Graduation was lovely. It started at good with the diploma and then just kept getting better with friends and family and jolly toasts and warm funny stories. The weather was sunny and cool and as we stood amid lambs and kids, under a canopy of old maple trees I thought how different we are as a family than when Benjamin first began his college journey. Then we had just moved to Vermont and had no idea who our friends would be, or that we would buy America’s oldest country store and run town Easter Egg Hunts for hundreds. I didn’t know that I would start and sell a couple more companies or expand this development business that would fulfill me in new and deep and unexpected ways. We didn’t know that we would be raising chickens much less lambs. I had never imagined herbs in the windowsill nevermind a whole way of eating and feeding ourselves with juicy tomatoes grown under the sun next to dandelions and ancient maples. Home schooling wasn’t even an idea back then. Before a year had passed it was a passion that transformed our lives for a while. Our kids had barely given up malls and we hadn’t yet found badminton, the river over on Peace Street, the waterfall or movies on the side of the house. Living in the country was still about the views and not so much yet about the life.
Along the way we have said goodbye to Sophie the eighteen-year-old Tabby cat who shared our lives from that first sweet little house in Edwardsville to the grand old Victorian along the city streets of St Louis to this old restored farmhouse in the mountains of Vermont. We have said hello to new friends whose own lives and rhythms now help us define ours. We didn’t know Karen and Jack or Ellen and Roger when Benjamin began college. Now we have been to Italy with two of them and shared a business venture with the others. We have all experienced great pain and joy together and I can no longer imagine our lives without them in it. We said goodbye to our dear Eloise who helped us write this whole story. She was a guide for almost every part of it that is real and that lasts.
And much of it has all been written and told here on the pages of this blog. Sometimes I almost feel like a thing hasn’t happened if I don’t write about it here. It has been interactive too. I have relished the relationships and the kindness and support of folks who email and comment and make me think about my life in new and welcome ways.
The time has come now for me to take a break from this space. I have long wanted to pull together a book about this move and our decisions to live closer to the natural world. I have tracked the seasons and felt the power of the wind, the weight of the snow, and the sheer unadulterated joy when the leaves come back. We have lived our lives in ways that have brought us new pleasures and great satisfaction. I seldom know very far in advance what the next new passion will be and only recently have I known about a sadness long enough in advance to adjust and accommodate it into the mix. I think one of the great reasons to be alive is not knowing what might be just around the next corner. Italy might be in the future or so might a city spin. Our kids are talking a little bit about a California life. Maybe it will be time to give someone else the reins and follow their dreams to the beach or along side a west coast mountain. We don’t know what’s coming, but I want to take some real time this summer to write about what has already happened. I am grieving Eloise and want to do this book in her honor. Her life was short, but as meaningful to me as any other has ever been. In ten years we packed a whole lifetime and a bunch of adventure besides. From her I learned about patience and a calm steadiness born of practice and love. I want to take those gifts and put down our story in one long narrative. And for that I need space from these essays and from the urge to mark the quotidian experiences. I have experienced enough of Vermont to know what is coming and how to plan for winter. I know about ordering the hay in May so as to have plenty in January. Same for the wood and a stockpile of cash for the oil. I know to get ready in the sunshine and how to keep warm in the deepest winter. I think this is a story I can tell.
Thank you for coming by and for sharing your stories and your kindnesses with me. I may pop back in from time to time, but for now at least I want to give myself time and space to remember. I want to write about about this slow sweet country life and the transformation we found in this high sweet valley under these old mountains where the stories have a gentle rhythm and the music is as familiar as warm pie……