Wednesday, May 16, 2012

before a storm

I sat outside under the big, leafy, maple tree as the wind picked up and the sky went from gray to angry. I had shoved off of work an hour early, after explaining plainly to my boss that I was not going to milk a dairy goat in a thunderstorm. My timing was impeccable. I had just finished the milk chores, grained the pony and sheep, checked the fences, fed the rabbits, and chickens for the evening when the first rumbles whispered in from the west. Inside the house dinner was already in the oven. I could smell it if I got too close to the kitchen windows while filling up buckets at the rain barrel. I made me salivate like a dog. It's one of this winter's meat birds now crisping in the keep, bathed in olive oil and spices. That bird and a pot of wild rice, gravy, and a spring salad from the garden would be my evening meal. It's consort, a hard cider. I look forward to this the way a person who has walked a great distance and can finally see her campsite looks forward to a fire and rest.

So I sit outside under the big sugar maple and feel the wind. I'm wearing a canvas kilt, one of those snazzy tank tops with the bra built in, and a wool hat my mother gave me for Christmas two years ago. It's a big brimmed, floppy, brown wool hat. Not a cowboy hat, but something like a lady's sun hat if it was left to sheep to build. I used to dislike it and now I love it. I only disliked it because I was a chump who cared more about what people thought of the hat than its direct purpose. I now know this is happiness (and comfort's) suicide. It is the perfect shield from rain, snow, and sun. I put it on and let it plop about like a character from before. Like one of those people who garden in black and white photos from Appalachia. It is shapeless and thrifty. I feel timeless.

The thunder starts to speed up and rain hits the brim. I take off my rubber chore boots and let my bare feet feel new grass just kissed by rain. The coolness of it is a blessing. The comfort in knowing every animal in my keep has been made comfortable and full in the belly before I would retire to a house of fiddles and roasting bird makes me feel so wealthy I want to write checks to strangers. All I did was cut out of work early, feed livestock, and sit in the grass unshod but these things change seretonin levels in my body. A perfect combination of respite and toil, hope and force, and the knowledge that I too will tuck in with smacking lips and cool cider, it over takes me. The rain is starting to fall but I don't want to go inside. I want to just sit out here and hope, and pray, and thank everyone and everything that got me to this small piece of land on a mountainside. It has become my whole world.

For better or for worse, it is.

the photo is tim's


Blogger Unknown said...

You certainly are rich Jenna in a way that is so important. I really enjoyed reading about the sensations you were feeling and wanting the same for myself. Thanks for sharing.
Odie in NC

May 16, 2012 at 6:50 PM  
Blogger jenomnibus said...

The comfort in knowing every animal in my keep has been made comfortable and full in the belly before I would retire to a house of fiddles and roasting bird makes me feel so wealthy I want to write checks to strangers.

Love this! We should all be so lucky as to feel this wealthy in our daily lives.

May 16, 2012 at 6:53 PM  
Anonymous Sara Martin said...

Hi Jenna, I just wanted to say "Hi" all the way from New Zealand. I read your blog every day whilst looking out onto another building! I love to lose myself in your world for just a little while and I look forward to seeing what you have been up to on your gorgeous wee farm. I love your style of writing too. Congratulations on a job well done with Merlin, you guys looked great. All the best Sara

May 16, 2012 at 6:59 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks again, Jenna, for sharing your day! I love reading about the things that make you so happy. It reminds me to focus on those things in my life too!

May 16, 2012 at 8:23 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Beautiful writing Jenna... I swear I was right there with ya when I read this. When you write like this it's like wrapping your readers in a blanket of ColdAntlerFarm, I love it! How did the chicken turn out- as good as it sounded?

May 16, 2012 at 8:25 PM  
Blogger Rane said...

lol... ill be waiting for that check....just joking. I know the color of jealousy. You do not know what a lucky gal you really are Jenna. I would my eye strike that I would give all my teeth for what you got right now.. this moment. I am so happy for you hun really.

May 16, 2012 at 8:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's important to give thanks and feel grateful, but you deserve a heaping portion of pride too. There is a whole lot of work between having a dream and making it happen!

May 16, 2012 at 8:36 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

It's little pieces like these that set me right again after a trying day.

You are a wonderful writer.

May 16, 2012 at 8:48 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

For better tested n true

May 16, 2012 at 8:50 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth from the Berkshires said...

Oh, how marvelous...

May 16, 2012 at 9:34 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

All I could wish for you is someone to serve that delicious meal to. (I recently made the best chicken of my life, but my wife the chef was working, and I was so bummed I couldn't share it with her.)

We just got a shower here that came up while we were out chatting with the neighbors. That cool water on my shoulders felt so damn concentrated fresh air soaking into my skin. :)

May 16, 2012 at 9:45 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

I love this.

As hard as it is to leave the 20 critters in my care for a much needed vacation, I will be spending the weekend in the Smokies. I'll be thinking about you at the Crosby folk festival on Saturday, listening to dulcimer and fiddle and watching the fiber artists.

May 16, 2012 at 9:57 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

Thank you, Jenna. I had just read the 2nd sentence and had to jump up and run outside to the milk room to get the 2 buckets of milk that had been in there since 7 tonight. I forgot about them again! But your post reminded me. So thanks.

You have such a wonderful way with words. Really paints a beautiful picture. We just had a few days of the best rain ever here. And we sure did need it. I was watering a huge garden up til then. It was one of those good soaking rains that just went on and on. I actually had cabin fever. Itching to get outside and work in the yard.

I know you enjoyed your dinner. And I am so glad you got off that one hour early. Made a big difference, didn't it? I'm sure Bonita would agree.

May 16, 2012 at 10:26 PM  
Blogger PansWife said...

Okay, I want to see that hat.
(Love being outside with a good storm rolling in.)

May 16, 2012 at 10:56 PM  
Blogger julronimo said...

It certainly is. I am envious.

May 16, 2012 at 11:41 PM  
Blogger horse newbie said...

Hi I was wondering where you got your Kilts from


May 17, 2012 at 12:06 AM  
Blogger Joleen said...

Abundant blessings. Simple joy.

May 17, 2012 at 12:11 AM  
Blogger admin said...

As Pink Floyd says… “Home, home again, I like to be here when I can. When I come home cold and tired, it’s good to warm my bones beside the fire.” Simple things like an evening at home sure make life worth living. Enjoy the storm tonight.

May 17, 2012 at 1:34 AM  
Blogger Bovey Belle said...

The true meaning of life is KNOWING when you are happy and enjoying it . . .

May 17, 2012 at 1:37 AM  
Blogger PattyW said...

Wonderful- read aloud to mark with tears. You move us so with how you capture these moments. I want to read it all again - another book perhaps?!

May 17, 2012 at 6:51 AM  
Blogger phaedra96 said...

Contentment is a state of mind...being happy with what you have acheived....

May 18, 2012 at 8:46 AM  
Blogger phaedra96 said...

Oh, yeah. We NEED rain...never had to water in May...ever!!

May 18, 2012 at 8:47 AM  

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