Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Changing

When you see something every day, it's easy to miss the subtle changes that vastly change the greater picture. It is true of many things.
I've been pondering this thought lately... I thought of it the other day while taking a walk with a friend. Early in spring (truthfully, when we still had snow in the forecast) we walked the woods and trails and noticed each miraculous plant and flower emerging from winter sleep. We were springtime detectives, noticing any bit of new growth.As we walked the same trails yesterday, we both giggled over how enamoured with spring (OK, desperate for it!) we were a couple short months ago. And while we still love foraging and our nature hikes, it is only the truly amazing or spectacularly large plants that catch our attention these days. As the spring rain, warmer temps, and (literally) a full day's sun lights on our Great North, the world has started growing so quickly that you can hardly even imagine the icy winter or the need for the wood stove.

I had a similar reminder of how much a thing can change this week. I'm not usually a big fan of things like Facebook. Aside from the fact that without Internet at the cabin which makes it tough to post often (a necessity, apparently), I am usually not prone to the otherwise ridiculous banter of things like that. "My dog farted and it was gross", and various other amazing things that people feel the need to share. (In all fairness though, I do occasionally post such ridiculousness, if only to fit in with my peers.) Otherwise, it's (supposedly) a tool to keep in touch.

Anyhoo...I found a handful of old friends from my paramedic days. Most of them are still hauling patients out of ditches and living the night life of sirens and coffee. I love my old friends. I really do. And I loved my old life.
I didn't realize how much a PERSON could change until I began catching a few of my old friends up on the Life and Times of Moose Nuggets. I have two more kids than most of them remember me having. I worked a full time job (for pay!) back then. Most of them can tell you that they couldn't ever even imagine me having the temperament to parent, much less be a farmer in the North.
One of them sent me a wonderful, heartfelt email. I had almost forgotten old nicknames I had on the ambulance (I'll spare you and my dignity of those!). This friend even told me they just couldn't imagine me in the life I describe here on my blog. I found that odd for a moment (what ELSE would I be doing???) and then it dawned on me,
I have changed. A Lot.

I am wrapping my mind around being so different. It happened like Alaska spring... a slow, nearly imperceptible thaw, an emergence of new growth, and suddenly, I am in the middle of an overgrown summer.
To go from trendy VW Bug driving, makeup wearing, espresso drinking, weekly manicure/pedicures, fine dining in trendy restaurants, and having ATTITUDE at ANYTHING "country" or "farmer-ish". Do you know that once upon a time, I dared to routinely utter the words, "I'm bored!" (Oh! I really did!)
I caught myself slowly driving through the mountain passes in my old Suburban. My hair hasn't seen a trim in month. A cup of percolated coffee was held in my dirt stained hands (what's the point of a manicure if you are shovelling chicken poop after breakfast?). I'm sure we probably had moose, caribou, or some kind of fish thawing in the fridge for dinner as I headed home to my farm. My exciting night life these days includes getting the kids and chickens to bed early enough to have energy to knit, or enough time to finish a book.

When did this happen?

A LONG time ago (maybe two years now)I mentioned how Alaska seemed to harbor some kind of vastness or hidden "power" to make you give up things that just aren't important. Two years ago, I was referring to old mind-haunts, things that I had trouble letting go of in my life, wrongs I received or doled out, those things in our minds that generally haunt us to our graves. Being in the vastness of Alaska made me realize they weren't worth holding onto anymore. Ditching those old haunts left me trying to figure out who I was without that anger, espresso, and enough loud city noise to drown out any calling I might have felt to lead me to a quiet place.

My dear friend was thrilled with my new life, even if they can't imagine me being the one living it. The difference between the old me and the current me has been rolling around in my head, and I find myself grinning like a pig in you-know-what as I do the quiet and unimaginable, like wash dishes, hang laundry, feed chickens, and muck out chicken coops.


In Alaska news, we are a day away from Summer solstice. The sun isn't as bothersome this year for me. I haven't even traded out our regular curtains for room darkening ones this year. This is our third spring, and the first one that feels like it's moving all too quickly. Maybe it's the homeownership (and realizing that any repairs and improvements have to be made in the next couple months before ice and snow return), maybe it's the busy-ness of farming, or finally being able to take the little kids exploring and adventuring. This spring flew by, and I have a feeling the summer is going to go just as quickly.
Oh, I won't lament winter time arriving. I still love Alaska in all it's extremes (plus, I'm itching to have time for all my winter hobbies again).

J returned from hunting with a 7'3" black bear. It's off being processed into a rug and sausage. (Also some bear jerky.) He'll be off in a week or so to get salmon, and I'll be busy filleting, wrapping, freezing, and possibly canning to replenish our cache. Our plan to grow, hunt, fish,forage, or raise most of our food is going well. I can't wait until the garden gets productive.

We've had rain and cool temps. I forget that the rest of the counry is sweating and begging for their air conditioning to work. I actually had to light a small fire in the woodstove this morning. The rain falling on a metal roof with a fire crackling in the wood stove and chickens cackling outside the door are just enough to make me giggle... Nope, Toto... we sure aren't where or who we used to be.
I'm okay with that.

Until Next Time,
Happy Moose Trails


LizzyJane said...

Loved your post - life is good and especially if you let yourself grow. God Bless.

JackDaddy said...

Well, I'll just have to ponder this for a while! :)

Anonymous said...

Awesome Post!! I Love reading your blog and actually feeling I'm in Alaska. I would prefer your new life over your old one any day. Glad you are enjoying Alaska and your family!!
How is Little Nugget?
Miz Liz

chuck said...

I'm so glad to see you are back to blogging! I ran across your blog a year or so ago and bookmarked it as I enjoy your style of writing as well as the vast beauty of Alaska.

I wish you and your family well, a bountiful garden, and much love.

Joy from Arkansas

Ma said...

I'm so glad I stumbled across your blog this evening. It's always been a dream of mine to live in Alaska. It's a far cry from where we are in Louisiana! I have enjoyed reading about your farm. I will say a prayer for your daughter that she will be ok. Hope you have a wonderful week.

Estra said...

You are an awesome writer. Haven't checked your blog but a time or two since Hayley & Chuck left. But I remember it was you that intrigued me with Alaska and made me realize that my daughter and granddaughter would be o'kay there. I miss them terribly. They happen to be Salmon fishing also this weekend in Glennallen. Maybe you are going there also and will see them. Small world right? Not!!! Your life seems very interesting. The first year we got a woodburning stove we vowed not to turn on the heat all winter. Was up at 4:00 AM getting firewood to stock the stove before going to work. We didn't turn on the heat all winter. This was just for one year though. I'm a city girl at heart but was so proud of that accomplishment. Anyway I thoroughly enjoyed this post.