Shadow Side

Every transition, no matter how exciting, comes with a shadow side. We moved into our new house last week. I have been reveling in finally having some of the little things I’ve wanted for years: a wood stove, a big backyard full of nature, walls we can paint.

I’ve been dreaming so hard about having a place of our own that I forgot to expect the trough that comes with every transition, that place suspended between what was before and what hasn’t happened yet.

We’re out of the old place, but we’re not yet settled in the new place. My sensitive heart has a lot of questions about what’s coming.

Human minds hate unknowns and in-betweens. Mine habitually fills in uncertainty with self-criticism and worst-case what-ifs. I forget—every time—about the miracle and mercy of what I don’t know and can’t predict.

When you find yourself in an in-between place, don’t catastrophize. Now’s the time for all your optimism. The in-between place is the true home of faith: the place where we put down our nervous urge to control and trust that it’s all happening exactly as it should, because it is.

Just a little note for myself and for you.

We bought a house!

We closed on Monday on a little stone farmhouse on seven mostly-wooded acres. I can’t really describe the feeling, but here, I’ll try:

It feels like I drank a bowl of warm soup.

It feels like there is a happy, heavy stone in my belly now, something to hold me in place.

It feels like I have been carrying two or twenty enormous, awkward suitcases for approximately twelve years and I just stumbled over a last and final step with sweaty armpits and I can finally heave them down.

It feels like blowing out birthday candles, like alpine air on damp skin at the summit, and like that glorious, perfect moment on a horse when you are, in fact, suspended in midair.

We did it. The hustle was always for this. There is plenty to keep working for and lots of fun projects (greenhouse restoration, anyone?) but for now…

We did it. And I’m going to enjoy the hell out of it. And you better believe I’ll be planting dahlias first chance I get.


Planting Tulips

5,000 bulbs in the ground will become 5,000 tulips we’ll harvest in the spring. Farming is a long game of often invisible work.

Our work as the growers is obvious—we dig and squat and bend and hoist a million times—but the other work of a farm, the growing that happens to a seed itself, isn’t always apparent.

Plants work quietly. They do it underground, in the dark, without thought for recognition or reward. While I worry about whether I’m doing enough and if we’ll be okay, they just keep growing. It’s the only thing they’re here to do.

Flooding, wind, sunshine or cold—if it doesn’t kill them, they’ll stay the course. They grow whether or not anyone is watching or anyone cares. And I love them for it.

Tulips are my teachers. And they are totally worth the backache.

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