Everything in life happens for a reason. I do truly believe this, but there are times that things are unfair, harsh, and unreasonable. Control is so far out of reach and we have to sit back and watch the hurricane unfold raging, screaming, blasting apart everything that we hold dear. It happens on every level, in every aspect of our lives, this monster of fate, destiny. Life.

I sit crying, begging, and pleading for things to change. Praying and hoping, willing to bargain with the devil but the storm continues, unstoppable, on its path to take what it wants, leaving behind what it will come for later. I feel that I’m watching at a distance the destruction that is happening around me. Helpless to stop it, unable to move into the path to protect what is mine. A roadblock before me, not allowing me to extract or switch places with those caught in the storm.

Blame, if only I could place the blame on something tangible, maybe there would be a solution close enough. Maybe I could inflict the pain on the cause. Make it see what I see and feel what I feel. Punching, kicking, and choking the life from this invisible monster until it loosens its grip on the things I hold dear. Knowing that this would be like punching an imaginary wall, the effect being to shatter my heart as shattering the bones in the hand. Leaving only a hole, pieces of myself, and more hurt and blame.

In selfishness I want to hold on and also let go. I’m torn by my feelings and thoughts. Scared of the effects they will have on an outcome that I know in my soul I can’t control, but none the less holding on to the belief that my useless ranting will help determine fate. My selfishness binding me to my love that the winds want to tear apart, the hail bruise and batter and destroy. Feeling that this bond is keeping everything from peace and at the same time knowing that there is no peace because I have no way to accept the current course.

Hopefully I will be able to see clearly once this storm passes. Be able to take from it the valuable lesson that it holds. I’m fearful that my blind ignorance will only cause this torrent to continue. My selfishness, fear, and pride will allow the receding waters to take far more than the storm was after. The cycle will continue until there is nothing left of me but a hollow shell that little more than a breeze will blow away, dust on wind.


June 22 1016

Just an update on how the garden is looking.

Tomatoes plants are looking good with a few tomatoes starting to form on about 15 of the 75 plants. Lots of flowers on all plants. Peppers are just starting to flower. Onions are looking good with the average one being slightly bigger than a golf ball and a few closer to tennis balls. 1st planting of corn is about knee high, 2nd planting up about 6 inches, and the 3rd planting just poking through the ground. 1st planting of beets about a week away from being picked, about golf ball size now, 2nd planting just coming up. 1st planting of kohlrabi is a little spotty, not as many plants as I was hoping, 2nd planting just coming up. 1st planting of peas will be picked over the next week or so, 2nd planting about 4 inches tall. Potatoes looking good, some just starting to flower. I lost about half of the sweet potato plants, due to lack of knowledge on how to plant them, the other half are just starting to vine. Cucumbers, 35 assorted, are all up but no vines yet. Pie Pumpkins 16, watermelon 11, and winter squash 20 assorted are all up, some just starting to vine. Beans are mostly up, 175 assorted, some starting to flower. Kale will be cut for the first time this week and so will some of the lettuce, planted late because of late farmers market start date. Broccoli, cabbage, and okra looking good. Summer squash plants, 8 assorted, just starting to spread out. Radishes will be planted tomorrow. Indian corn is spotty but wasn’t sure what to expect from the new garden spot, also haven’t watered this garden. Recently planted 14 assorted cherry trees, 5 yellow apple, 20 various crabapple, 5 plum, 5 cranberry, 10 chokecherry.

June 22 1016

Old Folks

Faded hair and wrinkled skin is a badge of honor for a life lived. These first sights often cause us to overlook the beauty, energy, knowledge, and strength within. It’s hard to imagine them having a sense of humor beneath that seemingly gruff exterior and the time deepened voices. Seeing the struggle to rise from a chair makes us disregard the tremendous energy they once spent actively living each day. Watching the slow shuffle across a room, there is a feeling of pity instead of pride for the miles those legs once walked. Trying to hopelessly explain technology, we forget that their generation of manual labor paved the way for our computers. Maybe they tell us the same story over and over again to drive their memories into our heads so we don’t forget. These elderly, idle, slow moving people once loved with passion, did back breaking labor, and fought for everything they had. Most are more than willing to share their stories in the hopes that we don’t make the same mistakes they did. To share with us the love, laughter, tears, and heartache that makes them who they are.

It’s easy to disregard someone as too old to know what’s going on. Easy to look at them and think that they don’t have a clue what we are going through in this day and age. Thinking that they don’t understand how our relationships work, how hard it is to raise children and put food on the table and keep up with a social life. We look at them and see someone who is idle, who was raised in a different time when things where simpler, forgetting that simple doesn’t always mean easy.

Talking to an elderly friend I quickly learned that what appeared to be an ideal relationship now was not so ideal at the start. Looking at the couple, sitting on their driveway in matching chairs, watching the people pass, I see two people in harmony with each other. Each dependent on the other for companionship, love, and support. They talked as if they were one, completing each others sentences. I’d often catch them doing something for the other before it was mentioned. I wanted that for myself. Later I learned that was not how things started out. The early years were rocky at best. He wanted her to quit her job and stay home to make a family. She wanted to work and keep her paycheck, something that was always turned over to her family growing up. It was hard for her to give up that freedom and it took her a long time to understand that he considered what he made “their money” not his. Her early life had convinced her that money was used for control, with him this was not the case. She confided in me that he’d make house calls to the same single woman’s house a lot on Saturdays. Hearing this I was shocked. My first thought was why didn’t she leave the scumbag. How dare he do that to this kind person. She wasn’t dumb, she had carefully weighed the pros and cons of leaving. Divorce would have been a scandal and put horrible strain on the kids. He was kind to her, a good provider, a good father, she really wasn’t interested in what he was getting at that other house at the time anyway.  As we talked it became clear that by living through this and overcoming it their relationship was so much stronger. It’s hard to imagine the situation while picturing the white haired couple happily sitting together today. Leaving would have been an easy option throughout the years, but what would have been missed?

As parents these people had the same fears for their children as we do raising kids today. Drugs, alcohol, teenage pregnancy, accidents, bullying all seem to be something that each generation wants to claim as their own. These things have always been around and are fears that every parent from every generation goes through. The delivery of these threats may change with time but the base threat is still the same. One thing that I’ve learned from the older generation is that while they worried, they also trusted their children more. They believed that what their kids were taught at home, school, and church would guide them through these difficult situations and mold them into strong adults. They didn’t want their children to get seriously hurt, but they did want them to make mistakes and learn from them. Raising competent adults was the goal, not raising permanent children.

I’m still shocked whenever I hear a dirty joke or some sexual comment coming out of the mouths of someone older than me. It makes me blush, knowing that they know these things and also that they know I know. I suppose I want to believe that after awhile people become asexual. It’s this thought that keeps me from being able to totally take in their relationships. I’m only okay with seeing the love in their eyes but not much more. Not that I want details, mind you, but even the passion that is there is lost to me, because my brain doesn’t want to process anything deeper than that. Even with a collective 20 children between my grandparents, I can’t go there.

From helicopter rescue pilots in Vietnam to a young man being dropped off at a train station and being handed a few hard earned coins by his father. Brothers who returned home from war and those who didn’t. There are couples who live together their whole lives and pass away close together, and those who are left behind for years, and some who live their days without that close connection at all.

While sitting with an elderly neighbor one evening, she was complaining about how she was losing the strength in her hands. Just then the microwave beeped and she slowly shuffled over and brought out the large glass measuring cup of water that had been heating to make our instant coffee. With one hand she brought it to the table, all the while complaining about how weak she’d been feeling lately. We finished our coffee and I took the measuring cup back to the sink and had to use two hands to put the full cup back in the microwave to reheat. I was slightly embarrassed and finally told her “Oh, just shut up already! You obviously have more strength in your weakened pinky than I do in both hands. It sucks that you’re losing your strength but just think, I may never gain as much strength as you’ve already lost.” Her life of manual labor had made her into an amazing rock of a woman, both mentally and physically. Even when she started to forget things happening in the present, her memory retained an amazing wealth of information. As she declined physically she still did everything that she once did, it just took longer.

One day my grandfather was over at my parents house. We were all out in the garage and he went inside. After a while I wondered what was taking him so long. I went inside just as he was coming down the stairs to the main level. He looked at me as he slowly made his way down the stairs and asked, “Am I losing my mind? I’m losing my mind.” This was one of the hardest days for me but probably just as hard for him. I wasn’t sure how to respond and just went over and gave him a hug, trying hard to hide my tears. This was a man who had taught me so much and I couldn’t help him. His slow retreat into his mind was marked with some very vivid days when he used the knowledge of his memory loss to drive us all crazy. One day while playing cards, he was winning of course, he continually asked my grandma, “What day is it?” She would sigh and answer him over and over again. Finally I was starting to get annoyed by it and looked over just in time to see the twinkle in his eye as he winked.

I’m thankful for all the connections I’ve made so far. Grandparents, coworkers, customers, and neighbors all have given me much more than I could ever give back. There are so many questions that I want to ask. So many conversations that I wish were recorded. I want to soak in every word that is said until those words become a part of me. I want to turn back time and be able to ask some of those questions to people who are already gone. I want the courage to ask them to those who are still here.






Old Folks



A road may start as two ruts meandering through a field or may be created smooth and straight, but they all need hard work and attention to remain visible. They are made up of many different materials and differ greatly through time and location. Each stretch of road seeing different weather and seasons. Each starts with a purpose.

Looking along the roads path many things are visible. They climb through majestic mountains, cut straight paths through barren deserts. They turn sharply from mansion lined to city slum. Widening and narrowing to accommodate their surroundings. Sometimes braced by wood and steel, allowing them to continue over streams, rivers, canyons, and other obstacles that would destroy them. Some veer around those obstacles and some go straight through them.

Some roads become worn down with time. Others are covered by many layers, the true road protected with each sheet added to the surface. There are bumps and holes coming from external forces greater than the road. These marks can be left untended to grow and further distort or can be patched and filled, improving the roads quality, but leaving a scar as a reminder of the tough times.

At times there are mere feet between intersections. The bustle leading to routine maintenance and upkeep. Sometimes the wear and tear of the traffic is too much to handle. Then there are the long stretches with hundreds of miles between crossings, with beautiful surroundings; peaceful and calming. Rounding a bend the calm can turn to neglect, the road slowly being overtaken by nature.

Each road takes us on a journey, twisting and turning. Some coming to an abrupt stop, others slowly fading out to their end. They intersect many other roads along the way. Branching off and looping back, winding through vast open space and crowded cities. Traveling a road is like traveling through life. There are bumps and holes along the way but there are also great adventures and scenic overlooks. Roads and life both have the same purpose of transporting their travelers to their destinations.