I think I'll let my sharp-humored friend Mary caption the past year for us.
When I came to Mary (an Amish farmer and frequent source of farm-wisdom disguised as humor) torn up over the losses of lambs during the bitter winter she said flatly, "Yep. If you've got livestock you've got dead stock."
Goodness was she right.
2014 has been a hard year. One of the hardest that Pete and I have seen in our nearly twenty years together.
I'm ready to hang a new calender on the kitchen wall. And I'm even more ready to throw the 2014 edition into the wood stove. Tonight. (Except out wood stove isn't hooked up yet, which rather proves my point about 2014.)
Because the past twelve months have been thick with loss, death, disappointment and failure.
The tragically unproductive garden. The prescribed burn that jumped the fire break. The Lyme disease – again. And mostly the loss of so many pets and so many farm animals. Far too many.
It's been hard. Very hard.
This fall as I dug up our potatoes (decimated by a cold wet summer and a hungry mole family) I burt into tears and sputtered something dramatic like "If we were the Ingalls family we would die!"
I think we found more farm debris and broken glass in the soil than we did Red Norlands.
It was depressing.
"The potatoes are a metaphor for my life," I said self-pityingly.
And that was how I viewed 2014. And exhausting effort for a pitiful yield. We tried. We did. And mostly we failed. Or that's how it felt anyway.
But then this morning as I sorted through the past twelve months of photographs I was struck – and struck hard – by the realization that my life is rich beyond words.
It took my breath away.
Perfect? Of course not. Far from it.
But rich and beautiful and blessed beyond measure? Yes. Oh my, yes.
This. This is my life.
Not that other story I keep telling.
The truth of this catches in my throat.
This life is foraging and hiking and toes in the creek. It's watching these kids grow up vibrant and alive as they write their own stories. It's sleeping in the yard and campfires in the woods and home-cooked meals. It is raising our own food and falling in love – one farm baby at a time. And it's friends and family and the best neighbors around.
It's the four of us, happy, healthy, and very much alive and we scratch out the best life we can.
This is what this year was about.
And yes, there were tears.
There was heartache, fear, grief, failure, and regret, followed by the promise to do better and know more the next time.
And even that is worth something.
So as I remember 2014 I will remember the grief and the abundance.
I will remember love, connection, and the line of these hills against the sky.
Happy New Year, friends. I count you among my blessings as I pin a new calendar to the wall.
15 thoughts on “Perspective”
So very beautiful. Thank you.
This life. Now.
Love it! This year my brother passed away unexpectedly. I’m tempted to view this year through the lens of that, but when I look back at all my children accomplished (some of it just growing up) I feel very blessed indeed. Farm life sure is a challenge, but isn’t it beautiful? 😀
Oh, we have had the same year, and these words ring so true. I do want to say thank you, though, because you were kind enough to point my family in the direction of a wonderful farm that we have enjoyed since springtime. I appreciate your willingness to help us out, and it’s certainly made our transitional year a bit easier…and I thank you for that. 🙂 Happy New Year.
You are blessed! Thank you for sharing. BTW…..I am so glad I am not the only one who had a miserable garden yield. I kept remembering the year I canned 500 quarts and pints of all sorts of goodies from my sandy soil yields up north. This year is was probably operator error as I learn to garden in heavy clay. There is always 2015’s garden, right?
Thank you again for sharing your beautiful year in pictures.
Happy New Year Rachel and Family! From those pictures your year was very blessed! This life is certainly not easy but it’s always full of hope and determination.
Thanks for sharing your journey, and here’s to a beautiful 2015!
I was scrolling down these photos and thinking that the comment I’d leave would be “what wonderful images of what looks like a truly wonderful life.” Then I read your words. Truthfully, I still want to leave that same comment. But add also that it seems like a rich life, full of light and shadows, a hard but rewarding life.
I wish you a very very happy 2015.
It was also a year of losses for us. We lost three pets and a pregnancy.
But i know, i depply feel that it makes us stronger.
we have another baby coming, so 2015 has tobe a great year. Soon we´ll be 6. That is a blessing.
I cried, quiet tears streaming down my face. Tears of understanding, of submissive gratitude, of brave hope, of standing with you, thankful for you. Tears of amen, and hallelujah to this: all the things of which we have no control, but can count as truth.
Because the sad, the hard, the holes, are all hallows, nests, places dug in our hearts for love to grow. And, oh the riches, if we count. I will bravely count the losses, for each loss was first a gift. I will bravely count the gifts with you, the gift of you.
I have found your blog this past year, and have become a subscriber and eager reader. Your writing, your way of thinking, and the gentleness with which you share have helped me much. Thank you. Here’s to 2015 . . . whatever comes we have evidence of past love, and so hold out brave hope for the next.
Beautiful. Thank you for sharing the loss and sorrow. Too often we are given only the glimpses and beautiful images, creative successes, and joyful moments in the blog world. But it is the losses, tragedies, and disappointments that make for a rich and rewarding life, and make us stronger.
Again, thank you.
Beautiful. Beautiful images that show the busy-ness, the challenges, the joys of your full, full year. Blessed be to you and to this new year.
This is beautiful. Thank you Annalisa.
I was so moved looking at your photos and then moved once again reading your words. Many blessings to your beautiful family in 2015.
As I was scrolling through your photos I was thinking the same thing! How lucky a life you lead (but really, lucky doesn’t cover it, your family works their butts off for this wonderful life!!). And this time, I’m not envious. I’ve come to realize in 2014, and will more in 2015, that the farm life is not a good fit for my family. However, I am excited to visit that life in 2015!! We’ve found a CSA finally, and can’t wait to eat REAL food and visit that farm often this year! I think that’s close enough for us 🙂
Also, thank you SO MUCH for the idea of a 2014 photo review! I can’t wait to look at all those pics of our happy family 🙂
Looking at your photos, i thought to myself what beautiful life you have. Rich with love, wonder, discovery, togetherness, and gratitude. I’m glad you were able to alter your perception as you reflected on the past year. We can all be truly happy if that is what we want to be.