Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Cave Fires

For three days the truck wouldn't start. Today the weather was dry enough to get it charged and hope for the best. A friend came to pick me up for errands in town so we left a trickle charger on the battery and a prayer on the hood. Later in the day she did start and ran, but promptly turned off as if the engine was a light switch. It's frustrating and a little scary. But the starting up was progress and I'll take the tiredest hope. The truck is my only vehicle. I want her to be okay.

The Ford's antics were nothing new. It's been acting like this (not starting in damp weather) for years and several attempts at repairing this issue have failed. I took the concern for the truck and slipped it into the back pocket of my well-worn, flannel-lined carhartts. They are  too big for me now but I wear red suspenders and keep them going. That's the motto this winter and every winter before it - keep going.

It's the home stretch into the Holidays. I make myself stop thinking about the truck. The last thing my heart needs is another thing to raise its pulse. I dread the days leading up to the 25th. It's hard to sleep. Hard to focus. Hard to do anything.

As the day started to sink so did my mood. I grabbed Aya from the mews and brought her inside for weighing/feeding. Then I did the normal evening rounds of firewood hauling and livestock feeding. I'm grateful for the work this place demands. My farm fights sadness and anxiety with decision, horns, and talons. If I give into the fear too much, if I decide giving into sadness is more important than stove wood and carrying hay - pipes freeze and animals die. There's no wallowing. Wallowing is for smarter people who have thermostats, landlords, spouses and a pair of cats. A life that could care less if they napped four hours straight. Here the work is constant, demanding, cold, and honest. Around Christmas I'd hate it if I didn't need it.

I went and got Mabel's blue blanket. The temperatures would drop to the single digits tonight, even though the day was bright and sunny. Walking into the pasture with the folds of fabric and flashes of reflective bands caused the sheep to scuttle and the mare to pin back her ears. She stands for the b;blanketing but I'm always cautious.  One side step, kick, or fall and I could hurt myself enough to lose the farm. I don't have health insurance yet but I did sign up for the ACA this past week. Soon as I can set aside the first premium I can start being covered. That's a goal of 2018. 

Most of the year I feel nothing but a fighting spirit and joy for this life and farm, but right now I feel like a kicked dog. The reasons are private but the result is a heavy loneliness. Not the kind of loneliness remedied by a night with friends or even the kind the excitement a first date can squash. No, it's something older and bigger; a cave fire that's gone out so the monsters can walk in.

Be kinder to people this week. You have no idea what the Holidays do to them. It might be really hard for them to be sitting at their desks, or shopping for groceries, or pretending your favorite holiday movie makes them laugh, too. There's nothing for it, but there is a gentler way we could all treat each other this week. Allow more patience to those you suspect have it harder right now (we need that social berth more than a hug or second helping of spiked nog). Don't take distance personally. Let us Irish Goodbye at your party or dinner. Allow us to use an excuse to go home to our dogs. We'll restart the truck engines and cave fires in good time, but right now just be kind.