Today I stepped outside, in the sunshine, with a big basket of wet clothes for the line.
These daily chores are a mediation of loss. This is not my view. This is not my clothes line. Not my ducks.
Not my farm. Not my house. Not my life.
Yet here I am, like a ghost, still inhabiting this landscape.
Last month I posted about our divorce. That post got 2000 hits in 4 hours. More than anything else I have ever written.
Yes, my life is pretty open and public, but? I have written about way more important things, y'all. Disability advocating, motherhood, peach pie? This felt simultaneously like being hugged by our community and also feasted on by vultures. Not the best feeling.
And then the hateful messages started rolling in. Not to Chad, just to me.
Accusations that I am choosing art over my family. Choosing poetry and photography and travel over my marriage.
I never said that. Not ever.
I never once said why we are divorcing, nor will I. It is a private matter and will stay one. It is not up for public critique. It is not a decision we made lightly or in the heat of an argument. It is hard and scary and one of the hardest things I have ever done.
I am not abandoning my family, in fact, I will spend more time with the kids than before and quality time. Chad and I will still be friends and I will actively be involved in the farm for a while at least. We are still a family, just not to be married to each other.
Still, in the stillness of the farm day the loss hits me. I look around at all the budding trees. Not mine. The mulberry fruit setting. Not mine. The newly planted trees, finally, and not mine.
None of this was ever really mine anyway. Legal issues and family arrangements kept me from being a legal owner in any of it. I was expected to labour for the farm under a promise that someday it would, that we could buy it. Now? Now I leave with nothing but my spice recipes and a lot of experience, perhaps the bonus of a determination not to be undersold and invisible when I start my own farm venture.
And I will. For now, I am a landless farmer, but I carry the knowledge and the blood on my hands from Spring lambing, the milk stains from staying up all night feeding a kitchen pig, the terror of crisis management after a predator attack and sewing up open wounds, warding off fly strike, the mindset required to tend bees, and the breath of the earth deep in my lungs.
These things are not negotiable. They are mine.