I’ve been walking around my childhood farm with my inner child, helping her say goodbye to all her favorite places, and get used to the idea that we would never live there again.  Decades later, the loss is as palpable as the day I realized they meant it – we were really moving, selling the farm.  It hit me like a truck.  I never recovered.  I never mothered that girl through the mourning, until now.

Under the maple trees out front is where I met her, crying, saying goodbye to each blade of grass under the row of stately ancients, who have stood with this house for over 100 years.

We walked.  First, into the harvest room, with it’s cool brick floors, where we processed chickens and canned beans in the big double sink; out here is where we ground wheat for bread that Mom made every week.  These are the big windows we opened from the inside to reach into the raised beds, cold frames that kept tomatoes safe and that we could get to from inside; there is the well under the kitchen floor; and out in the barn, climb the stairs and climb the ladder up into the huge bin of oats in the loft, the one they come and pour hundreds of pounds of feed into each year, where we swim in the hulls; over there is the straw and hay we bale each summer and put up. We are careful not to break them and we make forts all through them; down there is where we make the igloos in huge piles of snow Dad would make with the tractor bucket, with rooms so big we could make fires in there and sleep.  Across the orchard is our huge in-ground pool where I have my pool party at the end of the school year.

We are farmers. My home is a big white 1850s farmhouse on a hill, with the biggest swing set anyone has ever seen because Dad made it out of telephone poles.  This s my pony who is so naughty, but she is mine, and one day I will have a horse of my own, who I will ride with my beloved riding teacher. This is where I am from; this is who I am.

To be away from my farm is to not be myself.  How could I ever leave? How could I ever live without this which is my essence, my self, my core, my identity. I am Celia from Flowering Rod Farm.  What do you mean we are leaving?  What will happen to me?  You are ripping me out of my soil.  I will be lost, forever.

Woods, fields, farm, flowers

You are my home forever

I’ll never forget.

2 Replies to “Mothering”

  1. I just finished your essay in Heartspace II and am over the moon. It penetrated my heart, especially your rage at your suburban neighbors. At 68 I am struggling with issues of purpose while giving thanks for my work as a small-town Southern mystic. My poor neighbors need food and gas money I am able to provide. Grace found me a huge oak, a huge maple, tiny poplars just out of the ground, a wonderful wife and a dog whose birthday is today. The struggle often gives way to gratitude. Your essay inspired that.

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