Ode to the Farm

May 28, 2010

Kristin

Garden swingI have been trying for a long time to put into words how I feel about this “farm”.  I can’t find any other way to explain it other than to say it has been the one constant in my life.  Since I was born this place has always been here, a place of comfort and belonging.  In the midst various family crises – multiple international moves, my uncle’s life-threatening illness, my father’s alcoholism, the death of my grandparents, the dissolution of a cousin’s marriage – the farm was here, like a lighthouse beaconing to bring in the weary sailors.  The farm is where I spent Y2K, the summer after my freshman year of college, and now this first year of motherhood.

The first time we moved to the United States from Latin America, this is where we came.  We celebrated my third birthday in the kitchen.  I got a Pound Puppies puzzle.  At age 5, the first thing I ever read on my own – out loud, without my parents prompting – was the sign at the head of the driveway carved by our late neighbor, Andy Lee, “Gravel Road. Please drive slowly. 10 mph.”

When we moved back to Latin America, the farm was where we always came for Christmas, Thanksgiving and summer holidays.  One summer, when my parent’s marriage looked like it might be writing its final chapter, my taciturn Grandpa decided to teach my sister and I how to fish.  My sister and I bickered so much; Grandpa told us we scared the fish away, because we didn’t catch anything.

During the summers we spent long days outside – in the pool, on the swing set, playing croquet or drinking lemonade on the porch.  We discovered cicadas, watched thunderstorms and lit fireworks.  In the winter we put together puzzles, played games, made crafts out of popsicle sticks that gathered dust and watched satellite T.V. using the precursor to DISH Network – a satellite the size of a small car that you could hear turning outside whenever you changed the channel.  It was everything a kid (and later a teenager and even later an adult) could ever want.

This is one of the reasons I wanted to do this project.  To be honest, I could care less about farming or rural life.  That part makes Caleb happy.  I enjoy the communal living – housework and cooking doesn’t seem as arduous when split 4 ways, and I like the challenge of being genuine and honest with not just a spouse but to other people as well.  Beyond that, my main motivation was to spend time here again.  I want Lucy to experience everything this place has to offer – not just the great amenities, but the emotional safety of having a family and a place that you know will always be there.

Comments

Kristin– you have written the lyrics to a lovely life song. I too echo your feelings about the farm being a bulwark in the storm but also a magical place where frogs get autobiographical films and hot air balloons show up for dinner. Place defines our life together– and our roots have been planted in Virginia on a hill where whipoorwills call. Love, mom

Marilu Thomas aka Mom — May 31, 2010

Kristin, that was very beautiful and well stated, I hope you can continue that legacy for you children as well. Bonnie

Bonnie — June 3, 2010