Saturday, May 16, 2015

Running and rock moving

For the last almost four years I've used running as my path to sanity. All those endorphins working out all the stress of two children under 13 months. And two children under two. And under three....

I go out with shoulders up to my ears, jaws clenching, and one million thoughts circling-not sure if there is room for any of them to land. Push push push through the first mile and then my legs are like robot legs. They just keep moving. And all those thoughts suddenly have found a way out of my head. The running jogs them from their spot and slowly sifts them down through my body and out my heels where I leave them on the sidewalk. Until only the important thoughts are left. Breathe, run, think. Then stop thinking. The thoughts, even the important ones have been sifted out and it's just me. Moving. Breathing. I feel rested in those moments. The moments where the thoughts have cleared out.

It's my favorite.

BUT. I live in Wyoming. Where the winter is snowy. And while not much colder than other places, still cold. And I just decided this winter I was not even going to pretend that I was going to run in the snow. I Not doing it. I'm not that hardcore runner. And I don't really want to be.

The winter was fine. I skied and sledded and swam and practiced yoga and watched for the return of running weather. And found a race I was super into running. A half in the Red Desert of WYO. 'It would be beautiful!' I thought. I was getting excited and scheduling out my training plan and then we bought a fixer upper. And I knew I needed to put my running practice off for another couple of months. And now. Now we are here in this space. And things are settling, however slowly, and I'm ready to lace up my shoes again.

But here's the thing. Today I carried 50? 75? 10-30lbs rocks 20? 30? yards and arranged them in a circle for an inaugural bonfire at fox valley tonight. Then I shoveled gravel out of a flower bed so we can plant flowers instead of rocks. And then I moved our wood pile. And then we biked up the road and back down a lot of times. And then we walked up the road to our mailbox...

...and after all that I felt pretty sane. Not quite the same, but it seems that living at fox valley is going to be exercise enough.

(But I'll still go for the first run of the season tomorrow)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

An Introduction to Fox Valley

I'm sitting on my bed. Which is in my dining room.
There is a pile of cardboard unbelievably high from all the unpacking.
There are only half the number of cabinets we ordered because, backorder! and also, wrong thing.
There is a dog who will not stay inside his fenced area.
There is construction dust and muddy paw prints all over the new floor.
There is dust and muddy paw prints on the stairs.
There is a skill saw on saw horses in my beautiful sacred space sun room.
There is also a kitchen sink and more flooring than we need to finish the house.
There are two mouse traps.
There is a pile of construction garbage outside the beautiful sacred space sun room which really hinders the view.
There are gigantic holes in the ceiling where you used to hit your head going up the stairs.
There is only ply wood covering the upstairs bathroom floor.
A hideous yellow bathroom sink.
There are weeds weeds weeds. I don't even know how to get rid of them all except to get a goat-I'm seriously considering this.
There is a mountain view out my dining room window that stops me every time I walk by. Makes me take a breath and feel alive.
There is a family of foxes living just beyond our property line that come out in the evening to run and play and we are the audience.
There are wildflowers of purple pink yellow white growing all over our 2 little acres.
There is a wood stove that warms things cozily in the still chilly evenings and in the early mornings.
There are new pet caterpillars and the happiest kids.
There are kids who are learning that the world-the backyard world-is their oyster.
There is so little traffic. So little noise.
There are friendly neighbors.
There is a sunroom! Facing south-sun all the time inside!
There are a lot of windows everywhere.
There are elk bugling from the pass not so far away that can be heard while pulling all those weeds weeds weeds.
There are friends who have helped in so many ways to help make this place a home.

It still needs so much love, but Fox Valley is home. More than home. We walk in and feel an exhale. Like we walked into vacation. A place to build love and family. A place to host friends and family and bring them into our vacation. This place where we get to watch foxes play out our dining room window.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

For the love of mom.

My mom is a beautiful soul. She wanted my brother and I to have long, deep, thick roots that would give us what we needed to reach the sky. And we have. 

She loves without reservation or invitation. Which grew in me a confidence to embrace the world and not fear it. It’s because of her that I said yes to living in a small West African country for a year, and moved to the isolated wild west, and take my babies backpacking, and go on as many more adventures in all the books we read. 

There aren’t so many words for her. When I think of her I feel at rest. And I feel contentment. And I feel understood. Those feelings all mingle around inside me into this delicious cocktail that is being loved.

I’m finally understanding the sacrifices that were made for my benefit. The financial ones (private schools aren’t cheap!), the emotional ones (I would lay on her bed, while she was clearly ready to sleep and parlé parlè parlè), the practical ones (she showed up at ALL the events in which I participated in school). 

And the endless teaching she did. Teaching me how to take care of myself, and how to cook, and how to love to be outside...We lived on our front porch and on our deck and in our pop-up camper from April-October.

I wasn’t grateful then. But I am now.

Isn’t that the thing about parenting? Delayed gratification? Most don’t enjoy parenting but very much enjoy having parented.

And now it’s my turn. I feel I’m paying her back in some small way by loving her grandchildren.

And as we were driving around in the warmth that feels like summer is on the way (the day before a Wyoming spring snow storm) I hear the sweet little voice of my three and a half year old, 
‘Momma you love me even when I’m cranky, right?’ 
I’m not sure why he asked it, his tone suggested confidence not inquiry. 
I said ‘Absolutely’. 
He said ‘And you love me even when I am not listening and really cranky.’ 

And my heart felt full and proud and maybe a little bit melty because this little soul 
knows regardless of what the circumstances are-I will be loving him.

And, for me at least, it feels like I’ve arrived. Or accomplished something. Or maybe just won the jack pot. Because isn’t that just IT? That’s the point. “No matter what, you will always have a place to feel a delicious cocktail of feelings called ‘Being Loved’”

Friday, February 20, 2015

The light is coming back.

We made it through the dark parts of winter and it always feels like their should some sort of huge celebration for that. The darkness is so hard. And we don't even live in a place where it is dark for the whole day. Every evening the artificial lights stay off for a few minutes longer because the natural light is still working just fine.  It is the best part of winter.

It's not just a physical thing.

We have been, by turns, patiently and not very patiently at all waiting for things to happen. For a house to show up that we loved and could afford. For a job that was more than just a paycheck.

And apparently I am not made of the stuff that is able to be at home all day every day without needing to be checked into an asylum. I thought I might be. But I'm not. It took four and a half years to realize that my love for academia did not die when I had babies.

And now.

Now I get to work with books. I have an unending, incalculable love for books and words and turning pages and stories and information. Even information I already know. I'll read it again. And the truth is I actually really do like children. And babies. Over the last three and a half years, since Bub was born I thought that part of me disappeared. I had exactly enough interest, patience, etc. for my two...and even sometimes that was hard. I was overwhelmed.
And now that I don't change 20 diapers every day  I can again see the beauty of all the little souls.
And I get to read them books. And teach them songs.  And help their mommas have something to do to get out the house in the winter.

And now their is a new job on the horizon that would be more than a paycheck.

And a house, after a lot of work, would be what we have dreamed of... Land, logs, sunrooms, windows, a place for chickens, garden, and mountains!

I feel stretched a little thin these days-there are so many things I want to do and places I want to go and people I really love and really want to see and spend time with.

But what a lovely problem to have. And continues to be such a lesson in choosing wisely and being intentional with my time.

And it's probably melodramatic to say that this is all the end of winter and darkness for our lives- but it seemed really appropriate as I was watching the sun come up while I was writing. And that's my prerogative as the author isn't it? To exaggerate things if it makes for a better story? If you a disagree don't answer that question.