When Life Gives You Grenades, Blow Up Conventions

On this day four years ago, I was exactly where I didn’t want to be: sitting on the floor of a cold, empty apartment in the middle of Nowhere, Missouri, hitched to a miserable, lazy bastard who had turned out to be not my type at all, no matter what he said of himself, making soap in a crockpot in half batches because my big soap pot and fully functional stove were nine hours away…at home….Because Creature had insisted on moving, told me that it was my biblical duty to do as he said, loaded my car up with all of his shit, and I was not allowed to bring anything of my own but blankets and a pillow. I tried desperately to put a happy spin on it at the time, but it was a nightmare. A bleak, lonesome, frightening nightmare that really did get so much worse before it got better.

I don’t remember why I took this picture, but I’m glad that I did. It’s a testament to how much things can change in a relatively short period of time. Today, my sunny kitchen is once again filled with my books, my dishes, my soap pots and honey pots, my sister’s beloved trestle table, and my corner hutch overtaken by a thousand nicknacks that remind me of who I am and where I’ve come from. Then, in Missouri, the floor was cold and bare, today it is warm, hay-strewn, stained with joyfully muddy paw prints, and filled with the noise and mess of a brand new flock of mixed-breed chicks, some from my own hens, some from a whirlwind shopping trip with Nancy to provide her with her own first ever egg-laying hens (I will raise them to be strong and healthy, she will get them back at Easter when they’re harder to kill by accident). My soap pot is filled with the very last pound of olive oil, bubbling away on the back of the stove, waiting to be laced with patchouli and espresso powder. And, amazingly, I am content.

Sometime this past year, I began falling asleep before midnight and getting up without an alarm between 6:30 and 7 each morning – something I’ve never done before in my entire night owl life. I relish the days when I can avoid seeing another human being and can, instead, spend the hours wrapped up in a light quilt reading my current stack of “must read” books, highlighter and notebook in hand. I live for the days that are warm enough to take my tarp and rake into the woods behind the house and drag load after load of forest litter up to my growing compost pile that is now hot enough to lie in and take a nap. I love sitting on the hillside above the little cottage, Baby pressed up beside me, watching the clouds sail above us, listening to the cows lowing at each other at the other end of the valley, or sleeping up on the roof above the porch, under the dewy stars.

Life is very different now. Very different. And not what I ever would have envisioned, but it is good.

One of the key people who got me to this place told me that the only way through the mess I was in was gratitude, and he was right. He’s still right. Not everything is settled, but it’s manageable. So much moreso than I could have imagined even a year ago when I moved to this little farm in the green valley. Painting and cleaning continue, miles of fencing still need to be erected, and I have another year of so of film school classes to take before I strike out to make a flick worthy of public critique. The world is full of possibilities, again, and the cold, empty fright is far away.
I am reminded of a lovely photo I saw once and fell in love with in my grandmother’s National Geographics: an old woman in a heavy sweater and woolens reclining in an upturned wheelbarrow, absorbed in a book. I always wanted to know what she was reading, now I just want to be like her, sitting outside in the wide expanse, filling my mind and heart with ideas.

Life blows up and fractures into a million splinters, and it can never be the same. So, you pick up the biggest pieces, leave the smallest, most hurtful shards behind, and make a new life. Like a stained glass window crafted from scraps, it will never look like it used to, and it might leave a lot undone, or questionably unexplained…but it might be just as marvelous, just as fun, just as colourful as the old life left behind. It might even be better. Even when it hurts. I’m just happy to have a stocked kitchen that’s all my own…and a new flock of chicks to prove that Spring is finally here!

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. sobercatholic
    Mar 06, 2019 @ 18:26:15

    Rake…forest litter… tarp… go to woods….haul to compost….GENIUS!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. sobercatholic
    Mar 06, 2019 @ 18:51:37

    BTW, I loved this post. Very hopeful. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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