The In-between

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I almost became a goat cheese farmer. 

When I crawled out from under the bed, once Canada was decided upon, the question became, okay, but where? 

I’ve always been a foodie.

I love to cook.

Sicilian blood runs within me; I was reared in Southern hospitality. I really didn’t have a choice. It’s as much me as my breath.

So when my husband told me about a goat cheese farm for sale in Quebec I was buying rubber boots and getting the baguettes ready. 

Now neither of us know anything about goats. We don’t even eat much cheese. But the idea of getting dirty, creating something with our own hands, passing down a tradition to our children was delicious. 

My husband hopped on a plane to NY, rented a car, and drove deep into the Quebec countryside, while I stayed in Uganda dreaming of Billy Goat Gruff. 

The farm wasn’t what we thought. The house in need of too much work. The area a bit too secluded. But it was food. And it was dirt. 

What I craved: to be close to nature; to garden; to bathe the kids in leaves; to reconnect with something higher.

To see stars.        

 

      “…. I think the girl

           knelt down somewhere in the woods

           and drank the cold water of some

           wild stream, and wanted 

           to live.”   –Mary Oliver

 

—one of my strongest memories of childhood are hot summer nights, sticky skin, heavy air, catching lightning bugs in jars. When I think of childhood I think of that wild light, captured only briefly to stare at in wonder. The wild stream of endless summer nights that call me still—

I wanted to give my children the wild. 

 

 

 

5 thoughts on “The In-between

  1. Sometimes our desires merely considered transform us and become part of our vision for life. Once again a wonderful piece.

  2. Tell me your life you write. Since my life is 25 years longer than yours, I will give snippets here and snippets there in my future comments, because the extra 25 years add much more to my experiences in my interesting journey. Your photos are not only beautiful, but each one tells a story. Since no one can fully walk in another’s shoes, we are left to interpret the story from our own life’s perspective. For instance, the picture of the flower with the white fruit, I guess, sprekeld on the yellow flowers reminds me of parmesan cheese. The question to wonder is did that appear to me because of my own life’s experiences, or was it because you mentioned Sicily and goat cheese? And Parma is a town in Italy. The post with the little branch pictured looked to me immediately as a grasshopper. Thank you Dr. Rorshack.

    It is hard to categorize oneself because we are all unique as well as connected to every other human being. As the great Jewish philosopher Martin Buber wrote, The ‘I and the We” or ‘Thou and You’. In your writing, I see so much of you in me: your love of nature, creative bent, human values, unconventionality, and unselfish care of the other. Yet, I have differences because the mix of experiences in my life and those of everyone is unique. Like our surname represents our connectedness to others, and our first name separates us from the rest.

    I am a city boy raised and still live in the Chicago area. Couldn’t wait to get away from home as a teen; didn’t like rules that controlled my life. I was released by my bondage going to college. That led to graduate school, and then more graduate school. Surprisingly, in spite of my disdain for rules, as a teen I wanted to be a trial attorney. I had all the requisites. I have been often told, to be a great one. Lacking the wisdom of youth, yet surprisingly wise at times, I decided before choosing a college to reject this for several reasons that still hold today. The main one was that I did not want to devote my life to making money serving the needs of individuals, but I would rather work at something that had social utility. In particular, I could not see my life representing someone I knew who was guilty. I wanted to sleep well at night. My calling, helping others. Ironically if I became a litigator, I probably would have been dead by 45. Why? I know I would have been great at it.

    Extreme success would have me traveling around the country putting in 13-14 days, making lots of money even though I could only drive one car at a time. Unbeknownst to me, I had a genetic heart problem or atherosclerosis that killed every male member of my nuclear family including my only sibling at the age of 58. I have lived longer that all of them, even though I came within weeks of dying at age 50 as the ‘widows artery’, the largest in the heart, was 95% closed. Why did I survive and thrive? Irony of irony. So my whole career has been spent as a professor of political science, the study and application of law, rules ,structure, and disorder. Irony of ironies for one who always chaffed at rules. I have frequently said that on my tombstone, I wanted the saying, “He who thought all rules were made to be broken” to be chiseled.

    Except for a relatively brief period at the beginning of my career, because I was a specialist in national security affairs, I possessed an ID from the Department of Defense. Irony again. I stayed at, as my base of operations, on military bases on two continents. My ID said I had the civilian equivalent rank of a Colonel. Not bad for a 25 year old. I guess my work was important enough, this high ranking prevented any uniformed military below the rank of general or admiral from interfering with my work. Again irony of irony. Life is full of them.

    Like you, as a city boy, knowing mostly concrete and asphalt, I always wanted to be near nature. I swallowed pecks of dirt living in a city park on the ball field every day each summer. I used to stare as a kid out of the front window in a large apartment building at the branches of a catalpa tree, so close I could almost reach out and touch them. I became a birdman fascinated with their behavior. And fascinated by the design intricacies of the branches. And flies swarming around in the summer. The bane of my existence. I would play line-ball (like stickball for New Yorkers)in the alley by the trash bins. Sanitation in those days was not like today. Every time I swatted at the ball swinging, I must have killed several flies. At night, with no air conditioning and microscopic screen tears, flies used to buzz my ears while I was trying to fall asleep. I really wanted to take off and fly away to the moon. Tony Bennett used to sing a song with that title; always thought it was invented in honor of my misery.

    Hog I am not, so I will end until future replies to your posts, stirring thoughts connecting my life to your experiences.

    Seymour Schwartz

    1. Seymour, thank you so much for sharing this. I absolutely loved reading every word. “I really wanted to take off and fly away to the moon.” How beautiful. See, that story! Once there was a young boy with ripped screens and flies, dreaming of the moon. In every window, in every home, someone is dreaming, laughing, crying, sleeping. These things touch me so deeply. I look forward more ‘snippets’.

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