Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Down to Earth

-OR- {Pardon the Wait While We Were Growing}

*I will include pictures in the post below this. Too many to include in this already-arduous post!
Recently our lives have been less predictable than usual. We have had a couple of interruptions, blips on the radar, so to speak, that have added some curves to our winding road.

There was my sinus surgery, which knocked me off my feet for two weeks, and then dampened my spirit for another month afterward. I felt the chaos of this interruption and tried to fight back, but didn't try very hard.

Just when I got my feet planted again, Phill needed surgery for his torn miniscus. Well, that makes it sound like it just popped out of nowhere....it didn't. We had a month's warning. But again, our "typical" lives were interrupted (just for a short time, this time), and I found myself feeling (again) like I was simply floating around in the debris.

Several times throughout the last few weeks, my resolve to bring more Balance to my life has caused me to cry hysterically or laugh. (Sometimes at the same time.) But slowly, this has blown over, and in its place, something new.

We have become more clear about what we want. More brave in going after it. More calm in the knowledge that no matter how much our lives seem to spin out of our controlling scope, it is always our Savior who keeps us rooted to the ground, safe and at peace.

Often, while our children sleep, Phill and I lay in bed and talk about our dreams. Usually, we dream simply. The things that make us glow with hope aren't usually extravagant.

We would love a big backyard, fenced in, where we can run and play and sit quietly as the summer sun sets and the crickets sing the day down.

We would love a large garden, full of flowers and food, where our children can dig and water and harvest the direct results of their hard work.

We would love a chicken coop, where a couple of chickens provide fresh eggs for our breakfast.

We would love a dog, one that follows the kids around adoringly; one that we can count on to protect me when Phill has to go out of town. The kind of dog you grow up with.

We would love a cat--the kind that has personality, the kind that sleeps on your bed at night, the kind that becomes a fixture of the house.

When we lay in bed at night, imagining these simple happy things, it is not so much them that we want. It's what they represent. Stability. Closeness. Tradition. Roots. The simplicity of plant-and-grow, nurture-and-reap.

For a long time, even these simple things have seemed faraway, and we have had to make do with doing our best to create peace in our home. But recently we experienced something intangible, something that has seemed to propel us in the direction of these things.

We looked at our tiny backyard, our sliver of land, and we saw the possibilities. We finally saw where a little bit of our dream could fit.

And we planted a garden.

6x11, I think, $25, and took us 4.5 hours on Conference Saturday. Small, but adequate. Small, but still the realizing of one part of our dream! A row each of cucumbers, lettuce, spinach, sweet corn, banana peppers, tomatoes, a strawberry plant and some dahlias. Inside the house in a little yellow pot grows mint; minuscule seedlings are sprouting all over. They look like tiny green hairs. And yesterday while Phill watered the garden, he shouted from outside to me, "Rae! We have lettuce!" I ran outside (yes, I ran--don't you know gardening is exciting?) and nearly cried when I saw the row of perfect little green clusters. So small you wouldn't spot them if you weren't looking.

But there.

Oddly enough, other aspects of our "Grand Dream" are falling into place, almost by accident. Reed's class hatched chicks, and we were able to enjoy two of them for a few days before we took them to a friend with a coop.

A friend's Boxer had puppies, and we have taken the plunge! We will get our sweet Boxer, Penny Lane, at the end of May. We held her a couple of weeks ago and she felt like ours, like home. Familiar and warm. While I have many fears about training/raising a puppy/dog, I feel deep within that we are on the right track. That this was the direction we meant to go all along.

A short time after we heard about Penny, we saw Jude. A friend emailed us and told us that he knew someone giving away kittens. We picked up our creamsicle-colored kitten yesterday. He played on the couch with me for a long time, and slept on Phill's pillow. He is curious, playful, and affectionate. He belongs.

I am aware that a garden, a puppy, and a kitten ALL require WORK. And that is precisely why I think we are finding some peace. We are back to the basics. The cause-and-effect, err-and-learn, change-and-grow up-and-down that is the best stuff of life.

When I was a very new mom and feeling unsure of how to live my new life in conjunction with everything I wanted to do outside the home, I wrote a plaintive email to my free-spirited and beautiful-spirited brother, Isaac. His gentle response was to say that when he feels unsatisfied or un-anchored, he returns to Mother Earth. (Literally and figuratively) Then he said something that has stayed with me, and propelled me through my spare stretches: "Rae, the grass isn't greener....it's blue."

It isn't better over there. It's just different. And it's all grass.
We choose our happiness. We make our peace. We decide whether to find a way to make it work.
I--we--can choose to grow, even in the smallest of spaces.

Did you think that your feet had been bound
By what gravity brings to the ground?
Did you feel you were tricked
By the future you picked?
Well, come on down

All those rules don’t apply
When you’re high in the sky
So, come on down
Come on down

We’re coming down to the ground
There’s no better place to go
We’ve got snow up on the mountains
We’ve got rivers down below

We’re coming down to the ground
We hear the birds sing in the trees
And the land will be looked after
We send the seeds out in the breeze

Did you think you’d escaped from routine
By changing the script and the scene?
Despite all you made of it
You’re always afraid
Of the change

You’ve got a lot on your chest
Well, you can come as my guest
So come on down
Come on down

We’re coming down to the ground
There’s no better place to go
We’ve got snow up on the mountains
We’ve got rivers down below

We’re coming down to the ground
We hear the birds sing in the trees
And the land will be looked after
We send the seeds out in the breeze

Like the fish in the ocean
We felt at home in the sea
We learned to live off the good land
Learned to climb up a tree
Then we got up on two legs
But we wanted to fly
When we messed up our homeland
We set sail for the sky

We’re coming down to the ground
There’s no better place to go
We’ve got snow up on the mountains
We’ve got rivers down below

We’re coming down to the ground
We hear the birds sing in the trees
And the land will be looked after
We send the seeds out in the breeze

We’re coming down
Coming down to Earth
Like babies at birth
Coming down to Earth
We’re gonna find new priorities
These are extraordinary qualities

We’re coming down to the ground
There’s no better place to go
We’ve got snow up on the mountains
We’ve got rivers down below

We’re coming down to the ground
We hear the birds sing in the trees
And the land will be looked after
We send the seeds out in the breeze

We’re coming down to the ground
There’s no better place to go
We’ve got snow up on the mountains
We’ve got rivers down below

We’re coming down to the ground
We hear the birds sing in the trees
And the land will be looked after
We send the seeds out in the breeze

We’re gonna find new priorities
These are extraordinary qualities


--Down to Earth, Peter Gabriel

7 comments:

midRae said...

Love this!! And to think that just this morning it dawned on me that I am completely and utterly insanely happy with my life. How lucky we are. Love you Rae, and I have a few photo questions for you. I shall email them soon.
:)

Anna said...

This post, and the pictures bring tears of joy to my eyes. May of last year was a lot like that for us. You're right, it's going to be a crazy lot of work. But perhaps that is why Adam was told that he'd have to work all his life and eat by the sweat of his brow. Because that is where actual happiness comes from. Once again, I am inspired to go ahead and do a garden this year.

Christine said...

That was so moving Rae, I know I say it often to you but your writing is so honest and that's why so many people love it! Love that song too, there's nothing like working in the earth and seeing life come out of it. You've gotten me excited to plant our garden!

Kelly said...

Your dreams sound so wonderful. Every time I go running I pass a red farmhouse with a wrap-around porch, big trees, and a pasture for a horse. THAT'S my dream. Where there is room to play tag football, and the drive up to the house is poplar-lined. Perfect.
Thanks for sharing your dreams/goals. Some day we will be there (if we want it bad enough).

Lara said...

Love this! Really.

I love your dreams. And I love that you're making them come true.

And I really love what you've named your animals.

And I'm jealous. I want that puppy! So adorable! The kitty, too, but he'll definitely make me miserable. Darn allergies.

TanuvasaCasa said...

I love it. I just got done posting about our dilemma on our blog an then clicked over to here. I think I've found my answer in between the lines of your blog. Thank you for the peace.

Qait said...

Your peace brings me peace! Thanks for sharing! Your example is wonderful, and I hope I can follow it well. We're learning how much we love work, too.
I'm hoping to learn a lot about gardening this summer; Grandma next door knows quite a bit, and I've told her to make me help. ;)
I love you!
I love Isaac...yes, the grass is blue... that's perfect. :D