Walking the Line

“If you’re going to take a walk, you might as well walk the fence,” he said. “And I know it’ll be down, so better take clips and a hammer and nails, and a spool of barbed wire in the Ranger, and I better come with you.”

I put my book away, switched out my boots, and got a hat and gloves. 

The thing about fencing is you have to keep so everlastingly at it. 

We had saved our trees and money on fence posts by running the fence through the woods. This was what one might call a heart and not a head decision, and we’ve paid for it with our hands. Trees fall, limbs break and you can add barbed wire to the list of things that aren’t what they once were. If we find an old line from a hundred years ago, we can often still use it, but our new lines may not last ten years. The cows walk the fence looking for a weak spot, and when they find it, they lean on it. It is such a peaceful form of undermining–just a weight and a give in the line, day after day until the line sags and the smaller ones get through. Then, all hell breaks loose.

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Out of the Depths

Today began unexpectedly. I was awakened by my own labored breathing and pounding heart as the memories of last year’s Good Friday flooded my mind. 

Exactly one year ago, I had an appointment set for an ultrasound with the high–risk pregnancy clinic. After speaking with my obstetrician and the clinic, I was reassured that this would more than likely be my only visit with them. They were just taking proper precautions due to my age and previous pregnancy, which had resulted in the premature birth of our first son. I was very relaxed. I even told my husband to stay home with our one-year-old so he could eat breakfast and I would be back home in plenty of time for him to make it to work. We had no idea this appointment would turn out to be a matter of life and death. My baby would be delivered via emergency C-section at just twenty-six weeks, weighing less than two pounds.

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Surviving the Pandemic as an Artist

Self Portraits 2020 by Tony Sobota

2020 started off so promising.  Our son had a meltdown-free 1st birthday party, the Titans kept Tom Brady and the Patriots from another Super Bowl, and by March I was having my best year of art sales on record.  A little over two months later, 2020 has been canceled.  Our son now eats adult amounts of food, Tom Brady broke up with Bill Belichick, and like many full-time artists COVID-19 just deleted half my income.  So far.  

While surviving as an artist under normal circumstances invites challenges, the pandemic has multiplied them.  I rely on art, music, and street festivals for a majority of my annual income, so every cancelation brings greater urgency to change my business model.  However, I also need to keep the lights on in the meantime.  I’ve had several commissions come in to help me break even, thankfully,   but since these projects require the bulk of my time I’m currently in a sort of catch-22.  I’m struggling to pivot my business while simultaneously paying the bills—not to mention keeping my “inner artist” from burning out.

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Bird’s Egg

It’s spring and that means periodically coming across empty bird shell fragments as we walk our property looking at the world coming back to life after its winter sleep.  I get excited every time I see one. The thought of the new life fills me with joy and I get a slight thrill. I also hardly ever come across one of these shells when a hazy memory of long ago doesn’t overtake me. 

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Free Indeed

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

Galatians 5:1

A couple of weeks ago I watched a video that was circulating in some of the circles I used to live in, and while I watched the video I felt fear and anxiety come flooding into and over me. Waves of panic broke at my throat. What if I’ve been wrong? What if the whole world is going to hell in a hand basket? What if there is separation? What if we really do have to do or believe something to bridge that expanse? What if I’ve been breathing too easy? What if I I’ve been too free?

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Wash Day Mondays

“Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by implying it well. Then youth will be delightful, old age will bring few regrets, and life will become a beautiful success.”  

Louisa May Alcott

“laundry” by melanerpist is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

I was raised on old fashioned domestic rhythms like a nursery rhyme: Mondays are for washing, Tuesdays for ironing, Wednesdays for sewing, Thursdays for market, Fridays for baking, Saturdays for cleaning, and Sundays for rest. (Although my grandmother’s idea of rest was preparing Sunday dinner, including biscuits, for the entire family.) My mother was so ordered that I’ll bet we deviated from those old-time rhythms by only minutes. “Let’s take care of today,” she would say. “We will take care of tomorrow on tomorrow.” This, said by a woman who made her own biscuits every single day. 

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