Re-emerging

Featured

“Bless me Father for I have sinned…”   It’s been six months since my last post.

I have struggled on many fronts, though the lessons learned have ultimately brought unexpected joys and self-knowledge. I stopped publishing because I began to feel raw and vulnerable. There was too much of me out there, as well as others whose lives touched mine.

“Try another voice? Dial it back from reality?” the suggestions only brought a sense of defeat – a stilted story of someone else. Don’t get me wrong; I adore fiction and devour at least one novel a week. I, however, can never produce fiction. So I have not stopped writing. My journals overflow with more than 4000 words a month. The editing is woefully lacking and I question whether anyone else would find solace in the words.

How does one reinvent, reemerge, recover lost ground? One thought is to compose a letter, a pen-pal style missive once a month to those who kindly support me and have an interest in my writing. If recipients were those I knew is some capacity,  and I could feel more comfortable sharing my intimate view of life, perhaps many needs could be met and the dilemma would be solved.

Thoughts and suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Alice

Useless Spring Chores

Featured

It’s 25°s cooler today than the day before, still a balmy 68° but overcast and humid. In the distance, through the woods comes the muffled sound of a lawn mower as a neighbor begins the weekly ritual of trying to create a green space out of granite. The Ravens murmur to each other as they silently swoop overhead and the crickets thrum as they will for their short lives.

New and repaired screens are installed, final three pots are planted with saucy yellow flowers and the garage is swept. My list grows shorter and I take a break to step out onto the freshly stained, front deck and admire my little homestead. Splashes of color are appearing amid the overgrown patches I consider my gardens.

DSC_0010 (1)DSC_0024

I’m not sure what tree is shedding these blooms, I suspect the giant oaks, but like the leaves in Fall, suddenly they are carpeting all the clean spaces.

DSC_0015

They cling to spider webs and dance in the slightest breeze.

DSC_0017

They curl around the corners of every chair and table, leaving a dusty mustard-colored silt. I grabbed a broom and made a stab at ridding the deck of them. It was like pushing snow. The broom clogged and I immediately lost interest. A useless spring task indeed. I think I will just wait for the rain to wash them away…

DSC_0005

lirpa – that’s April backwards because that’s just how it is

Congratulations! In the contest of life called “You Couldn’t Catch a Break If It Hit You Over The Head And Landed In Your Lap” you have earned the title of Grand Champion!!

After all these months, this turning of the calendar and trip around the sun, a sure thing once again seemed to unfold. A project, so perfect for my creative salvation with its intense writing, photographing and marketing, was handed to me. I went to the EDA (the local Economic Development Authority) to ask for a partnership, a 60%-40% investment in creating a State of NH Scenic and Cultural Byway (a state sanctioned tourist route) in the Monadnock Region. The need was clear:

  1. The State contacted the Chamber suggesting we apply for it.
  2. This is the only corner of the State that has no Scenic & Cultural Route.
  3. The impending demolition and rebuilding of a bridge on a major route into town scheduled to begin in  late 2018 is projected to depress business severely in the downtown district.
  4. With a tourist route in place we could market our way through the crisis and control the traffic to benefit rather than bypass our fragile economy.
  5. I could do something so right and so fulfilling at a point where I most need to.

My presentation and estimated budget for the project was not unreasonable and it would buy me desperately needed relief from emotional and financial discomfort. Not only was it unanimously accepted, the vote  increased the split of funding to 70% EDA, 30% Chamber of Commerce.  I took a deep breath and walked out into the raw April rain smiling so hard my cheeks cramped.

Seven hours later, I looked at the title of the email and thought, “Not funny George!” expecting a cruel joke followed by congratulatory support. It read, “Scenic By-way Vote Rescinded.” The reality of small town politics and its inherent lack of dedicated souls to fill the committees and boards of directors came rushing through the Internet. It seems the EDA vote was not legal as both George and I sit on the boards of  the EDA and the Chamber. A lesson in government states we should have recused ourselves from the vote. But it wouldn’t have mattered because without our votes there would not have been a quorum, so no vote could have occurred.

There is perhaps a work-around by going to the selectmen and getting their votes as the EDA is under their jurisdiction. Do I trust this news? Not even a little. I refuse to believe in the fairness of life at this point. My dreams have been shattered too many times. I have reduced, minimized, lower, tightened-my-proverbial-belt to the point of breaking. All my positive energy and stamina have been repaid with defeat. My knees are scraped, my nose is bleeding; I’ve run out of fight.

The new normal is furtive collecting of the flood of thoughts in journals with no plan of publishing. Shame? Perhaps, yet who have I really disappointed but myself? Certainly, I have not brought emotional distress or financial strain on anyone but Alice. While she notes a shift in my cheery attitude, (for a long time I stopped singing our silly songs to her). She is more affectionate in her own singular way. One would never compare Alice to a cuddly Golden Retriever. She and I share the end of the day, curled in complimentary commas in bed, but otherwise she is most comfortable shadowing me with little physical contact. We read each other’s expressions and live in our routine like an elderly married couple.

So where does one go from here? If you have no expectations, perhaps the best will happen? I keep thinking of the childhood rhyme “April Showers Bring May Flowers.” I will bloom again…

And so it goes…

A wise woman said to me “Perhaps your house hasn’t sold because your next home isn’t ready yet?” We were wandering the trails around the backside of Temple Mountain on horseback. The air had that gentle promise of spring, water gurgled below the surface of the snow, creating space for the earth to push up and soften. Indeed, paths open and directions become clear on their own schedule.

It has been a long slog. I try to end every day listening carefully to the positive small voice that tells me it will all be OK and I have done all I can for now. There are times in life when the timing of events is completely out of our control. It is best to give in to the small joys of the moment, ignoring the ‘elephant in the room’ anxieties.

Where have I been for the past six months? Every month I titled my journal entries:

  • When Inspiration Abounds
  • In the Beginning
  • The End is Near
  • Rhythm and Speed, Rhythm and Reason
  • Send my social security number to Bangalore India? Why, YES Please!
  • The Optimism of Uncertainty

I took a job at a bank. It was a decision born of desperation but it provided some respite from financial stress. Unfortunately, it is probably the only job I have ever held that had the potential to utterly eradicate every shred of self-worth I possess. My journals are full of raw emotion and fear.

My heart wrenched as one daughter moved back across the country to her new destiny, and the other brought my family together with a most magical wedding, renewing my faith in love. When the job proved too much for my soul, I threw all caution to the wind and left. My latest reincarnation on the employment front is to go back to my creative roots  and public service. I am back at the Chamber of Commerce where we have applied for a Grant to start a women’s entrepreneur network. AWE – Advancing Women Entrepreneurs, is a fledgling effort; full of hope and promise. A logo to design, marketing to consider, ideas spark and take hold.

The days are longer, warmer. I  leave home and return again in day light. The dark, short days and cold nights ending in a hurried dinner and early bed are gone. Windows are cracked open; my heart is lighter.

Five years ago I left a big, corporate job. I promised to write, to BE a writer. I self-published my memoir. I wrote my blog and I found ways to exist with less. This is hard, harder perhaps than anything I have done before because the luxury of years ahead to correct the course has been remove. Yet, the quiet voice eggs me on – do good, be good and it will be OK.

The re-emergence I wrote of has been hard-won. I’ve lived in my head for far too long;  but the comments and support from  readers have been the push I needed to start again, It would seem the world in general is telling me to follow my dream and write it down…

dsc_0094

My New Year’s Eve tradition of opening the Memory Jar…

 

Thank you and goodbye

I have been writing this blog for 3 years, 7 months 4 days for a total of 800 posts. I started at 5 times a week. It was drivel with some bright spots. As followers grew, I dropped back. There’s still a lot of navel gazing. The concept, “Reinventing oneself at

pick at number; 50,55,60

 

was something I thought others could relate to and it followed on nicely to the journal entries I write incessantly.

2016 has been a year of reinventing. I am learning about myself,  non-profit organizations, unemployment, real estate,  and writing.

Along the way, I have inadvertently overstepped the bounds  with my “bare my soul’ approach to this blog. It is time  to reevaluate my purpose and direction.

One thing I have learned is that there is a wonderful community of bloggers out there with a targeted focus for their writing. I will continue to follow these folks hoping to learn and hone my skills. For the moment, I do not feel worthy to participate and call myself a writer or a blogger.

Thank you to the community who has encouraged, inspired and supported me.

Paddling toward destiny…

I gave myself the afternoon off. It was a week ago that I lost my dear Gunther and with the golf tournament over, volunteer work at the Chamber is slow. I have worked six days a week for many months now and my kayak was beckoning  from the rafters in the garage.

The morning was in round two of the ‘very important’ job interview. As I write this I don’t have a confirmed outcome but I am feeling cautiously confident about the opportunity. Once the stress of that meeting was over I decided to just check out from life for an hour or two.

Putting the kayak on top of the car has limited my excursions. In the past, when I had a truck, it was merely the effort of tossing a boat in the back, attaching a bungee cord for extra care and driving to my destination. Loading ‘Limonotta’ on the roof is a bit more daunting. This boat was chosen specifically for its size and weight. I should have no trouble hefting it onto the racks. Though it may be a display of awkwardness, I do manage to get it on the roof racks without knocking off my side mirror. No one ever offers to help, so that tells me I either look like a disaster you should run from, or I look competent.

I chose Dublin Lake for my sojourn. It is a short drive, easy parking along the road and has a good boat launch. As it was a weekday, there were few others using the launch. I set out drifting with the wind, letting it push me to the middle of the lake. The sky was that unbelievable blue of an August afternoon.

thumb_DSC_0195_1024

Every lake and pond has a pubic boat launch,  even in this very tony neighborhood with its mansions and picturesque boat houses. Dublin Lake was originally a summer colony for folks escaping the summer city heat in the late 19th and early 20th century. Many of the mansions that sit on the foothills of Mt. Monadnock were built as summer residences in the Victorian Shingle Style. In fact there are 45 historic and architecturally important homes on the lake.

thumb_DSC_0189_1024 thumb_DSC_0187_1024I was just have fun floating and gazing at their splendor, day dreaming about sitting on the lake shore in a fancy boat house that rivals normal people’s homes.

thumb_DSC_0196_1024 thumb_DSC_0197_1024 thumb_DSC_0202_1024I am in waiting-mode, no news is good news, right?  This is either going to be sheer hell or I will  go with the flow.

 

 

The Farmers Dinner

Securing the future while seeking those who will curate it…

Lincoln Geiger is a sinuous, weathered man whose lanky frame carries no extra meat. He strides with the walk of a man whose legs are two-thirds of his body and cover a lot of ground, with a bit of a gimp.

thumb_DSC_0023_1024

He spoke last Saturday at Trauger Groh’s funeral; eloquently reading a fitting passage from Rudolf Steiner.

When I shall die, I’ll gladly give my being to the elements

To the elements I love

Spirit to flame

Soul to ether

Heart to wave

My body to the earth

The Spirit will blaze

The Soul shall Expand

The wave of my heart shall murmur and sound

The body shall rest

This Saturday, he graciously welcomed over a hundred people to a farm-to-table fundraising event to buy the farm he, Trauger, and Anthony Graham started in 1986. The Temple-Wilton Community Farm at Four Corners is the first CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) in America. An odd lot those three; Trauger was German, Anthony is from the UK and Lincoln grew up in Sweden. How they came to be in Wilton New Hampshire is a lovely bit of (to quote Dylan) a simple twist of fate.

The tickets to the dinner included a tour of the farm. I knew bits and pieces of its history from my association with Trauger and the relationship I had built with the resident cheese maker when I managed the oil & vinegar store.

thumb_DSC_0002_1024 thumb_DSC_0030_1024I arrived to find a small group milling around. Lincoln gave a brief tour of the farm and a history of biodynamic farming.

Appropriate footwear here people! Did you not know you were visiting a cow barn at milking time??

thumb_DSC_0016_1024

Farmer Andrew is from Oregon; always a farm boy he is now seeing a different view of the mountain that farming in New England entails. He enthusiastically explained herd dynamics and the personalities of his beloved ladies. I always wondered why cows aren’t blanketed like horses in the dead of winter. He was pleased to talk ruminates vs. horses.

thumb_DSC_0015_1024

thumb_DSC_0019_1024 thumb_DSC_0010_1024You’ve gotta love farm girls!

DSC_0004
These lovely ladies were selling raffle ticket for a veggie basket, a meat basket, or a cheese basket. I signed right up for some of Benjamin’s Cheese! Didn’t win, but it was for a good cause. Benjamin the cheese maker (pronounced ben ya min) is another tall gangly man. Though many years younger than Lincoln, his gait and manner are very similar. He moved to Wilton from the Black Forest region of Germany and is a puppeteer in his spare time. To find him at the farmer’s market on a slow day is a guarantee of a quick marionette performance.

thumb_DSC_0054_1024A long line of tables were set in the field with a 360° view of the mountains. Over 100 people gathered to feast and celebrate.

The Menu
Passed Appetizers

Grilled Zucchini, grilled tomato harissa with cow’s milk Feta

Chicken Liver Mousse on pumpernickel with leek chutney

Salted Cod & Potato terrine  and hot pepper relish on toast

Smoked Grass Fed Beef Tongue with a kohlrabi kimchi

Dinner

Gage Field – Beets, Quark cheese, Dill fermented chilis & cucumber

Beet Salad

Photo Credit: L&S Photography

Lower Pasture – Pork Loin & Coppade Testa, zucchini mostada, sweet & spicy pickles with a wedge of Savage Road cheese

Pork Loin & Coppade Testa,

Photo Credit: L&S Photography

Hidden Meadow – Charred & Chilled Carrot Soup  with carrot green yogurt and Orchard Hill porcini crouton

Charred & Chilled Carrot Soup

Photo Credit: L&S Photography

Greenhouse Field – Poached Chicken & Boudin Blanc, with smoked tomato on a leek & sourdough puree

thumb_Farmers Dinner-1574_1024

Photo Credit: L&S Photography

Upper Pasture – Melon & Rind with basil and pineapple weed ver jus

Randy’s Field – Carrot Cake with fennel creameux, hickory nut  & carrot halwa

Carrot Cake

Photo Credit: L&S Photo

The dinner and service were amazing,  with the proceeds going for the purchase of the farm. All the food was local and organic. The gods were pleased as the sunset was spectacular.

thumb_DSC_0034_1024 thumb_DSC_0042_1024DSC_0057

N.B. Thanks to Laura and Steve who had the forethought to take photos of the food while I was too busy eating!

Red Flag Apology

I had written this post for LAST week but then life got in the way so now I am apologizing for being late with my apology.

You would think, given my pledge of three years ago to write and blog, I would be more adept at managing it. I started out writing five posts per week. I wrote a lot of long-winded, boring stuff. Then I backed off the pressure and settled to write a lot and post less. If your writing is driven by stats, this is not a productive idea. Or maybe it is?

When folks who are kind enough to read what you write, punch the “like” button and perhaps take the time to write a comment, blogging becomes a two-way street. A conversation evolves as you begin reading each other’s  posts – liking and commenting in return.

Those likes and comments require a thank you in my humble opinion. So through these short years, the weight of blogging has shifted from a fire hose of output,  to a lazy river of thoughts brought on by lots of reading and replying. So here comes the apology.

I red flag incoming posts from blogs I follow in my inbox with the plan to go back and read them after clearing out the emails that require an instant response or instant trashing. There is a lot of trashing when you are under-employed and selling a home. My address seems to have ended up on every job posting site, career advice forum, real estate sales sites and most oddly, DIY home repair offers from the big box hardware stores. Sheesh! Do they actually think I have money to spend on home improvement?!

Life gets in the way of plans. The balance is sometimes hard to sustain. I wish to apologize to all I love to read and follow, to all who have reached out to me with their thoughts, kind words of encouragement and inspiring posts.  I am flagging you because I will get back to you soon. Right after I take a short break for a Therapeutic Misadventure…

DSC_0011