Sunday, April 13, 2014

an essay on a weekend

This weekend was one of those magic moments of genuine connection and wholehearted joy that happen only rarely in life. This year we seemed to hit on a perfect recipe in the people who came to the cabin and the way we spent our weekend hours. It was a balance of relaxation, adventure, cooking, drinking, game playing, conversation and reflection. It is a blessing to witness the blending of these ten people, some of whom only know each other from these weekend retreats, coming together annually.
Four years ago, this weekend began as a celebration of a lovely ladies birth. It was so wonderful that it took on a life of its own and now we come together once a year just because it is what we do. It feels so right to retreat into the quiet of the woods and to catch up on each others lives. It is a break from the constant upkeep of reality; a chance to restore and to exist in a more natural, primal way. In the cabin you eat when you're hungry, sleep when you're tired, and wake when you're rested.
We turn off our alarms in the cabin and everything takes on a hazy, lazy quality as time flows onward unnoticed and the days drift by without appointments or checklists. It is a way of living that feels so right and yet proves to be so hard everywhere but this hidden cabin in the woods. Which is why, I think, we begin the countdown to next year the moment our bags are packed and our cars are pulling away to return us to our city lives. 
Leaving the cabin was hard this year as the weekend was so perfect. My eyes welled as we drove down the mountain. I remember the ends of summer camps as a child, saying good bye to new friends who at the end of a week were old friends. Knowing, then and now, that no matter how many times you go back to that place (the camp or the cabin) there will never again be a time exactly like the one you just left. We will never be able to recreate the moments that made this weekend so perfect. I left so grateful to have been a part of it and so sad that it has passed. I will cling to the photos and cherish the memories as we count down to next year. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

heaven is a place on earth

Tomorrow I pack my bags and head into the mountains for the fourth annual Hot Tub Heaven Cabinganza. I don't know how to properly describe the weekend. It is a relaxing time in the woods coupled with the best college party you've ever been to. It is a time of soulful conversations with long distance friends and raucous games of pong and flip cup. We count down the months until the next trip the day after we leave and even through the group has morphed each year it still feels like the same wonderful group every time. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

growing things up

 For the last month I have worked very hard at convincing Kenneth to take my parents up on their kind offer to let us/him plant a vegetable garden in their back yard. I have elaborated on the joys of homegrown veggies, explained how he could study all summer in the backyard with the pups. I have wheedled and talked his ear off about how GOOD FOR HIM it would be if only he would agree to garden. 
 And now that he's agreed I realize that the good for him is really a good for me. I am the one who needs afternoons in the sun surrounded by green and growth. I am the one who desperately needs to prove to herself that she is/I am capable of growing food. Of keeping things alive. We have dreams of land, of produce--farm dreams. Kenneth doesn't doubt them. I don't either. The dreams are good and wholesome and wonderful. 
 What I doubt is me. Do I have a green enough thumb to keep a garden growing? Will I be able to maintain rows of veggies and an orchard and a food forest and chickens and bunnies and goats and geese? Can I keep all this alive and in doing so feed our family? Do I have what it takes to be a family farmer? 
 I have filled this apartment with little potted plants and time and time again forgotten to water, or move, or feed them only to come home and find them withered and brown. How much of this is my hectic, all consuming work schedule and how much of it is just me? 
 I have this crystal clear image of who I want to be and the life I want to lead when we're in our forever home. Some of this I can begin to practice now in our city apartment. So much more of it I won't know if I will be able to do until we get were we're heading. There is no way to prove I'm capable of living the life I want to lead except by one day jumping straight in. 

And that is terrifying. 
This summer we are moving from balcony gardeners to backyard gardeners. I hope we do well and I hope one day, when we move from backyard gardeners to homesteaders we jump right in and live life well. I pray my fears are unfounded and that the life we are heading for is the life for us. 

But I know, as long as I have Kenneth walking this path with me, that everything will turn out all right.