So Thursdays seem to be hard for me.
I woke up way to early and enjoyed cuddling up in the amazing shawl that Rachel's mom knit for me and drank coffee and read the day's readings from the Book of Common Prayer. The Psalms for the morning were Psalm 146 and 147. How lovely that one of the verses, verse 9 spoke so clearly to me, "The LORD watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow..." And Psalm 146 speaks eloquently about the earth, "He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call...He grants peace to your borders and satisfies you with the finest of wheat." One of the other scriptures out of Exodus even spoke of being brought into the land of milk and honey.
It was nice to be cuddled up in the early hours with my Bible and other books. I read through many scriptures that have spoken to me. I found the note I wrote in the cover of my Bible on May 8, 2005, before we even sold our house in New Jersey or looked at farms in Virginia. It mentioned a scripture in Joshua, a story that took place in Gilgal, and I learned that many scholars believe that Gilgal means circle. I came upon the scripture while leading a group of ladies in NJ in a Bible study. The story describes the time the Israelites were led by Joshua to cross miraculously over the river Jordan into the Promised Land. The priests were commanded to remove from the dry river bed (the miracle) 12 stones and to place them in a "circle." These stones were to be a reminder to the people that the Lord brought them into the Promised Land via the miraculous journey over dry stones instead of a flooded river. That day in May, only two weeks after Philip came back home from his 25th college reunion at Roanoke College, where he realized it was time for us to move to a farm, I knew that somehow, Gilgal was the name of our farm. Gilgal. Hmmm. I couldn't imagine the weird looks that people would give us, driving past our farm, wondering what the heck Gilgal meant. But then it came to me. Full Circle. When we made the decision to move here to our little valley, we felt like we were being given a free pass right to our Promised Land. This farm was a testimony of a miraculous journey for our family. Before we even knew the address.
Full Circle. I grew up on a little farm in Oklahoma then Central Texas. Philip dreamed of living on a farm when he was a teenager in suburban New Jersey. We both shared the vision of raising our family in the same place we raised our grass and our garden and our meat and our fertilizer and our bread and our milk and cheese.
On hard days, like Thursdays, it helps me to know that we are right where we are supposed to be. I can't figure out for the life of me why we don't get to have Philip here with us, in the flesh and blood, right now. I feel a bit confused when I look around for him and see him in pictures, and see his clothes and his notes and his stuff in the bathroom and know he is not coming back. My chest hurts and my throat constricts and I ache.
But the vision, the Circle, forces me to move. To go out and plant many pounds of potatoes with my sons. In the rain. I remember that Philip shared that task with Thomas last year and he enjoyed it so much. He was thrilled that the afternoon he and Thomas invested gave us the return of I don't know how many pounds of potatoes. Enough to feed our potato hungry family all the way to February. And plenty to share with lots of other people. And a few to sell. And a bushel basket full of seed potatoes ready for us to plant today so we can keep the circle rolling along.
I also planted some kale seedlings given to me by my friend Katrina. And some of her cilantro and italian parsley seedlings. And some of her calendula seedlings. And I found some baby lettuces growing from seeds left behind by last year's lettuce and transplanted them to the right spot. And transplanted some volunteer sunflowers.
An extra hot bath felt good as the rain poured outside. I was sad, but not sobbing disconsolately. The ladies arrived and we formed our little circle around the dining room table. Stories were shared. Scriptures were shared. We laughed and cried and prayed.
The rain seems to have stopped. Just enough to thoroughly water the garden. Oh, and I planted a second fig tree. It should be happy to get a nice drink and some lightening for extra spice.
PS the kids found some fiddlehead ferns, the first of the season. They are almost a bit too far along, due to the heat wave, but with the rain and the cool weather we are supposed to get, I am hopeful for a nice mess along with some mushrooms. I hope. Spring continues to explode all around us like a fireworks display that keeps getting better and better.