“Because being a homemaker isn’t about being extraordinary. It’s about seeing the ordinary in a conscious way. A way that leads to gratitude, joy and understanding. A way that allows me to create an environment in which my family can become more human everyday. If you are moved, I invite you to share your ordinary things by replying below or leaving a link.”
I bought a bulb of garlic last week. This would not be a momentous event for most, but it is the first bulb of garlic I have bought from the grocery store in over a decade.
When John and I moved back to his childhood home of Denver over 10 years ago, I needed to put down roots. Literally. At that time in my life I could not imagine connecting to a landscape without putting my hands in its dirt. So I sent off an email to the owner of Keith’s Farm in upstate New York where I worked two partial seasons, and asked if he’d be willing to sell us some of his famous garlic. I promised him that my regional location would create no business conflict and he obliged! That story, and the evolution of the Reinhart Family Garlic, are the subjects of my first ever blog post. (Look how young they all are!)
Last fall, when it was time to plant garlic, the moment quietly came and went and no garlic went in the ground. Without pomp or ceremony, 10 years of tradition slipped into the past.
Looking back I can see that the subtle way in which this moment passed signified a new relationship to this place where our little farmlette sits. For years we’ve alternated our summers between here and the East Coast. Sometimes tending our garden and flocks, sometimes fleeing to salt air and rural life, needing to patch up the holes carved into our beings from this hot, arid landscape. This year we just seemed to need oh so many more patches, and we left behind the farmlette for nine weeks. Someday, perhaps, I will share our adventures, but for now, I will just say that it is unlikely we will pass an entire summer in Denver again.
Which means, no garlic. No watching the scapes shoot out, or form into their tiny bulbs. Or ripe tomatoes cracking beyond fullness. No more shepherding the children out of the garden before they have tomato tummy aches. And, we are currently figuring out how to get the children on board with sending our hens to a neighbor’s soup pot. (The economy of old laying hens simply does not add up when the family spends most of egg season buying eggs in Canada.) The goats will be the hardest sell. For all of us.
I try to gaze upon it all with grace as I silently lament how much more difficult store bought garlic is to peel. (No wonder there is such a market for that minced stuff in the jars.)
It’s not so much letting go of the past that is hard, it’s letting go of a future that never had the chance to come to fruition. But there are trade offs. Always trade offs. The future that needs to be, can only be when we realize that it is flexible and changing because we are. It doesn’t feel great, to watch one future dissolve before a new one has formed, but somehow it seems necessary. And it is Michaelmas, a fitting moment to summon the trust and courage needed to step through the doorway into the unknown.
I’m doing it as best as I can, store bought garlic in hand.