Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Keep Looking Up

A few nights ago I stood outside under a dark sky shining with a million stars. I had an armload of firewood and it was very cold. I let out a long exhalation I watched my breath swirl and rise like dragon smoke up towards the Milky Way. I followed the warm air and caught a glimpse of Pleiades, my favorite constellation. I’ve watches those seven stars since my first winter on the farm. They always make me feel safe. I like how small and simple they are, but so very out of place. If the sky was the human body and the stars and planets freckles and scars stretched across us, Pleiades would be a scar left from a vaccine - tiny and always present.

This winter, especially this holiday season, has been very hard on me. I haven’t been doing much outside of working on keeping this place mine. My days are to do lists and self promotion and the work of the farm. Even with scaling back the livestock and expenses it’s been hard catching up from this summer’s medical bills and truck repairs on top of the usual expenses. I lost my health insurance and can’t afford to renew it. I’m sadder than I have ever been and while I know it has more to do with daylight and serotonin than emotion, there is plenty of heaviness to Christmas around here. It’s a lonely time. It’s a time I need to reflect and gather myself and remind myself what I am doing here and why.

I know that all sounds sad. I know I have not been updating here much. But please know how important Cold Antler is to me and remains to be. This farm is the reason I am the woman I am today. It’s the reason I grew up, hard and fast. It’s the reason I found my strength and stubbornness. It’s the reason I finally came out of the closet and started trying to find love. It’s the reason that after a decade I am still here - even if the place is scrappy and I never bought the kind of furniture you see in magazines or the kind of grown-up life I was told I was supposed to have. But this place - the work and the seasons and the animals - made me. It didn’t gently sculpt and form me, it threw me around like a small boat in a storm. But I got through. I’m starting to see daylight. And I feel that what is ahead can only be better if I can keep going and not give up.

I want a flock of sheep again. I want stronger fences and gates. I want chickens and gardens and the hum of honeybees. I want kisses on my forehead. I want river swims and summers where I smell more like horse sweat and soil than my own skin. I want hawk wings and hunting scars. I want warm nights by the fire and October bonfires. I want to remain here and learn what lessons it has for me yet. I want to keep running, and hoping, and being.

This Christmas I am sad, but I am more grateful than that. This place is dirty and imperfect, but it is mine. I made it. It made me. And as this winter roars onward I hope to make it through still holding the deed into spring, when the light is back and my body is less tired and change swirls me back into a friendly sea. And I think if those are my thoughts, that is good. If I can feel this bad and still look forward I will be okay.

May we get through and feel safe. Happiest of holidays to all of you, wherever you are. Keep looking up. Keep finding the stars that ground you. They aren't going anywhere.