Funny week. It snowed up here last Wednesday. I mean come on, really Vermont? It was April 27th. At first it was sort of charming. I mean snow on jonquils amidst all that green had a certain appeal. But then it kept coming. No way was it gonna stick, only then it started to, kind of. Pretty soon it was not so quaint. But then the next day the sun came back as it inevitably does. And of course therein lies the lesson.
This weekend it was up around 80 with clear blue skies and luscious warm breezes. We drove over to the dairy barn for fresh milk and met Jellybean, one of the new calves. His mom was very protective. I watched her nose him around her backside so we could only see his tail. I thought a lot about those early years of fierce protection and about the ones that come after….. the letting go and especially the deep breathing of recent weeks around here. We don’t get to pick what happens after they are strong enough to come out on their own. They get to pick. This is my mantra.
I always said we were giving them roots so they could grow wings. Only what if the wings take them places we cannot abide? What then? Surely not my well-loved brood I thought. Someone once said we plan and God laughs.
So I spent this sunny weekend amongst friends saying outrageous things that I maybe don’t even believe. I used a whole bunch of dirty words and people in the restaurant whispered. The next night I had a robust political discussion without rules. Turns out I needed those rules. I really should not be let out into polite society right now. I am out of sorts. Not myself. Some might say I am regressing….all that Grateful Dead might be a sign I suppose.
But I am starting to get it. I am. I looked at that little calf yesterday, sitting next to his mom in an organic field filled with dandelions. (Dandelions are what happen in a May without pesticides. Vermont is filled with a riot of their yellow heads right now and I am plenty grateful) I petted that Mama cow and admired her little guy Jellybean and realized that I have actually learned some stuff. Because what has been happening for a couple of weeks now is that I have been remembering to be happy. Seeing the people I love, petting cows, planting flowers and trending chickens feeds me. Holding hands with my husband and necking on a blanket in the yard can solve just about anything it turns out.
I have re-learned that the worst anxiety comes from thinking we can control the way the world moves. It’s a silly lot to take on. If there is a God, that is surely her work, not mine.
The battle against fear, which is of course at the root of that teensy little, itty bitty actually, hardly worth mentioning really, need of mine to control, does not ever end.
It ebbs and flows, rises and falls, and then takes new and different shapes and forms. It is tricky. I have to pay attention and remember that fear is a geography we must cross.
This is where I love to think of Winston Churchill. I am not big on war or on military analogies in general, but there are points in life when you have to put your feet on the ground, take a deep breath, look into yourself and say, I will simply not be brought down by this. I will not succumb. So instead you take lots of small steps. Every day. Failure and defeat really are like the man said, simply not options.
I wish Jellybean and his mama all the joy they can find for as long as they can find it. Because today after all is all we ever get. And today there are lilacs blooming and sweet heavy cream from the dairy in a pitcher next to the coffeepot. I have people I love and who love me back. It is enough.
It absolutely is.