My husband is with me much of the time now; or, more accurately, I am with him, as I help with the chores that he normally does. I help him with firewood, by wheel barrowing the cut pieces over to the firewood shed and stacking them, while he cuts the trees down and splits. We plant seeds together in the garden, one of us placing onion sets and peas in the rows while the other hoes the dirt over top. Producing our own food might be even more important in the coming months. We share a few comments, grateful for the company, not needing to say a lot. In late afternoon, we walk the driveway with a colander and kitchen shears, looking for dandelion, to make with hot bacon dressing for dinner. I have been studying up on wild edibles and have rekindled my interest and refreshed my knowledge. It feels wonderful to incorporate these super green foods into our menu- free and abundant, right here on Red Mountain.
Todd might make a campfire in the evening for something special- roast a hot dog and then marshmallows for dessert, while the kitties slink through our legs, wanting a pet and a morsel. They are completely oblivious to the virus and the sad stories that pour through our news feed and NPR all day long. I would rather be sharing the campfire with a handful of friends but they are in their own homes right now. We might fire up the sauna. Go for a walk in the woods looking for antler sheds.
After dinner, we take a walk on our ½ mile long driveway, my hand in his. Inevitably, one of the neighbors is outside and we chat- about the virus, of course, but also about gardening, or our new piggies, or the beautiful sunset before us. We part and tell one another that we’re here if you need us.
After dark, Todd and I might give each other a haircut, or watch a movie from the pile of favorite DVD’s we have, clean out a drawer or a storage area, do the dishes together, even though there aren’t that many that they can’t air dry. We always talk to our kids every night and check in, often on video so we can see their beautiful faces, as well as usually one other time during the day. We call our relatives and friends, just to see how everyone is faring.
Then, we might roll out the yoga mats and do a yoga tape together. Sometimes, I look over at Todd and he’s in reclined mountain pose, sound asleep. That’s OK. I wake him up and we have a tiny cup of ice cream together- trying to make the ½ gallon last as we don’t want to drive to the minute market to buy more- that would be irresponsible right now. We plug in the ceramic room heater and run a hot bath. We stay in the bathroom together, sharing conversation while the other takes a bath, been doing this for the 35+ years that we have been married. It is our time to reconnect, on those normal days when our separate lives took us away from each other. Not anymore. We share every meal and many of the same tasks during the day. Todd makes time to carve and I write, but food gathering and cooking, firewood gathering for next winter and tasks like that- survival jobs, take precedent now, and we do them as a team. Before coronavirus, Todd and I both had our separate passions and creative outlets and we often went off on our own each day, in separate directions, pursing our goals. This is our life, as of late, up here on Red Mountain- contained, but fortunately for us, not contained indoors. Indoors, when it is beautiful spring weather, is not where I want to be, and outdoors is where Todd mostly is.
Neither of us is making money right now. All our festivals and events that I was to speak at and Todd was to carve at have been canceled or postponed. We are great savers though so we will be fine financially. And after the dust settles, we know how to make money many different ways and our skill set is wide (especially Todd’s.) Sadly, many others are far worse off.
Before we were told to stay home, I was a flitting butterfly- pretty social and very busy. My days were packed, the calendar was filled but I still got a tremendous amount of writing work done at the same time. Now that I have wide open days and nights, I feel very unproductive. It’s challenging to find something more important to do than staying on top of the news, checking in with each other, and managing a homestead. But what is production really and is it really that important? What I have been very productive at lately is loving my husband more. Let me be specific. I’ve always loved him a whole lot and even liked him a whole lot too. But now I like him being with him even more on a day to day basis, and that is different, and that is one of the very few positive outcomes of coronavirus.
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