Saturday, June 13, 2009
June 13, 2009
Hello to you all. It is no longer morning. I’ve been writing, meeting, planning, conversing, thinking, and, well, NOT finishing this note. Sorry.
The week was a good one. Filled with inspiration, both quietly small and quietly large. I met with two different folks to talk about writing. I appeared on the radio to talk, very candidly, about ovarian cancer. I heard Anna Quindlen, a gigantic presence in the world of writing, speak about her life. And I finished the video of my ride.
I’ve been really pondering the whole experience of this ride, as you know. The first question most people ask is, “Now What?” I’ve stuttered something in response, not very clearly at first, but now, increasingly, with a bit more conviction.
First I’ve been trying to just get home. This has been harder than I could have ever imagined. I did the ride. I came home. And all I could do was miss that whole experience. But I AM home and I WANT to be home and I don’t want to be living a life that is all about missing something that is not here. And finally I feel like I AM home.
It helps to be listening to so many people who say that a book would be a nice next step. I’ve been talking to and writing to people and a picture is beginning to emerge. An idea of how to take what I did and turn it into something else.
It helped, even though it was very hard, to talk openly on the radio. We are filled with subjects that people do not talk about. I, truthfully, would rather not be the one who steps out. Because stepping out means taking a big chance. Stepping out on a thin limb. That might break. And then where would I be? But in the days after the broadcast I heard from a number of listeners who thanked me and told me I’d done well. Which made me feel that the stepping out on that thin limb was a good thing.
It helped to hear Anna Quindlen. She’s one of my writing heroes. Her clear, honest, straightforward writing has always caught my attention. I got to meet her, briefly, and share, briefly, my ride story, especially that I did the ride to raise awareness for ovarian cancer. Her mother died of it and that made me feel a special closeness with her, even if she had no idea who I was. Thinking about that connection and about the poignancy of it all completely overcame me as I listened to her. And that powerful emotional response pushes me ahead, pushes me to continue trying to figure out my own “What’s next?”
It helps, finally, to have this video done. I am excited about being the closing speaker at a national conference. It’s a big subject, this ovarian cancer one. I spoke for two minutes at a dinner for these folks in February. Now I get a half hour, give or take. I’ll finish my time with this video. It’s upbeat but it conveys the “don’t give up” feeling that was the big message for me on this ride. I’ve watched it a whole lot and I still like it and that is a fine thing. John Warner is the fellow who took my wishes and turned them into this finished piece. After the showing in Washington I’ll make it possible for you to see it too.
One more thing about being home. I loved the dinner with the farmers the other night. I love being part of the connection with them. I am deeply honored to have anything to do with making this sort of a difference. And no matter what, no matter how tough things are, these folks are caring for our Earth in a big way. And we get to be a part of that thin, Golden Thread of keeping things going.
Which is the most important thing of all.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
June 6, 2009
Good morning. What a gorgeous day it is here. Light, crisp-ish, all-around pleasant and great. It rained yesterday, conveniently waiting until the dark set in, and all today is moist and rich.
I visited the markets first thing today to check in and see what was around. I love the markets. When I first went to France I planned my trip to coincide with each town’s market day. When I talked about it, many people knew exactly why I had done that. There is a draw to a market. I’m usually there way before the regular customers which enables me to visit with the farmers and to browse around as they set things up.
We’re in the midst of a busy day here and that’s a nice thing too. Lots of chirping and smiling in the kitchen, in the shop. Makes me chirp and smile too. We had a group here in our Garden Room last night, a college reunion. They had been accustomed to going to a country club when they’d met in other cities. This intimate atmosphere suited them perfectly and the “post party report” had nice comments. “Loved the food! Loved the space! Perfect party!” Nice to see.
The café has some breakfasters right now too. Again, nice for me. This is such a lovely space. I just went out and opened up the windows and the sun is pouring in, a bit of a breeze is poking through, and all is good.
My bees are buzzing along at home. This is a good year for honey, I think. So far, so good. All the beekeepers in the area are happy to have a good, strong “honey flow.” This means that things are blooming, mostly tulip poplar around my house. The bees are busy, building honeycomb, making honey, storing up for later. Last year we had a big drought. So far this year things look good. And, if all goes this well, I’ll have my honey for you by the end of the season. Isn’t that sweet?
Putting the markets and the farms and the farmers together with you is one of my main interests. I like being the connector in these things. I think we’ll do three of these dinners this summer, since there are so many farmers, so many that we work with, so many who I want you to meet. This one coming up on Thursday will be the first (we still have room – call us at 252-1500). Please save July 16 for us. And then we’ll pick a date in August too. What a great thing, meeting new people, sharing dinner made with local food, and supporting our local farm economy. It is essential, don’t you think?
I think there is a certain amount of breath-holding in the world these days. But breathing is what keeps us all alive. Back in 2001 we had one of our Delicious Expeditions to Tuscany scheduled for September 23. After the horror of the 11th, our guests were concerned and some wanted to stay home. But I felt determined go, to stick with the plan, to do what, at the time, seemed the most patriotic thing possible, which was getting on a plane and flying. Everyone went and everyone had a fine time and the folks in Italy were so gracious and loving and grateful, not to mention sad for what had happened.
Getting out, sharing conversation, sharing meals, sharing life and breath and love is really what it is all about, I think. I know I feel better when I do. And I don’t think I’m the only one. So thanks for getting yourself out too. Thanks for including me and us. And thanks for bringing that breathing, loving spirit to us. In it comes, out it goes. Life. Love.