At Play in the fields………

Taking country drives as newlyweds was a cheap and lovely means of entertainment. No matter the season, the desire to discover sights unseen, using gas already paid for was like proffered gold. Early Sunday mornings, Saturdays at dusk, always something to see.

In southeast Ohio, delving deep into the back roads, encountering the downtrodden Amish farms of those shunned due to mental illness or alcoholism, not the quaint buttoned down places of the tourist traps, but slightly derelict farmhouses on borrowed time. Fifteen pairs of boots lined up on a peeling porch, slightly askew.

In the deepest depths of winter, sharing the roads with Amish families wedged into buggies, lap-rugged and freezing. Cheeks ablaze with cold. Staunch and hearty. Two lovers grateful for a speedy Honda and blasting heat.

Some favorite roads rollicked through the rolling hills and woodlands; fields fallow for a year or for fifty. Golden in the sunshine, skimmed with snow or mysterious and beckoning in the twilight. Maize and buff, charcoal and siena. Mine eyes were dazzled. Heady stuff, holding hands, young, in love. Buffered.

There were fields like rejected lovers, cast off by a booming oil and gas business in decades past, populated by time warped industrial structures.  Slowly, slowly crept upon by honeysuckle and sumac, grasses and sunflowers.  Fallow farm fields were plenty, crop rotation being practiced, the skin of the mother being allowed to rest, rejuvenate.  Luxuriating in wind and weather, rain and sun. Recharging, sleepily and steadily.

Later, as I began to grow in my gardening life and relocated into suburbia, I read more about crop rotation and organic gardening. Fallow fields and crop rotation almost biblical in its simplicity.  Fields allowed to go dormant not only allowed for recharge but also detoxed in the event any unwelcome, unseen inhabitants had been encouraged by former tenants. Seeds and plants introduced into prepared, rested ground performed better, were healthier. A process ensuring the viability of the soil for generations.

In 2014 I completed the first year of the last half of my century.  A year of momentous change, risk taking, decisions made.  When I left corporate life in 2013, I took the plunge and changed gears a bit.  Became a consultant.  Yes, the C word.  But still “employed”, bringing in the bacon.  But I found myself becoming unhappier and unhappier.  In 2014, I decided I had lived through enough unhappiness, it was ridiculous to perpetuate it further with a bad professional choice.  Roughly mid year, I cut the cord.  God had guided me through some pretty nasty sailing thus far, a small thing like income was a no brainer for a guy like him.  So I trusted and leapt.

There was plenty to do.  Remodeling was still ongoing in my mid-century modern.  Basement to finish, mudroom to design.  Being a “doer” meant I did as much as I could on my own. But it seemed disaster followed disaster as my aging home rebelled, and like a furious diva extracted a pound of flesh for every improvement forced on her structure. Sometime in the fall, I was beyond exhausted.  Four plus years of grief, depression, loneliness and remodeling had drained my reserves.  I was spent.

I had been reading two books “Letting Go” and “God Will Make A Way” to try and move myself forward.  Instead, the onion peeling work of “Letting Go” seemed to increase the malaise in which I found myself.  The late summer cloaked me in the wet wool of an even deeper depression.  And I thought the first year was tough.  But somehow, as I became immersed in “God Will Make A Way”, a curious thing began to happen, and I wasn’t even going to the forum.  The work of the first book led me to the path of the second.  “Letting Go” was beginning to happen.  I was on the right path.

The time was right to become fallow.  And I understood I needed no one’s permission but my own. After 26 years in the corporate trenches and a year as a consultant, it was time to recharge.   I had lost my roots in the creative arts, in music, in dance.  They had been lost to the pressures of being a contributor to a marriage, a household, a professional life.  An unnecessary casualty of an unexamined life.

My mind and body began their dormancy. Wet wool began to lift.   I wanted to dance for the first time in years.  So I took salsa lessons.  I bought a canvas and a sketch book.  Every day items are becoming evocative of a possible hidden life, an artistic use.  Last night, I couldn’t sleep because I was mentally exploring a new art project.  Heady.

Surprising and yet not surprising that the dust of our bodies works like the soil of the earth.  2015, looking for a year of happiness, of health, of creativity.  Long live the Mother, and may she rest.