Spring isn’t the best season for me. I’m afraid it might lose me my place in the earth-lovers hippie Christian club to admit this, but the truth is I think spring is unbearably messy and I’d really love to just organize it all properly in drawers. Having all these things popping up and out of everywhere makes me anxious.
I finally got the whole day off yesterday. I didn’t leave the property once, except to get my kids from the school bus, which hardly counts because this whole hill is home.
I had my little one with me all day, too. Dressed up in her shiny blue dress-up dress, or her homemade fairy skirt, or nothing at all, depending on the moment. She changes her clothes a lot. We walked around all day and took care of things.
I thought for a minute I would never make another off grid video again. After the Seeker Network featured us, I had the video-maker’s equivalent of writers’ block. Because how do I compete with that? Right? A professional team with state of the art equipment? I mean, how does little old me and my iPhone 4 compete with a drone?
We were standing together on the southern slope when she showed me where the roof came clean off of her neighbor’s barn. Her own barn had lost just a bit of trim, she said. Though it did clock her mother-in-law on the shoulder as they came out to check on the animals. Still. They were blessed.
I had no words. I lived in a yurt, just sticks and canvas, through that same stormy night. Except that I had no idea.
I’m sick again.
I SO did not want that to be the thing I told you today. I didn’t want that to be the thing I spent my time thinking about, as I have just come home from a deep drink of retreat and fellowship. I didn’t want a recurring, arguably minor health issue to be something I talk about at all. It’s just too trivial, too unimportant…too unspiritual.
We lost one of our baby chicks, while I was out of town. I was gone for four days, two days of Christian writers’ conference and a day of personal retreat on either side. I wore cute shoes, and fixed my hair. My body missed my children like a drug.
I came home late, full and rich and blessed and also sucked completely dry. I stumbled, walking down the hill in starlight dark in my cute shoes. But I made the stairs by feel and I opened the yurt door to candlelight, three sleeping children and a perfect, warm, small fire in the stove.
When I was told about the Sandanistan Revolution in Nicaragua, I was sitting in a church. The people of that church told me about their uprising, the people’s uprising. They told me how they had gathered to speak of the campesino Jesus, the Christ of the people, the liberator. They told me how the diocese sent them a new priest who wasn’t sympathetic, and he locked them out of the church. But they cut the lock, they said, and took back the building because they had built it with their own hands.
When I want to give up on church–I mean, when I want to give up completely on the whole church–I think of that place in Nicaragua. I think of how the people cut the lock on the door.
We create cultures by cultivating same habits and shared values. What makes a society cohesive is a collection of mutually agreed upon, if not explicitly stated set of rules for living. There is great comfort in homogeneity, in staying within the boundaries of accepted behaviors, acknowledging with ease that this is the way things are done.
Except it doesn’t look very much like God’s plan for us.
The first time I dreamed of being a writer I was fifteen years old. I wrote about it secretly, in my journal with a striped, padded cover.
I wrote about it in full-throated despair.
The dead-last child in a family of brilliant minds — mother writer, father poet, siblings singer/songwriter, and would-be novelist — I had already swallowed this whisper, “There is not enough room. There is not enough room. THERE IS NOT ENOUGH ROOM.”
Twenty years later, I have a book deal. Take that, you nasty little whisper.
It takes longer up here, on the mountain, for the flowers to emerge. The valley has double rows of blossoming trees, yards full of daffodils, riches unregarded. Up here, Stella scours our three acres for a handful of snow lilies and bursts in, holding them high, beaming with the victory.
“Look. Look. Mama! The flowers have come.”
It was a summer more than twenty years ago, when my sister and I wore flip flops to watch the Perseid meteor shower from a mountaintop above a lightning storm.
We were camping nine days across the Rockies. I was 11, she was 19, and we each felt the other’s company was riches. It was that one last decade before the emergence of electronics, and we had nothing else to do with our vacation but use our fingers to trace the squiggly lines on paper maps.
Spring is always a time for things to get confusing. Shaken up. Things growing and popping out of eggs. I am excited. I am tired. I am a little confused. … I have some great links to share today, but also just want to clarify things that have been moving and shaking on this website.