She sits at the old kitchen table — a cold cup of coffee in her hands. The room glows with soft morning light on the papered walls of the home she has come to love. Her heart aches for it seems impossible that she should lose or leave this sanctuary — this place she has called home. The sounds of the children playing in the yard seem distant. Surely they are laughing, swinging in the trees, and chasing butterflies. She thinks of that sound now. Will it be replaced by the constant noise of the city?
She can hear a mother cow softly call to its calf and the sweet songs of the morning birds. A tractor starts in the yard and an auger rumbles away. The horses will soon have babies, too, and she longs for the long slender legs of life to unfold. The chickens are happy as they always are — farm bosses ready to let the world know what they think of these glorious days.
It all seems so normal — so blessedly normal — that she cannot picture her life any other way.
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She scans the room for photographs of their beginning, and the progress they made building this farm. The simple home repaired repeatedly, the huge garden that sustained them in winter, and the aerial photographs of ‘then and now.’ Her eyes rest on the faces of the women who farmed before her — those strong and enduring characters with hands for the sick and for the task of harvest. They went without a great deal of comforts or rest and seemed to be OK with much of their circumstance. Did they ever wish for something different?
She thinks of him — the man she was certain to grow old with.
What happened to their story? He has hurt her in ways she never imagined. Was she to blame? Or did life just turn mouldy and slowly take away the dreams she thought they once shared? The women next door, the Internet chatter, the lies, and all those missing moments that are now totally irreplaceable. How often she sat here alone in complete and utter confusion trying to piece her life back together like the patchwork quilt that her grandmother had made, the one which still covers their cold and lifeless wedding bed.
She is afraid.
The animals have always been in her care and she cannot leave them now. The very tiles on the floor beneath her feet hold the history of their lives and the generations before them. Every tree and flower blooms from the care of her hand. There are families who come to play with their children. There are roots so deep that she cannot imagine lifting her feet to walk out the door. Her body is weighed down by the reality of the day and despite the warming sun, she shivers in her quiet space — wishing for the sadness to leave and life to begin again.
It does at some time begin again. It begins in the unconditional love of her children who will thrive and survive wherever they are because they, by nature, embrace the cycle of life. It begins with the helping hands who commit to loving her creatures and continuing with their care. It begins when she separates her being from her belongings, and begins to see the possible within that lightness. It begins when she stops believing the lies will disappear or the cycle will break, and accepts that her partner has made another choice.
She can run this farm and may. She can leave this farm and may. She does not know at this point what the final outcome is of this now fragmented relationship — she only knows she was part of building something great and that together they provided a beautiful space for the children’s formative years.
A good farmer, she knows those plants and creatures in her care flourished. An honourable woman, she knows she prayed and stayed until the day came when the truth threaded its way into these very walls, shattering her fragile heart. A good friend, she has not been unkind or demanding, just reflective.
It is late and the sun is resting at the 12th hour.
She sits alone with cold coffee in hand making peace with their history and celebrating her victories in life. She forgives herself and feels the possible. It draws her in. And as the final shadows of the day tuck themselves into the corners of those papered walls she gives thanks: for her journey, for her people, for the farm.
The floors and walls will record her presence for future generations and other hands will toil over this old table. Birds will sing. Children will play. Hearts will heal.
She is not lost — she is beginning.