Category Archives: stress

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┬ápodcast. 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! []