Here’s to July.

I was going to write about our tractor today. I watched it disappear down our quiet country road this morning as my husband and son headed a few hours north to deliver it to the friends who are buying it from us as we liquidate our farm. Somehow, although I know melancholy to be kin to the endings of things, the fresh grief of that moment was not what I expected as I buckled the boy into his carseat and kissed them both goodbye.

And maybe I will write more about that. There’s lots on my mind. I’m reflecting a lot these days on what our ambitions looked like six or seven years ago, and on my first three years as a mother too. The tractor’s all tied up with all of that.

But right now? You know – the sun is beating down on my shoulders like it wants to be late May. My scarf is too heavy. The chickens are warbling and the dishwasher is running and my belly is full of curried sweet potato soup. I think I’m gonna chase this feeling.

Sunflower. July 2012, Virginia.

Sunflower. July 2012, Virginia.

On my drive home from the library not an hour ago, I was listening to the latest The Kitchen Hour podcast. About halfway through, Meagan and her guest, yoga teacher and coach Kate Hanley of Ms. Mindbody, speak about the retreats Kate leads. Kate mentions trying to see yourself on your best day six months from now. And damn if that wasn’t exactly what I needed to hear.

I believe very strongly that feeling more peace is not about getting to the (totally imaginary) day where all my stress is gone, that I’ve got a whole lot of tools in my stress-reduction arsenal right now. My favorites, which I employ with seriously varying degrees of frequency and skill, are: eating real food, getting sleep, taking walks, meditating, practicing gratitude, dancing in the kitchen, and drinking lots of coffee with my friends. I think even when I can’t change a dang thing about what’s going on, these things are huge. I guess that’s when they’re hugest. It’s also when they’re hardest.

Things are hard right now.

But Kate mentioned six months from now and this image popped into my head, simple and crisp. It feels so lovely that I kind of want to just quietly tuck it in my pocket. But I’ll write it down and put it out there. With footnotes, because maybe the edges of this image aren’t so clearly defined if you’re not me:

It’s maybe 4:30pm on a clear late July Tuesday. I’m on our back deck1 with my son and we’re grilling2 whatever is growing then3 and maybe also some home-raised chicken. The peach and blueberry pie we made earlier is cooling inside on the kitchen counter. I’m happy because all the financial loose ends from our old farm have been tied up for a couple months now. I’m happy because later in the week I’m taking the train into the city, solo, for a People’s University where I used to work. I’m happy because my husband will be in from the fields in another hour and we’re going to eat this food and drink some cold beer while the sun goes down and the fireflies appear4. I’m happy.

Here’s to July.

  1. We have a real deck at our new place! []
  2. It’s silly but I’m afraid of grilling; hoping this year is the year I get over that. There’s a fantastic double-page spread in Dinner: A Love Story (the book) where author Jenny Rosenstrach confesses her fear of grilling to her husband Andy in the form of a letter, and he writes back with a sweet and simple primer. You can get a taste over at this blog post on the same topic. []
  3. Zucchini and onions, maybe? []
  4. Are there fireflies in the Hudson Valley? Someone please tell me yes! []

11 thoughts on “Here’s to July.

  1. Meagan Francis

    I loved this vision for your July, Lisa – what a wonderful way to “see” past where you are now, and where you want to go. I know that I could always use a little dose of July in January 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the podcast!

    1. Lisa

      Thanks, Meagan! It was so remarkable. It’s a pretty picture for me, that back deck, but it also really helped me articulate the specific things I wish were resolved or true right now. It’s easy when I’m very stressed for it all to be such a jumble. Naming it all — especially naming what I want — makes it feel manageable.

  2. Julia Timmons

    I love your vision and I think I can begin to see it a bit with you. I have been thinking about you a LOT these days. With my new job I am very tired in the evenings, but I HAVE to make a time with you to get together soon! Hang in there and keep up those future visions. For me at this point in my life, when I am really stressed or can’t sleep, I go to visions of my family farm. I transport myself to my bedroom and “walk” down the steps, through the living room and kitchen, onto the porch and out through the yard to the field. From there I might go and lay in the warm sunshine with my head resting on my horse’s neck while he is laying on the ground, or I might walk up and down the rolling hills with him on lead behind me (or with the dogs romping with me, or both) to the woods, down the path till I reach a point where I veer off through the trees and end up at my rock, where I sit and look down on the babbling creek below and contemplate the peace around me. It is an amazing healing experience. My wish for you is that in the days to come, you will be able also to look back to these days and reflect on these amazing times you had in Virginia with a smile and a warmth that likely eludes you right now!

  3. Nik

    I’m sorry things are hard right now. Keep looking at that list of things to look forward to. XO

    I have family up in the Hudson Valley. They totally have fireflies. YAY!

  4. Lisa Coffee

    I’m a July baby. Born right in the middle of the month, on my Dad’s birthday. I love July. This image you’re conjuring up is absolutely spot on.

    May it be so.

  5. Hullabaloo Homestead

    Yes there are fire flies! If you’ve got fields you’ll have them…my birthday is July 13th! I’m afraid of grilling too. We moved up here last year to farm. We’ve been struggling financially for way too long. I’m interested in reading more of your story. I get the feeling we’ve got a lot in common.


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