Everything Green

Everything Green

Everyone’s at the pond. Dad’s dumping load after load of mulch on the path from the new privy to the cabin. My husband’s helping. Caroline has just decided to fish. Mimi is in the cabin with Adam.

Then, I realize not everyone’s at the pond. Julianne is back at the house, in bed. She is feeling exhausted and weak — again. I tell everyone I’m walking back to check on her.

After I struggle up the steep hill {even half-marathon runners get a little out of breath sometimes!}, the sun blossoms brilliant over the little rutted, clay-and-grass road that leads back to my childhood home.

And, I’m walking, moving through the day. I hear rich glade warbles and feel luxurious sun. A breeze, gentler now, lifts my shorn hair. I am completely at ease. My limbs hang long and loose by my side. My mind has narrowed to a tiny point of consciousness — closing out everything but this moment.

farm pathI hear the swish of grass against my sneakers. I never knew the simple sound of shoes against earth could echo perfection.

I tilt my chin to the sun, so bright, and drink it in. How I love the way it lacquers every new green leaf on the ground and in the sky — painting a fresh shine everywhere!

As my feet hit the road, grass-swishes turn to gravel-crunches, and they, too, sound beautiful. My senses have been honed, my focus as precise, as exquisitely sharp as a silvery pin tip.

As I pass the blueberry patch by the Little House and see gnarls of barbed wire twisted round ancient grayed wood, I feel unexplained joy in this moment. My burgeoning heart whispers: Lovely.

farm pic

A few nights ago, I felt a twinge inside, a sweet promise straight to the marrow of me. I sensed there’s beauty in this breaking. I sensed that as He reassembled me, I could become more whole than I have ever been.

After I’ve brushed the golden hair from her forehead and kissed it, slid a curtain over the sunny window behind her bed, I head back out. {Pa-Pa’s here now should she need anything.}

As I walk, I pause at the top of the hill overlooking the pond and wave to Caroline and Mimi, on the dock. They’re gutting four Blue Gills for tonight’s dinner. {Caroline likes to think she’s Survivorman.}

“I’m heading to the Back Field,” I yell, and my dog Jasper tears ahead of me like a maniac, betraying his city roots with rookie over-enthusiasm.

By the time I duck into the woods by the little caves, it begins to rain. Here, the trees create a canopy far overhead and the drops don’t even touch me, though I hear their soft falling. I find a perch amid silvery tree roots and sit on the hillside, arms hugging my knees.

I look at the small, dark caverns, framed by mossed rocks, but I’m not going down today. Caroline was convinced she saw a bobcat footprint in one of these mini-caves. Who am I to say yay or nay? I squint in that direction to see if I make out any movement and find none {though, personally, I wouldn’t mind catching a bobcat glimpse}.

I smile as I realize that this is my Mysterious Disappearance.

I used to disappear with regularity in these meadows, lanes, and woods — first as a child, then a teen, then a young adult. Here in the green, I felt my senses quicken and my mind sharpen. Here I dreamed; here I created stories; here, I drank in solitude by the hour-full, greedy and deep.

Just yesterday, I’m texting a friend — she hopes I’ll have some time to myself this weekend, but I tell her pragmatically that it’s hard to find time alone as part of a family of five.

She says: “Not if you run off in the woods by yourself.”

I reply: “I like that …. a Mysterious Disappearance!”

And, so it is.

And, I’m walking again, moving back to the path, which now curves slightly upward into more woods. White dogwood petals are strewn under foot. They layer the ground ahead thickly, the lane recalling a wedding aisle strewn with rose petals.

I pick one up, finger its creamy softness, let my thumb and forefinger linger in the curved, blackened divot. My heart whispers: The grave is empty.

I, who have long believed in resurrection — now, I see it. It’s here, in my palm. Like Peter, I finger the nail marks, and I know that these are wounds that heal.

Everywhere green rises from ground, emerald from brown, and the promise beats within me: I could emerge from this shattering … Complete. Comfortable. Capable. Free.


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  1. Having been a guest at your parents farm, I could easily visualize each of the places you described, even without the assistance of pictures! Beautifully written, and I am so glad you have a place that gives you such comfort to run off too. Even when you can’t hide for too long.

    • Thanks, Robin! There’s something so restorative about being outdoors, in silence and solitude. Even a short time spent this way is worthwhile. I think I will make a habit of “disappearing” more often at the farm 🙂

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