I’ve had several in-person interactions with people lately that have really, really sucked. One of them involved one of my oldest friends, and we have parted ways. It was a long time coming – he never respected me, not since our days together in high school. For so many years he constantly criticized me – and I, always eager to please the unappeasable, held on. In these divisive times, it happened at last. But goodbye never doesn’t hurt, even when you have outgrown a friendship or moved on in other ways.
There have been other great interactions with people, but you know how it is. The bad ones always stand out and stick somehow.
Afterwards, I feel like a gopher tortoise – hiding in my burrow under my shell unless it’s very bright and pretty out. My heart is called towards hermiting and solitude. I feel guarded around people now. I feel like I’ve lost my way to speak to them, like I have sunk through to a different world, and we no longer speak the same language or are the same kind. They can’t be trusted, not even if you have known them a very long time, and your lives and stories have been tangled up together like family.
It’s so rewarding to turn my heart to the earth. She is so kind and so generous. I feel so cherished and grateful among the tangled vines of the garden, and walking in the pastures among the animals that belong to me, and I belong to them.
The harvests these days are so joyfully colorful – all golden and orange and blue and green and purple. They delight my eyes and feed us well. I am enjoying the work of threshing by hand. My daughters and I, sitting together on a dry spot on the deck, talking together, as I show them how to rub the grains off by hand, and run it through several sieves, sifting out the chaff. At the very end, they help me winnow with three bowls and a fan, sometimes fanning the fan for me while I carefully pour the precious grain, just so, so that the grains land in the bowl and the chaff blows out over the edge of the deck.
Forgotten work. I think of the Corn Mother, and Sif and their beautiful hair, so long and golden, and the milk the grains bear before they are ripe and ready for harvest, and this work that so many women have done before us.
This summer has been a perfect place to get lost in, hiding among the toadstools and tall grass, the time dancing in and out of rings of singing cicadas and the hot, bright days stretching out as long and sweet as taffy. If you know how to find me, that’s where I am.