I hope that we can be together on our upcoming anniversary. It will be 9 years. I’m sorry I couldn’t say yes to him five years ago when he asked. I told him I’d love him forever, just never ask me to get married. But he did. I said yes because I truly do want to marry him but– he knows I can’t.
It’s because I never wanted to get divorced again. I didn’t want it the first time – even though I asked for it. I knew by then it was over and the only thing to do. We had been friends then, my ex and I, not wanting the bitter divorces we saw around us. We had two kids to raise, albeit now from separate homes. It didn’t matter in the long run though as the rancor rose up between us anyway.
Life is difficult to navigate on one’s own. It can be scary, so very scary. I miss his laughter, the songs he fills the house with and the aromas that waffed from the kitchen when he cooks. It’s only been 5 days but it will be at least another two weeks before we can be reunited. The pandemic – the virus making its way through society. We got seperated – everyday family challenges tearing us apart. Figuratively and literally. We were supposed to be together – safe on our mountain like we have been living for the last four years. We weren’t supposed to be apart right now.
When we said goodbye, I knew there could be a chance that was the last time I would feel his touch, smell his scent. I pray not. I pray everyday that he remains healthy. This invisible killer amongst us and he is so far away right now. Out in the Petri dish. I’ll make it through by myself but I hope he is able to come back to me, to come back to our home. Our story isn’t over.
Today you stepped up to the plate when you had to and overcame a fear. You learned a new skill that will serve you well in the future. Proving to yourself that you can keep on learning new things no matter your age – you just have to want to learn. You knew if was a possibility, even before Mark left. You finally got behind the wheel of the truck and learned to plow. You had to, no one else was going to do it and deliveries were on the way. And if you are going to live up here on this mountain for a good long time, you can’t depend on someone else to always be there to do certain things, like plow.
These days have been so difficult and trying on everyone. Just processing the pandemic and what these means for our world, our country, our family, the kids, Mark and I. Everything will change. You know that — just like you did the morning of September 11th. You watched the people come off the train, covered in ash, looking like zombies. Shock. We were all in shock. Your birth home – the place where you were born and raised – attacked. Life would never be the same. Just like now.
Looking back – hindsight 20-20 – you see the evolution of how how your journey to New Hampshire evolved. Two pivotal moments that lead you to your change in life and career and eventual move to new Hampshire: 9/11 and Shannon’s death. You are forever changed when you watch a young, smart, beautiful 21 year old girl die before your eyes. The memory branded into your memory, your heart and soul forever. Rocking you off your axis.
Your days as a research analyst, all those years ago when you covered food, agribusiness and water sectors taught you so much. It made you think twice about what was actually important. Lately you been having flashbacks to the days of SARS when you kept tallies on the victims and the survivors. You put Clorox into the portfolio then and kept it there – knowing that there would be another virus that would possibly occur and go global. Bleach is good – everyone uses bleach during a pandemic outbreak. You always loved their commercials too with that comedian lady that you never remember her name – so funny.
But those days back in the office – oh so long ago, was not your dream but someone else’s. Thank you Dennis Hopper. Thank you for helping me reach that epiphany. Check out my past blog post Dennis Hopper Kick off My Mid-Life Crisis – part 1 which explains this more in detail.
You started growing your own food. You started your business with Homegrown Harvest because of what you learned all those years reading about Monsanto and syngenta and others and decided to help other people learn to grow their own food. Learned how we destroyed our farmlands and use water so inefficiently. You know how important it is to have food security especially in this ever evolving world where food contamination has become a regular occurrence. Romaine and spinach pulled from grocery store shelves.
Right now it’s another one of those watershed moments in history. You know it’s time to readjust – adapt to the new reality, the new normal whatever that may be. You know you need to be flexible and bob and weave hen you need to. You will get through this. We will get through this. The greens are growing in the Tower Gardens and their are crops growing under the cold frames. Now if the snow would melt and the sun warm the earth we can continue to start growing more. For now, we will just work with the Tower Gardens.
Enjoy your day. Relax now and sit back and look at the pretty snow. Winter’s last hurrah. Your back hurts a little, probably from the bumpy road and your nerves. But your did it! So you can relax – or what passes for relaxing during a pandemic. Put some CBD on your back.
We’ve started our self quarantine. Yesterday the last day going to the post office or grocery store. no need to go out any more. You have what you need for more than a month if you had to. Benefits of being on the mountain, you’ve been in training for this for four years now. Thank god you got the side of beef in the freezer back in January. Now all you have to do is manage the multiple personalities in the house. Can’t I go back and just do the driveway?
We haven’t all lived together under the same roof in 8 years. And never in this house. This wasn’t set up for that sort of close living – weekends sure, holidays – ok. Pandemics. Umm, not so much. Especially when everyone is used to having their own space. It’s not easy listening to two grown adult children snipe at one another like when they were teenagers. Funny how families fall back into old roles despite years of personal growth on their own. But they are working on bettering their communication, trying to use the period of quarantine to better themselves. Break old habits and form new ones.
Pour yourself a tall one, you deserve it, now go rest. There will be more to deal with – like everyday life which keeps moving on.
Every morning and sometimes evening for the last four months I have gone out to our wood furnace to add wood to the fire. This is the last of our wood supplies for the season before we kick back to our oil furnace. Somewhere between 4 am and 6am every morning, I make my way outside with the dogs to our furnace. Some mornings it’s snowing, some mornings it’s below zero with gale force winds. It may sound crazy but I love going out to the wood furnace.
Early in the season we retrieve the wood that’s stacked around the shed and chicken coop to feed into the fire. This season since November I would pull wood from the stacks sometimes covered in snow and load into either the wheel barrow or sled depending on how deep the snow. Inside the woodshed, four cords plus cords of wood are stacked up next to the wood furnace for later in the winter. We use all the wood on the outside first this year since we had a stack of seasoned wood outside leftover from last year among the green wood that we needed to use to initially get the fire started. We use green wood so that it burned slowly. You don’t want dry wood like you would use in your fireplace. If you used that all the time you’d be loading it all the time and burn through more wood overall.
We harvest some of the wood we use from our own property – a mixture of downed trees from storms to a tree that needs to be moved so we can get the gator through our trails we have on the homestead.
The smell of the smoke billowing from the chimney fills the air with scents of rock maple, ash, beech and oak. I breathe it in – I love the smell of a campfire and it initially filled me with memories of childhood camp outs but now that is mixed with newer memories of living in New Hampshire and being out with the dogs. I find it cathartic in ways – going through the routine of feeding the dogs in the morning, donning my purple work overalls, followed by Sorrels which have cramp-ons attached which I never remove. I have found having boots with cramp-ons to be a necessity to get through the rough New Hampshire winters. After the boots, I put on my purple Carhartt work jacket zipping it up before putting on my leather work gloves and heading out the door into the elements.
Despite some of the harsh conditions I have never once thought, “Ugh, I have to do out and deal with the fire.” I look forward to breathing in the cold, crisp air; listen to the wind blow through the trees, or the dogs barking at who knows what. My morning exercise bending to pick up to 20 pieces of wood, weighing anywhere from 5 lbs. to 25 lbs. ,throwing them into the firebox of our wood furnace. My upper arms have firmed up over the last four years between what we do to prepare for the winter in harvesting our wood, splitting and stacking 9-10 full cords of wood and my morning chore.
The coming weeks my morning routine will be in transition as I wait for the warming of my raised garden beds to that I can begin the spring/summer morning garden chores where the dogs and I with coffee in hand patrol the garden. Today, however was the last of our wood and I am always a little saddened by the day the wood runs out. No more evenings, after he does his fire check before crawling into bed will Mark smell like smoke – mmmm…. And even though it signals the end of the rough cold winter and the approaching days of spring and increasing light, I will miss the routine which has become so rote four months in. Until next season, just 8 months away.