Wherein My Wife Serita Takes a Turn

My wife Serita recently agreed to do a video for a kid’s news show called Channel One News. It aired last week, and I think it turned out great.

I will allow the video to introduce Serita and her work.

If you think really hard, you may see a connection between Serita’s work and my writing.

The video includes three stories. Serita’s is the third. It starts at 2:30.

Click the link to see the video.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1CzED22qLnt1nFSHZiK8wtemrLZZB2TJ0/view?ts=5ae660eb

May the earth we live on likewise live within us

In driving rain yesterday, I sat out a new planting of asparagus, thinking several times as I worked to give it up until drier weather. But in the end I held on, and so the job was done and twenty-some asparagus crowns from New Jersey overnighted for the first here in New Hampshire.

And also yesterday in maybe even colder rain, I planted apple trees, old heirloom varieties I brought home on Saturday from Plainfield, Vermont. Consider for a second their names:

Westfield Seek-No Further
Ashmead’s Kernel
Black Oxford
Stembridge Cluster
Esopus Spitzenburg

Is life fine-tuned a bit when we look out the kitchen window and, seeing an apple tree, think Ashmead’s Kernel? when we say the words? Do the trees we live with, the plants, the architecture, the sounds, the predominate slant of the sun—do these things influence our lives in ways we don’t realize? Is working in rain actually a kind of gift? Is the coming of spring, the coming of spring, the reoccurring coming of spring profoundly more important than we understand?

Quetzal told me a week ago that she is going to “live like a wild child this summer.” I’m not sure what that means, but I’m all for it, and I suggest we join her as best we can.

May the earth we live on likewise live within us.

carry on, guys.

Of Death and Dying

My mother-in-law passed a few nights ago, and when the news came my wife, daughter, and I huddled together by the bed and said little. We had been expecting her death day after day, night after night, and now that it was over we waited silently in the finality of that knowledge.

It was raining that night, and when I went alone later to the main part of our house, the sound of the rain drumming on our metal roof seemed especially melancholic, and I instinctively went to a window for its rare comfort: the sadness,  the melancholy, my mother-in-law’s last years with dementia, my Mennonite backstory, the cold fact of death and dying…

And this, too, a memory:

How once in Pennsylvania when I was very young and playing by the creek that curved through our farm, I spotted a fish. It was on the surface of the water and close to the bank, and I could see its eye. Knelling down on my hands and knees, I reached into the water for the fish and hooked it to the line of my homemade  fishing pole. And then, the fish dangling in front of me, I raced up to the house to show someone. Walking directly into the kitchen, I called out the news:

Look! I caught a fish!

My mother, turning to learn my meaning, stopped what she was doing and immediately started laughing. She had both hands at her waist, elbows out.

I caught it, I said. A fish.

But Wilmer, she said.

What?

You caught it by the tail. Are you sure you didn’t catch it dead?

I caught it in the creek, I said.

Yes, but…

But she was laughing and smiling and I, suddenly understanding everything, rushed out from the kitchen for the creek, where I unhooked the fish, threw it into the water, and watched it float away upside and dead. When I reached the willow tree where I often played, I squeezed through to its dark open cavity and beat my fists in the darkness. And wept. And said those words the hired men sometimes said.

Pig Skull (again)

Quetzal showed up yesterday (I don’t know why) with a skull we found years ago somewhere on the farm. I remembered later that I had written about it, had posted it on some rendition of this blog, went digging to see if I still had the writing, found it, and so here it is, its second life.


Pig Skull

A skull turned up one morning at our house during an extended Sunday brunch we were hosting for our neighbors. Dave, who lives on the next farm over, had taken the kids for a walk in the woods, and when they returned, they had a skull, a medium-sized, off-white, animal skull that, while broken distinctly into three pieces (cranium, mandible, and single tooth), fit together perfectly.

For awhile the skull was the kids’ thing. They chased each with the point of the tooth; they tricked it out in my new Tingly hat; they pretended to make the jaw bone talk; they bickered over basic holding rights. Continue reading

A Truthful Account of Things

Just took the photo fifteen minutes ago. And growing (flourishing)  inside the middle house is live spinach and baby kale and the first sign of arugula. So let it snow to my waist, the winds wail. I’ve got greens, spinach salad w/today’s eggs, and at least 20 more baby carrots. Baby carrots and a blizzard! See them there on the table last night haloing plates of kale, roasted walnuts, and goat cheese. And an hour ago Quetzal and I snowshoeing up to the waterfall, and Quetzal and I both leaning in close in the snow, face to the water, drinking, snow-water drinking, down from all sides of Saddleback Mountain, that cold earth love that catapults you well into your 90’s and erases all but the darkest of your sins, soul savior, homeboy…