Where would I be now, I wonder, had I chosen to take the smooth, asphalt highway of life rather than the muddy and rutted cow trail that for some odd reason, proved much more appealing. Would I live in this house? Would I love the same man? Would I die for these very children? Such questions are silly as I’ll never know the answers and yet my heart balks at the thought of it being any other way. It adamantly shakes it’s head in refusal that it could be happier had I chosen the highway and not the horse trail… maybe I knew what I doing all along, although I doubt it. Luck, chance, and knowing which exits to take ( the ones with the least amount of cow shit) probably had much more to do with it. But then it’s easy to think of such things in the safety of your own life and what it’s become, despite the insurmountable odds. I am lucky 13, I am double sevens, I am the dark horse.
And guess what? I’ve beaten my own odds.
I am unable to sleep and so find myself lying in bed inventing new and interesting ways to market the farm. One idea I’m pondering is the sale of tickets to our next farrowing. (That’s when mamma pig has piglets.) If you’re not sure this is a great idea let me tell you a very true story…..
Our first batch of piglets was about to be born any second, OK, any day now… sometime this week? Maybe I have the dates wrong. Anyway, you get the picture. We were very impatiently awaiting their arrival and I, in particular, would spend hours in the barn cooing and singing to mamma in that soothing way I have about me. Yes, soothing. Still, no babies. Day after day after day; nothing, nada, zilch. Is she even pregnant? What the heck are two people like us doing this for anyway? How embarrassing. We are terrible farmers. These were a few of the thoughts running a marathon through our brains.
A few weeks prior my sister gave birth to a beautiful baby boy and the day of the baby shower was fast approaching. I was worried about the so called up-coming farrowing event, however, I had thought it through. Seeing as how we had waited this long, as well as the endless hours we’d spent staring at a pig’s vagina, I thought ( usually a bad move in the first place) that on the day of the shower it would be safe to leave the farm for a couple of hours. After all, I was but a few minutes from home, plus I had the Luck ‘ O ‘ the Irish on my side as it was St. Patrick’s day. I dressed myself in my most festive green dress and decided to go bare legged. Even though it was minus 15 and snowing sideways I felt very spring-ish. My mom picked me up, I kissed the boys goodbye, and off I went.
I did not mean to imbibe. It’s not as if I planned it, but the further into the shower we got the further into my cups was I. I was? Whatever. I believe we were midway through the construction of the human pyramid when the phone rang. My mother screamed ” Brianna, we must get you home! The piglets are coming and the boys are freaking out!” Of course this brought the pyramid crashing down in a way you’d think would be sobering, but actually had the opposite effect. Off we went in a caravan of drunkenness. I even had a to-go cup for my wine. My mom drove like a demon to get me there on time. Finally the cavalcade arrived at the farm and I only stopped to yank on my gum boots before sprinting to the barn. What I was about to do sobered me up in quite a hurry, and it was eight full hours later, in minus 15, sideways snow, and a green party dress ( complete with gum boots) that our first batch of piglets was suckling sweetly.
Do you ever let your mind wander? Do you ever just let it off the conscious leash? There is no direction to point it in, no rules to follow, it travels at it’s own speeds and with it’s own will. For me it’s a bit like jumping from a plane, but rather than pull the parachute to save myself from slamming to the earth, I know that to do so would actually result in my demise. I must not rein in, must not brake, but rather allow my subconscious the flight it so desires, demands really, and in doing so I am set free. I AM FLYING!!!
Some of you may think I’m nuts, but that’s fine with me and if you do then this wasn’t meant for you in the first place and I wont hold a grudge. The words must escape, and to quote a famous author, putting these thoughts down is an option taken out of my hands. Quite simply, I have no choice.
The other morning dawned crisp and clear and the dog and I decided it was high time for a walk. I have been blessed with beautiful country side for my backyard and as Cujo and I broke trail through the drifts of snow we were treated to the most miraculous sunrise. A great orb of fire crested the hill and light poured, as if from a heavenly goblet, onto the landscape before us, beckoning seductively for us to come, come and bare witness to all of it’s secrets. Suddenly I was a celestial sponge, capable of absorbing immense wonder and knowledge and my soul wept in gratitude. I was suddenly full to the brim with all the secrets of the universe, like I had been handed a bountiful feast and been granted my urge to eat my fill. This was such a gift as I was just coming off of a spiritual famine so to speak. I had been lost for such a long time and had almost given in to my despair that never again would I be able to feel…anything.
My entire life, I have been burdened with feelings of being alone in my difference. Frankly, I’m a little bit weird and I look in envy at the people that can live great lives without the feelings of spiritual loneliness that can at times threaten to engulf me. Why am I here? Where are MY people? I sometimes feel as if I have, again jumped from a plane, but this flight is not about freedom and rapture, but rather one of confusion and sadness. This is an army plane and I am being shoved onto the biggest, deadliest battlefield. I am handed the essentials I will require to survive in this raped and devastated country and over the thunder and roar of the plane’s engine, I can faintly hear a voice call out ” good luck kid, you’re gonna need it.” Gun powder and explosives permeate the atmosphere and I AM SCARED! I don’t get this. I am not meant for this, and yet – here I am. How will I survive here let alone succeed?
Slowly, like a child, I am learning. I must take these precious moments, like my sunrise, that are given to me and clutch them for dear life. Yes, it can be bad, yes, many good men will be lost, yes there is great evil, anger and suppression.But in desperate times, I can peruse my bag of survival essentials and find what I need. I can prevail and I can laugh and I can love. I can adapt and I can think. I can give and I can take. And when I come off the battlefield for the day, after witnessing brutal violence and desperate sorrow, I can walk in fresh snow with my best friend, and I can rejoice in a beautiful sunrise.
And it is then, when I allow my mind and my soul free rein, it is then that I can feel my ancestors rejoicing in me…