The holidays are now stored in our memory bank, and the New Year has brought about ice and snow and cold temperatures. The sun drops by for a visit on occasion, but most days we are covered from above by a blanket of grey skies, the kind that remind me I should be hibernating like the mother bear with her cubs-- moving into the silence, that is, rather than making an attempt to bumble awkwardly about through the days as we humans do at this time of year. The Farm supplies me with large doses solitude, necessary to keep me as centered as this time of year allows, for here I can watch the squirrels and birds, measure the growth of the amaryllises daily in anticipation of their awakening, and knit. Simple pleasures. Peaceful pleasures.
Samuel's returned to DC and seems to be in a more grounded space after his initial semester in graduate school. I'll hand it to that guy...mugged twice, ill four times, full-time employment, and graduate school full-time last semester damn near did him in. Two workshop classes (one in poetry, the other in fiction) will allow him writing time this term - time which he craves and time that provides him a chance to learn more about his art and about himself as the artist.
Eliza's completed her applications to Miami of Ohio and the University of Cincinnati. If she can gracefully balance school, winter guard, and her social life, the remaining few months of her senior year should be rewarding and memorable. As her mom, I'm ready for her to move beyond the small rural high school environment and drama that defines her life at the moment, yet I realize how important this time is for her. I wait patiently and eagerly to watch this amazing, beautiful young woman come into herself and realize just what all she can become. I anticipate the transformation to be as beautiful as watching an orchid open and blossom.
The artist in Joe screams for attention. Potter Joe has spent the last six months revamping the ceramics studio at Marietta College. Hopefully he's approaching a place where he can dedicate a sizeable portion of his time to his art. The guy possesses such skill and vision; one of these days, his creations are going to occupy a hefty portion on the shelf of distinguished potters in this country. I know that in my heart...I hope the time arrives soon.
Annie, the sole farm dog, enjoys an easy life here... The benefits of being an only dog suit her well...two treats a day, organic dog food, lots of loving, and no competition for the doggie beds. Her regimen of ibuprophen relieves her arthritis, and as I'm writing this, I can hear her outside, barking at the cows as they lumber across the upper field. Gone are the days when she attempts to herd them, but man oh man, she doesn't let them go by without reminding them she's still around.
In other Farm news:
1) Chintu accepted an offer from The Cleveland Clinic to begin a post-doc in June. That means he and Tom will once again move, this time three hours away. The Farm celebrates for him in a big way!! What an honor!!
2) Lori, recently described as "fancy" by a man on Maui, returned to the island after holiday break. She seems ready to head state-side, and we'd all love to have her closer.
3) Brett and Betsy will return from teaching for two years in Bulgaria this summer. Oscar and Felix will move back with them, and barring strays, The Farm cat count will then decrease to five....No more cats...Five's enough...I pronounce that now. Hee, hee...
4) Dana, James, and Wendy will be home again in the summer. Grandma T. is already ready for another dose of sweet Wendy!
5) Isabella has joined a children's circus group at her school. Bobbi's opened a new, flourishing, prospering yoga studio in Philadelphia.
6) I'm pondering the "what if's"....What would I do if my job situation were to take a different course? How do I want to define the next portion of my life? What can I create for myself that is gratifying, fun, and meaningful? I'm making mental lists....more to come.
It's Martin Luther King Day --a day in which I reflect upon non-violence, upon those, like Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet Gonzalez, who receive power and strength from Dr. King's example. I can't escape thoughts and images of the devastation in Haiti. It seems like the world's pretty messed up, torn up, and in shambles at times. I look outside and breathe in the peace of this winter day and realize the best I can do is try to project it forward in my own way......If I could, I'd bring all humans and critters who suffer to The Farm for a dose of love and some moments of laughter....Not possible, but a soothing thought....