Take These Eggs

eggs

 

 

 

Kindling sets flames to lick
the firebox
a cast iron skillet
takes the heat,
holds it in its open face,
and I crack the egg.
 
Just yesterday I threw compost
out to the chickens,
and the matted roots
of harvested pea shoots,
green stems sticking up
like stubble.
 
Somehow the earth
is thawing—melting
snow sets rivers running
through the field
and the chickens peck
emerging worms in the barnyard.
 
We all have creation inside us
 
The chickens, they take worms and compost,
turn it into muscle and eggs.
Me, I take these deep golden
yolks, thick and smooth, into my mouth
I turn them into muscle and milk
to feed my babe
and he, too grows:
 
supple skin stretches
over elongating bones
teeth cut through gums
even his voice
rises and shifts—
an audible, intangible
creation.
 
He does not know yet
of spring
how thin blades of grass cut
through winter’s kill
how green spreads like a wave
from the valley up this hillside,
how the lone call of the raven
is replaced by chickadees, robins, hermit thrush, and
the reverberating howl of the snipe.
 
He knows of the barnyard,
of chickens and eggs,
of warm milk.
He knows of cool mornings,
hot stoves.
 
And what do I know of creation?
Only that I cannot explain it,
though morning sun streams
through the window,
though steam rises slowly from my tea
though even in stillness
everything moves, pushing us into
transformation

 

 

 

Writing on the Beach, the First of March

We’re on vacation. 

In the midst of garden planning and deciding when to fire up the wood stove in the seed house, we realized it was our last shot at one for the next few months.  So we left Vermont on Wednesday, and now here we are, in Cape May, New Jersey.  The bird observatory is still quiet as the spring migration is yet to commence in earnest, but the salt water, sand and sea birds are invigorating none the less. Edge’s parents have a condo here, so not only does Waylon get to see the ocean, but he gets to spend time with Gammy and Gampy, too, which means Mama and Papa get to spend time alone together.

We walked on the beach this afternoon, barefoot in the sun-warmed sand.  We drew a flower, branching and tall, in the sand, and I wrote:

I AM: LOVE, FREE, IMPERMANENT

High tide will come and wash my words away.  There is something invigorating about this.  As if it is a rebellious act, a person not focused on the eternal, but rather the momentary.  How much of what we do is for posterity–when do we instead let ourselves be washed away, wiped clean without resistance?

Writing on the beach, I left something of myself in the sand, knowing the sand will in turn release it to the water, and my sentiment will be carried away to float out wherever it may.

After, I faced the sea, the white fringed waves crashing and stretching up toward us.  “I bet the water is really cold,” I said.

“As cold as it can be.  Only one way to find out,” Edge said.

So we rolled up our pants and walked towards it, the water retreating as we approached, then surging forward again, enveloping our ankles, numbing our skin as an icy blanket.  Though I began to trot back, whispers of childhood and wonder pulled me toward the sea again, chasing the waves as they slipped back into the deep, then letting them lap once more at my feet.

Tomorrow we’ll bring Waylon to the ocean, too.  By then my words will be gone, my sentiment spread out on the waves somewhere, the sand brushed clean by the salt water.  What freedom there is in this world of wind and water: to be blown or washed away, to begin anew with each gust, each tide rising in and out.

 

To Give Up

I’m giving up.

But it’s not what you think.

You see, lately I’ve been caught between dreams and manifestations.  As we plan for our season ahead on the farm and restate our goals, I find myself riding waves of belief and sureness. I move as if we already have everything we are working towards, and this propels me as we go through seed orders and financial projections.  This has always been the way I work: to say thank you for what I want, and then to live as if it is already here until it really is.

There has been a shortage in this, though.

Some days stress moves in almost without warning.  The last few weeks have been an up and down of belief and breakdown, of feeling as if it is all possible followed by a day(s) where everything is a challenge.

Then I read something about manifesting on The Daily Love:
“When we create space in our lives, we make way for the hands of the Divine to fill it with those things our hearts have long been asking for.”

A few days later, my horoscope in Seven Days read:

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): “I believe more in the scissors than I do in the pencil.” That’s what 20th-century author Truman Capote said about his own writing process. Back in that primitive pre-computer era, he scrawled his words on paper with a pencil and later edited out the extraneous stuff by applying scissors to the manuscript. Judging from your current astrological omens, Pisces, I surmise you’re in a phase that needs the power of the scissors more than the power of the pencil. What you cut away will markedly enhance the long-term beauty and value of the creation you’re working on.

And so I’m giving up the static inside that has kept me clenched with stress.  I am clearing out, giving way for lightness to come in.  I am taking the scissors and cutting out all that does not move me: fear, anger, frustration, and I am making space for my dreams to manifest.

 

 

 

 

Running Barefoot to An Intentional Wildness

I started this blog in 2009 as I prepared to leave Vermont for a two and a half month trip to New Zealand and Tasmania.  A convergence of endings twisted together then to form a single path towards a new beginning–a venturing out into the world wide awake and open.

I named this blog Running Barefoot for the freedom it signified:

[Freedom is] running barefoot: calloused feet, hair like ribbons flying, arms pumping and legs exposed.  It is diving naked into deep water, coolness sliding across my skin, taking a deep gulp of air as I emerge up on the surface.  It is breathing in pine trees and maple leaves as they fall down and turn crunchy in autumn, or fresh mud and melting snow in spring.  It is the sound of geese returning after winter, the stillness of crystalized snow, the solitude of a cold, cloudless winter night.  Freedom is loving the world with no expectations or apologies.  It is dancing in the circle of seasons and embracing the security of constant change, which brings death and also rebirth.

This still holds true for me, but over the last 4+ years this blog has evolved as I myself have learned, grown, and walked farther down this path of intentional living.  Writing has always been a lens of personal reflection for me, and what I see when I look back through my blogs are themes of wildness, conscious living, and a move towards family and rootedness to a place.  These themes, and a confusion by some that my blog is actually about running, has led me to change the name of this blog.  

I invite you now to An Intentional Wildness: farming, family and finding the wild in every day.  

I hope you enjoy it, find some bits and pieces to take with you and inspire wildness in your soul.  Thank you for reading, for sharing, and for letting wildness roam through your days. 

“Ode to Fire, Ode to Heat”

winter walk
winter walk

My pen has been still these last few days, though my mind has not.  Words and ideas float around and play out during my commute to and from work, and when I arrive at my destination ready to write, I instead log into my computer at work or walk into a cozy yurt at night and embrace Waylon and catch up with Edge.

So this morning, while we are still in the middle of what meteorologists are calling the polar vortex, but what we simply call winter, here is a poem to warm the day:

Ode to Fire, Ode to Heat, by David Budbill

Half my wintertime life, or so it seems,
I spend standing beside our old
wood-burning stove–which stands at the center
of our house–hands behind my back,
resting on my butt, palms out, warmth
of the fire in the woodstove working its
way into my body.  Then turn around and
bake the other side.  Too hot?  Just move
a step or two away.  It’s so simple, easy.
And all you’ve got to do is work
all year, sweat and heave and groan
to make this little moment happen.
 
Now I praise primordial fire, I praise
heat in its most basic form:
this blessed warmth that comes from our old,
wood-burning Round Oak stove.
 
Now I sing the praises of a wood fire,
of the heat this smoky burning liberates,
this dry heat that keeps us warm all winter,
even when it’s 35 below.
 
 

Not Necessarily Pretty

Skunk Cabbage, by Mary Oliver

And now as the iron rinds over
the ponds start dissolving,
you come, dreaming of ferns and flowers
and new leaves unfolding,
upon the brash
turnip-hearted skunk cabbage
slinging its bunched leaves up
through the chilly mud.
You kneel beside it.  The smell
is lurid and flows out in the most
unabashed way, attracting
into itself, a continual spattering
of protein.  Appalling its rough
green caves, and the thought
of the thick root nested below, stubborn
and powerful as instinct!
But these are the woods you love,
where the secret name
of every death is life again–a miracle
wrote surely not of mere turning
but of dense and scalding reenactment.  Not
tenderness, not longing, but daring and brawn
pull down the frozen waterfall, the past.
Ferns, leaves, flowers, the last subtle
refinements, elegant and easeful, wait
to rise and flourish.
What blazes the trail is not necessarily pretty.
 

Not necessarily pretty.  What blazes the trail is not necessarily pretty.

I opened to this poem this morning, after a dream filled with skunks, and knew it was not by accident.  I’ve been revisiting this feeling of living in between, caught between knowing where I want to be and being where I want to be, unsure of how to get there, but walking nonetheless.  The other day in conversation with Edge, I said aloud, “We didn’t choose this life because it is easy,” more as a reminder to myself than to him, and he smiled and agreed.

And now this morning I open to this poem, one I have never read before though it has sat on my shelves for years, and I know there is a reason I am only discovering it now.

What blazes the trail is not necessarily pretty.  I have visions of a house, of ponds and perennial gardens, of finished buildings and hoop houses, of established gardens and lush pastures, of ease and profit in our business. 

We did not choose this life because it is easy.  For every moment spent dreaming, there are two spent planning, five spent doing, maybe one spent stressing.  I am doing my best to stop stressing.  When the pipe bringing water to the yurt freezes, when the driveway slicks over with ice, when the chickens stop laying, and the woodpile diminishes too soon, and I wish for an indoor toilet, I get to a point of breaking down or breathing in.  I prefer to breathe in.  Sometimes I forget.  But eventually I remember my own words: if I am a seed, all I have to do is know every possibility is inside me.  The life that is easy is not necessarily the one that brings me alive.

If I had an indoor toilet, how many sunrises kissing the ridge line would I miss?

What blazes the trail is not necessarily pretty, but like a pond lily beauty grows out of the muck.  Any good farmer knows that compost started out as shit, and so I move forward today, remembering the work of turning the compost pile, the work that must come before the seed, the work that nourishes and transforms the seed into the flower.

Emerging, by Katie Spring

Sunday Haiku

soles step upon ice

enter the forest and breathe

trees dance in the wind

The Stillness of Nothing

9:28 pm

It’s quiet.  Edge and Waylon sleep, while I sit in the rocking chair next to a crackling fire.  Night has become my time; everyone is sleeping, there is no work to be done, and I can stretch out my writing as long as I can stay awake.

The other day I heard an interview with songwriter and producer Pharell, and while talking about a movie studio rejecting seven of his songs before finally accepting the eighth, he said, “That stillness of nothing is when you can ask a clear question and get a clear answer back.”

After days spent at work in front of a computer, or at home with Waylon, nighttime brings me stillness.  I love my days, and the contrast of their movement allows me to appreciate and sink even deeper into the stillness.

Some nights I don’t write at all.

Sometimes it takes me days to put pen to paper.

Sometimes I cannot stop the flow of words from heart to hand to paper.

 

 

 

And then there are moments like this one here, when I sit for a long while between sentences, filled with emptiness: the rich kind of emptiness that all possibility arises from, and the space between words is wide and still.

 

 

Finally, sleep pulls me away, but not before giving thanks.  The last words in every journal entry are thank you.  Always thank you.  For what?  For nothing, for stillness, for the blessings yet to come.

 

Away, Home

Thanksgiving came, and with it a mini-vacation for us.  We packed up the car with potatoes, rutabaga, carrots, onions, garlic, squash, beets, and one large turkey, tucked Waylon into the car seat and headed south to New Jersey, driving through the night on Tuesday and arriving at Edge’s parent’s house just as early morning travelers were taking off.  My father-in-law came down the stairs as soon as we entered the kitchen, and as the house woke up I laid down and fell asleep.

The drive was worth it, bringing us away from the to-do lists and unfinished projects and into the warmth and light of a full family home.  We slept in, watched movies, played games and made art with our nieces, and cooked and baked and ate.  Waylon and Autumn, cousins only two weeks apart, met for the first time, bringing laughter as we watched many expressions pass over the two babes’ faces.  As hard as it is to leave the farm, being away brings a necessary break, a chance to be with family, to see past the to-do lists and let our minds wander out into more creative territory, rejuvenating us.

We stayed until Sunday, and with many hugs we were on our way, driving back in daylight this time.  The dogs wiggled and scratched at the door when they saw us, and I smiled at the familiar greeting.  Part of the luxury of getting away is then coming home: stepping out of the car, buzzing and overtired after a day of driving to stretch beneath the sky, wide, dark and twinkling, to breathe in the cold quiet of home on an early winter night, to crunch through the sticky layer of snow to the front door and open it once again.