I’ve been absent from this space for longer than I planned. If I’m being perfectly honest, these last few weeks have been harder for me than I expected them to be. It turns out I don’t do death very well.
Sometimes all you have the energy to do, mentally and emotionally, is the necessities of daily life: feeding and clothing and nurturing children, keeping the house from caving in on itself (although I will admit that here I am lucky to have a partner who pitches in more than his fair share; left to my own devices I’d likely be digging out of a mound of dirty dishes and laundry to be washed). I haven’t wanted to write here; I haven’t read in the places I usually do. Yesterday I gave up all pretense of keeping up with my reading and just marked my entire feed read. (Friends: I hope I didn’t miss any important news.)
I suppose I’ve been a bit depressed. I recognize the feeling, of course. I’m unused to having an actual reason for it; typically I find myself mired down in it for no reason at all, just in the course of life, and by the time I recognize where I am, I’ve almost climbed out of it.
As I am today: ready to step back in to this space and share with you some glimpses into the past few weeks.
It’s been half a month or more since our trip north, to the shores of Lake Ontario, to pick blueberries. Our friend Art has been going to this farm for years. It is marked by a little sign half-hidden in the roadside scrub and even though he was there just the week before, Art had to make a quick stop-and-turn in order not to miss it.
We spent the afternoon picking berries, four buckets between the five of us. In the end we came home with 18 pounds of blueberries, most of which are in our freezer to use in yogurt and smoothies through the winter. (I’d already made jam with berries from the farmers market the week before; next year I think I’ll plan a berry-picking trip before I make jam.) Oh, and we ate a ton of them, and (the adults) drank more Blueberry Crush, and I began a blueberry liqueur to give away at Christmas. (Is it too early to start thinking about Christmas?)
On the way home we stopped at Olcott Beach and played near the lake for a while. Julia and Asher were amazed at the size of it: nothing but water as far as they eye can see. They thought it was an ocean, like near Grammie and Pop-pop’s house.
We went back to my grandmother’s house to stay for a few days last week. George was called to work in Hartford at the beginning of the week and we decided to drive down with him. He dropped us off at her house on Sunday evening and picked us up on the (very roundabout) way back to Buffalo on Wednesday afternoon.
I lived with my grandparents during the summers when I was in college, working at a seaside restaurant (that, sadly, is no more) to earn the money to pay for the next year’s schooling. These days, living so far away, we are only ever there when a million other people are: at holidays or birthdays or…funerals. It was so nice to spend a few quiet days there: so familiar, still, even though so much has changed.
In between trips to my grandmother’s, Julia and Asher attended Peace Camp at a church on our street. They had so much fun learning about animals and the environment and conservation and how to be good stewards of the earth, with a bit of the Golden Rule alongside it all, and they talked about little else for the entire week. Our family’s spiritual practice is quite a bit different from theirs, but we feel fortunate to have such wonderful and welcoming neighbors.
This week, after all our travel and a long holiday weekend, we are settling back into our usual rhythms. I tore through the dining room and living room over the weekend, cleaning and rearranging; our living room hardly looks like the same space, and the change is like a breath of fresh air.
School begins this week in Buffalo, although for us it began weeks ago; still, it is a signal that fall is coming. (Fall is coming!) My favorite time of year; the perfect time to begin again.