional challenge. There's an immense sense of their absence here that's still raw and sad, but we're moving along. As always, the farm mantra applies: slow and steady will win the race as we patiently move from being overwhelmed with saddness to greater moments of joy. It's incredibly lonely at moments without Rufus's constant energy and Molly's sweet smile. The two of them were great friends...A great consolation for me, however, is to imagine them together with my dad in the spirit world...Papa feeding them both under the table...Rufus brought my dad back to me more than anything since Papa died, and as I played with Rufus, Daddy was right there with me, chuckling all the while.
Other farm happenings:
a. Eliza and I checked out the University of Cincinnati. It's a toss-up for her, I believe, between Cincinnati and Miami of Ohio for study next year.
b. I'm in the market for a new car since Eliza had a bump-up in the Subaru (on the morning we were all to leave for Grand Nationals).
c. Joe and I have a good pile of wood ready to burn in our newly chimney-swept stove.
d. As we prepare for Thanksgiving, I'm looking forward to time in NC at my grandmom's house in the mountains with my dad's family and my friend, Laida, who's coming up from Miami.
There's probably more I'll add to this post as I do some more thinking, but for now, that's all folks....I'm grateful for this beautiful day and my many, many blessings.....