Friday, March 9, 2012

birds of a lesser paradise

I spent today in this new community of mine, Washington County New York. I woke up on a farm, saw to my animals, and had Jon over for tea. We talked, about our lives and farms and books and then drove to see Merlin. Jon watched the lesson, the barn, the people, and me. He saw something in Merlin and I, a bond and some magic.

As I was walking Merlin to his pasture (at Riding Right the horses are turned out and don't return to the barn until late afternoon for dinner) I got a call from my new farrier, Jeff Myrick. He would be at my farm in a few minutes, and so I rushed home to meet him. He drove up the driveway in his silver Tacoma, his border collie Ryan in the front seat (half brother to Jon Katz's Izzy) and we met Jasper in his stall. Jeff worked on the pony's feet and Jasper stood well for him. That pony, while not as calm or trained as Merlin, has his moments. I was proud of him and happy to see his two feet trimmed and ready for a romp through the pasture. Tonight they want up to three inches of snow, but it was 40 degrees the night before the full moon and I left him out in the field to enjoy it. He spent the night running, a roan blur through outside my window. He comes when called like a flash and is calm for strangers playing with his feet. He isn't so bad, that boy. And he looks like a ghost and a story on the full moon.

After the farrier was through, I headed over to Patty's for a driving lesson. We hitched up Steele to his forecart in record time. I understand the harness now, how it all works. I know the reins better. I still make mistakes but I took our cart from the road to up a long dirt driveway of a neighboring farm. I asked Steele to trot and he did, and as we zoomed past sap lines and sugaring tanks, inch-thick pieces of leather in my hands I felt my heartbeat in my hands. I met Patty just a few week's ago and I feel so at home around her and Mark. They are just up the road from me in Greenwich, not far from Wendy and Jim. They are some of my people, and I'm grateful for them all.

I rushed home from Patty's too (but not before I got a cup of coffee) and made it home in time to change for Megan's reading at Battenkill Books down. Her new book, Birds of a Lesser Paradise, is amazing. She's amazing. I watched her present it beautifully, and I watched her husband glow with pride. Jon was in the audience, Connie was behind the counter, and all these people "My Tribe" as Megan said, was all around us. I live in this tiny town of 2,000 people in upstate New York and I'm amazed at the crowds a little indie bookstore and community theatre can pull in on a Friday Night. The Cambridge Hotel down the street handed out dollar-off drink coupons. Hubbard Hall was showing a community theatre performance of Tennessee William's Night of the Iguana. You can come to this town and listen to one of the best short story writers in America talk about her southern roots, get a discounted beer, and then go see a live play. Not bad for a county with a dairy cow to human ration of about 30 to 1.

I'm just so happy to be here, to have found this place. I'm so happy everything (and I mean everything) I am wearing tonight I bought in a feed or tack store. Grateful as all get out to spend a day living like this (on what used to be an office work day!) I'm proud of this town. Proud of Jon, Patty, Connie and Megan and I raise my glass of hard cider to the Iguana's taking curtain calls as my sheep find soft dry places to spend this snowy night. I think I'm falling in love with rural life all over again...

This is my home.
People with words and animals.
This is where I belong.

I am so glad I missed those rocks.


Blogger Becca said...

That's one thing I have yet to find, the rural life. The town I live in is mostly military so friendships are brief if they're started at all. It doesn't help that I'm horrible at making friends. Always have been. But I'm happy for you to have found such a vibrant community.

March 9, 2012 at 9:18 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

So are we! (glad you missed the rocks)

March 9, 2012 at 9:31 PM  
Blogger Kat said...

Gorgeous, Jenna. So, what made you choose dressage?

March 9, 2012 at 9:44 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

That was not luck(as you know), that was God saving you for another day. I'm so glad you missed those rocks,too. You bring much pleasure to me at the end of the day. ;>))

March 9, 2012 at 9:50 PM  
Blogger feathers217 said...

Maybe the rock was a sign to never give up on your dreams or that's the place you would be at , stuck like a rock ? I for one am very glad you are here to share your dreams with us Jenna. You inspire the dreamer in us all.It has been such a pleasure to read your blog as you learn & grow right before us everyday.This post tonight is very touching , you have a great support system around you & you give it right back without hesitation. That's exactly what community is all about ,like the good ole days.

March 10, 2012 at 12:03 AM  
Blogger TwoBlueHeelers said...

I have read a great saying: "These are the good old days." Right now, today. We've got to make them the best we can -- no one else can do it for us.
Chris and I are comparing buying a Chick-N-Hutch with building our own... and planning to get our first chickies by the end of March. Thank you, Jenna! Your inspiration continues to spread!

March 10, 2012 at 12:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so happy everything (and I mean everything) I am wearing tonight I bought in a feed or tack store.

Everything? hmmmm

March 10, 2012 at 6:52 AM  
Blogger Kirsten said...

It's so magical to have found home, isn't it? I feel the same way about where I live now in rural NH. Of all the 32 houses I've lived in in my life, this is the place my heart calls home.

Jenna, before I forget, I wanted to let you know about Wellscroft Farm and it's owner David Kennard in southern NH (a small place called Chesham). He farms sheep and runs up to 6 sheepdogs at a time. He's also a really nice guy. Thought this might be interesting to you.

March 11, 2012 at 3:05 PM  
Blogger Erin Lahey said...

Only a country girl would get it about wearing clothes from the feed store! LOL! (I get it.)

- Erin

March 13, 2012 at 9:43 AM  

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