love is hell pt 1
I see those rocks every once in a while. Try as I might - I can't shake them. In a way they've become a saving grace. When things get heavy for me—I see those stones and realize just being able to recall their memory is a goddamn blessing. We all know well - dead people don't remember. Anxiety is a luxury for those lucky enough to still be among the living.
I'm telling you this to explain what's going on with me. This month marks a year in Vermont, and while it had a rough and fairly anti-social start—I am now falling in love with this place. I'm making friends, finding my niche, making music and getting invitedinto living rooms. Sandgate is becoming home. I just attended my first town meeting Monday night and sat there like a proud parent watching her kids at a recital. I don't really recall the particulars but the whole messy night of politics was laced with a whimsical feeling of happy placement.
Here I am.
I'm writing this from a quilt in front of my fireplace, which is spitting and hissing as I type. Annie is here with me, Jazz is in the bedroom. I was just outside doing the nightly farm work in the dark and something happened that made me think of that waterfall again. I was listening to my ipod and carrying out feed to the animals. I had a 50-pound bag of layer mash over my left shoulder and an armload of hay under my right arm. It was about 15 degrees outside but my body is hardened up to cold now, and all I had on was my blue hoodie and a scarf. My head was wrapped up in a simple hat I knit this past fall. The sky was clear, the stars out, and I was walking towards the coop and sheep shed. Then as if on some celestial cue, the instrumental section of Ryan Adam's song Shadowlands off the album Love is Hell Pt. 1 keyed up.
The song is beautiful, and it stopped me mid-stride. I was standing there in the dark alone with this music. My tired body weighed down by hay and grain, and I was nearly moved to tears. I had to just stand there and breathe and take in the stars, and the snow, and sounds of cooing hens and shuffling sheep voices. I should've died in Tennessee. was all that came into my mind. So there I stood with Ryan Adams and my bag of chicken feed and if the president needed me to move, I could not. Sometimes the world just turns around three times and lays down at your feet. I'm falling in love with a world I don't get to keep. none of us do. Love is hell, pt 1.
I don't know how I got here. I can't draw a line in my memory from Kutztown to Knoxville to Sandpoint to Sandgate and have it make sense to me in any logical way. All I know is that somehow I made this farm out of naked willpower and anxiety and a paycheck-to-paycheck budget. When I moved in a year ago it was an empty cabin covered in ice and now there are outbuildings and fences, gardens and rabbit hutches, coops and a dogsled parked on the front porch. Right now as I am wrtiing to you there are hooves resting on straw, eggs incubating under breasts, and seedlings growing in the windowsill. The transition floors me. A year ago I was 2,000 miles away....this place got a second chance a life to.
That horrible leap changed the timing of my life mid-song. It stopped me just like Ryan did tonight in the Vermont woods. It's why I read Neruda's love poems on lunch breaks. It's why I get excited about things like snap peas and chickens. It's why I started this farm life. Folks, I'm simply excited to be here. Farming seems to be the closest you and I can get to directly participating in our short lives. I want to grow, raise, and know the things that keep my heart beating. This makes sense to me.
I think someday I'll go home to Tennessee. It's a place that haunts me, that wrote it's name across my lungs. I think about that state like people think about first loves. It isn't right for me to go back now, I know that. It seems like it should have me. After all, everything you know about me, this whole farm, this whole struggle to become a shepherd is on borrowed time from a temperamental waterfall in a southern state. I owe it.
On another note, I started a proposal to write a second book. Wish me luck. So far luck's all I've got.