Farm time, real time, no time, all the time.  Time is–what?  It flows so many ways here.  When I am at the school everything runs on a schedule; there are bells and lessons and meetings that happen when they are planned.  When I am at the farm time is more abstract.  It moves loosely; 5:00 could mean 6:30, 12:00 could be 1:00, or 6:00 could be 8:00.  Even so, everything is moving.  Fields are being prepped, planted, and watered; goats are being milked, ewes are giving birth; people are moving across the terraced land, cultivating.  Then there are days when time disappears altogether.  When I am running, climbing, or whenever I am outside and forget that darkness does not settle in at night anymore.

Last Sunday I went rock climbing and we spent the night in a cave called the lizard’s eye partway up the granite tor.  The light kept us climbing until 9:30, and as we sat cuddled in our sleeping bags, dusk slowly came and floated on into midnight.  How is it that after so many months of meditating on darkness, of moving through my own darkness, that I am now in a place of so much light?

Before I traveled to New Zealand this past fall, I talked to my mom about loss and the breakup I was experiencing.  She had known something was different for a while.  “You had begun to lose your whole-heartedness,” she told me.  There was a friction in my movements that held me back and a tiredness that dulled my smile.

I am laughing again now.  It almost came as a surprise when it returned, that deep-belly jitter that welled up and exploded out of me, but now it comes almost every day.  Here in Ester, Alaska, I have found this immense feeling of openness and space to grow in, and after all the stages of contraction, expansion, loss and gain I’ve gone through in the last year, I feel I am finally ready to meet this new space without expectations, but with the honesty and openness within myself.

In the garden, on the farm, at my house, on rock climbs and along trails through the woods, I soak happiness up and hold it in an open palm, wanting to experience it just as deeply as I experienced sadness.  In these moments I smile with my whole being.