Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I Don't Read This Blog
By Raven Pray Bishop

I've returned safely home from my visit with Jenna. In the time I was at CAF I milked a goat, shot a bow and arrow, made soap, swam in the Battenkill and fell in love with baby lamb Monday. These are memories I will keep forever of one of the rare, few and far between times I get to see my friend of ten years in person. I so appreciate her hospitality—and delicious homemade bread—over these past few days. With my new arrival on his or her way, who knows when we'll have this chance again?

At Antlerstock we farm-goers were sitting around the campfire and someone asked how I met Jenna. I think the story is very telling about our girl, so....once upon a time...

One day, all around our college dorm were fliers advertising Yoga Club. I'd been dabbling in yoga through high school and was excited to meet others who were interested, so I planned to be there at the place and time specified on the word-and-clip-art flier. Several days later, the fliers disappeared—vanished as though they never existed. Soon, however, new fliers took their place, this time for Knitting Club. Curiouser and curiouser, they had the same format and were scheduled for the exact same time and place as Yoga Club. So I changed my plans and arrived at that third floor dorm room, needles and yarn in hand. When I arrived, I found the room littered with cast-aside knitting paraphernalia and everybody was doing yoga. The girl leading the group (I think you know who this was) explained that she was told that she could not start yoga club because she was not a certified yoga teacher, so “Knitting Club” began in its stead.

It's this same “I'll find a way” attitude and perseverance that has led Jenna to follow her dream here to CAF. The knitting-yoga girl has grown into a woman whose vocabulary does not include the words “I can't” and this is why I believe people read this blog—to be inspired by her abominable spirit and to watch the amazing things that can happen with we give ourselves over to the “Of course I can” way of life.

But I don't read this blog.

When I tell people this, they can't believe it. But I don't read it because I get it “unplugged”. Since Tennessee (before Idaho), I've been one of Jenna's first-responders to the trials and tribulations of chasing and building this dream. I've been there for the elated, breathless phone calls when things went right and the late-night, tear streaked phone calls when they didn't. In her books and in her blog she writes with such a steadfast and humorous aplomb that it's easy to forget that this grounded perspective comes with a price paid in blood, sweat, tears and stress. Case in point—the instances of the dogs eating the chicks and the caged queen bee in Made From Scratch, when they happened live and unplugged, were downright traumatic. And when you know someone like I know Jenna, and you listen to a voicemail laced with tears and panic, you are reminded of that price she's paying each day to live this dream of hers.

I do have to say that these pained phone calls happen less and less these days. Lately, when I get the farm updates during our weekly phone calls, most mishaps, scares and tragedies are reported with the humor and perspective that happen when one comes into their craft and starts to get a rhythm. She's come a long way since the “ Raven, do you think it's crazy for me to write a book?” conversation. I think our girl's growing up, and I couldn't be more proud.

We have found ourselves living the lives that we giggled and whispered about over late night tea and candles in our dorm rooms. Both of our resumes tout achievements that are rare for women our age. Getting here, for both of us, is a story best told not through resumes, books and blogs, but through text messages, voicemail and three-hour phone calls. We've grown up and we've grown in separate directions, but through the years we've grown to trust we're always here at the end of the phone line to bear witness to each other's trials and joys. To give perspective—everybody needs that person who's going to say “cut the crap” as much as she says “way to go”.

Now we are entering the time in our lives where it's not about resumes and achievements anymore. We're playing for keeps here—she's full time on the farm now and I'm changing my name to Mommy—both labors of love that we've been pining for since we can remember; both requiring strength, perspective, dedication and spirit. It's a beautiful but scary threshold we are standing at now, and I'm thankful to know that we have each other—to know that I have a friend that is a voice of reason, an inspiration and a cheerleader.

It's sometimes easy for us to read a book or a blog and lose sight of the real person tapping away on the keyboard at the end of a day of real-life stuff. But aren't we lucky that there's someone who will share this life with us, inspiring us through that same yoga-knitter “I'll find a way” attitude that those old word-and-clip-art fliers foretold? I think we are.

But I'm still not going to read the blog, Jenna. I'll keep getting my CAF news unplugged.


Blogger bookkm said...

Lucky! It must be fun to have a close friend like Jenna - and like YOU!. Thanks, Raven

July 18, 2012 at 9:37 PM  
Blogger City Girl said...

Thanks for the back story, Raven!

July 18, 2012 at 10:18 PM  
Blogger jenomnibus said...

I love hearing other peoples perspectives, especially Jenna's closest friend. Y'all are so lucky to have each other.

July 18, 2012 at 11:53 PM  
Blogger Goat Song said...

This is so beautifully told... I have tears in my eyes.

Good work Raven, and Good Work Jenna!

July 19, 2012 at 12:44 AM  
Anonymous cow girl said...

HA! Raven what a great post!

I'm up at midnight here, glass of Cabernet under my belt, and checking in one more time today on the best blog I have found in a very long time.

You sound like a keeper too!!

My farm triumph today was my orphan calf is still alive. I've been cajoling, tubing, shoving sweet feed in his mouth, and alternately dissing/praying to the bovine gods about this one. It's been FOUR WEEKS and things are still not exactly kosher, but he's doing OK.... I have a herd of about 100 cows and don't let anyone tell you they don't all count!

Back to Jenna,...what a wonderful diversion for myself. I'm alone on the farm all day and have been scurrying to the 'puter for CAF infusion thrice daily. Some day Iowa and CAF might merge, at least in spirit...

All right, off to the porch to check the stars (no rain again), then slumber.

July 19, 2012 at 1:03 AM  
Blogger Kris said...

What a great freind you have, Jenna. I love this story of how y'all met. These are the best friendships. Great post, Raven.

July 19, 2012 at 9:20 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Great post, loved the yoga/knitting story! Id say "thanks Raven", but then again, she won't be reading this ;)

July 19, 2012 at 11:15 AM  
Blogger jules said...

What a wonderful post. Thank you Raven, for new insight into our Jenna, and all her trials and tribulations, victories and oh yeah's!

July 19, 2012 at 1:12 PM  
Blogger polly said...

(heap big sigh) one of the best love letters I've ever ever read.

July 19, 2012 at 4:22 PM  
Blogger Tara said...

Nice to hear from you, Raven, and congratulations on your new full time job!

July 19, 2012 at 5:05 PM  
Blogger kaelak said...

Yay Raven! Awesomesauce....

July 20, 2012 at 12:41 AM  

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