Sunday, July 14, 2013

Paper Dolls

I've decided to pursue a "course of steady reading" as they would have said in earlier days.  I have finished all of Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austen, and L. M. Montgomery and am working on The Scarlet Letter.  Most of these books I have read before, but I find that as I get older, each book means something a little different.  My experiences allow me to see different facets and nuances that I never noticed before and, as any great book can do, reveals something of my innermost longings to me.

I flew through the "Anne of Green Gables" series, hungrily devoured the gentle manners in "Emma", and thoroughly enjoyed Louisa May's perfectly imperfect characters in "Rose in Bloom".  The fact that the "Scarlet Letter" is hard work and I couldn't bear to finish the even first chapter in the pompous "Walden" tells me something about myself.  All of the books I enjoyed conjured charming images of domestic pleasures and society.  They knew their neighbors and had relationships with them.  The art of politeness oiled discourse between those less than fond of each other and tolerance was well honed.  Of course these stories were of the best of situations, but nevertheless, something to strive for.

Our dealings with one another today are very different.  Everyone is so trapped in boxes that there is no time for real people.  We have Facebook friends but few flesh and blood friends.  We connect with Linked In not by looking into someone's eyes.  Everywhere one goes, eyes are glued to screens of smart phones or attention focused on the virtual person at the other end of the phone line and not on anyone who is close enough to see or touch.  We live our lives through impossible, and often reprehensible, characters on television, but ignore the potential for making our own amazing lives.

I find this a very lonely and limited way to live.  While Facebook has its uses, I find it shallow and  highly unsatisfying.  I don't want to only see the best of people for then I must only show them the best of me.  It's as if everyone collects pretty paper dolls that they can just put back into the envelope when they aren't in the mood or are busy with something else.  Real people are flawed and messy.  Relationships are hard work and can bring pain as well as joy.

Bring on the work! Show me your worst as well as the best!  I don't want to go back into the envelope.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Root and Branch

Six weeks have passed since I gently slipped my willow cuttings into WeeHavyn's steep and rocky hillside, dreaming of a lacy fence of intricately twined branches.  During the cool, damp days of Spring, buds swelled and leaves burst forth with green promise.  But as Spring gave way to the dog days of Summer, tiny branches began to wither and brown and the supple green of the cuttings turned to stiff mahogany. Twig and foliage had grown too fast, sucking sustenance from the cutting before roots could burrow and feed.

Yet there is Hope. A few of the cuttings bravely push their supple arms to the sky and promise me their eager children for next year.  I will have my fence yet provided I continue to water my intrepid little trees through the dry heat of July and August while they take on the quiet task of weaving themselves into the fabric of WeeHavyn.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Useful AND Beautiful

I finally finished the milking stand yesterday.  As usual, we're behind schedule when it comes to getting everything ready for the goats.  I used to get upset about this and vow not to even make schedules since they never seemed to be completely successful.  Then I realized that without some sort of schedule, nothing would ever get done and decided that "better late than never"would be my motto. 

I spent a fair amount of time decorating my milk stand so it is pleasing to look at as well as useful.  Perhaps this seems foolish to some.  After all, it's not going to stay perfect and will probably need to be redone eventually.  Yet, this is a tool I am going to be using twice a day for a long time.  By taking the time to paint it and make it pretty, I am showing, if only to myself, my commitment to what I am doing.  This is important stuff to me.

I've never quite understood why "maintenance" is a dirty word these days.  After all, one should spend time on the things one considers important.  The home that shelters me, the car that takes me where I need to go, the animals that feed us are all worthy of my time and attention.  While I don't enjoy every part of taking care of these things, I am grateful that I have them and try to show this by investing the most precious thing I have... my limited amount of time on this earth. 

What's important to you?