The fires are raging outside Portland, near Salem, and Beavercreek. Amber evacuated her animals. Her horses are safe and her dogs and cats with her. One draft horse wouldn’t load. They spent hours. The ashes and heat got so bad they had to give up, and it was long past time to go. Clare, over in Gaston, is taking in more animals every hour. She has 10 horses in the barn already, six more on the way, and just set out to pick up 25 sheep. Thank God for neighbors.
Can you imagine? I can’t. I wasn’t home when it happened to us. Ironically, when Screech Owl burned down, I was in Portland. That was 2009. It’s been just over a decade now, and still she stands, waiting. We have a few more years of schooling and then the time will open up, to return, repair, and restore.
Unlike the dry west, it rained all summer here after we enjoyed a long and glorious dry Spring, with Covid keeping us home- an extremely beautiful Spring. We were the lucky ones, appreciating the opportunity to stop, slow way down, and just be together. Not all enjoyed that luxury of course. Many, like Colette, gave countless hours. I spent a good many myself, at the sewing machine throughout April making masks for law enforcement. The officers were so gracious and grateful, that repaid every moment spent in spades.
Officers. What a tragic year this has been in so many, many ways. I do wonder how the children will share the tale in hindsight. The phrase will never be the same. Neither will we: not my job, education in general, race relations, the economy, the dollar, the food system, our country, our culture.
The list goes on for me personally. My friendships have changed. My goals have collapsed. One friend is dying of cancer and choosing not to call it by name. Another called me racist and kicked me out of her life. She might be right, and ‘yet and still’, we all need to learn tolerance. I think she and I will mend, in time, as the earth grows back after fires. As for the other one, she may rise like a Phoenix as well – faith needn’t falter.
My priorities have clarified and narrowed intensely. The only purpose now is to know and love the earth, live well with her, and celebrate the gift of Creation – yes, with a capital C. Someone is the progenitor. This is no accident. Living in gratitude, increasing in competence and sharing what’s available, we walk into the next decade for Farm School, staying put where we’re planted.