The country's broken political system was a gate for me, not a door, And it has also brought me the gift of finally grasping what the holidays can mean for me. Maria is on her own path, but came to the same place on our own.
Our long conflicts with family are mostly over, they are either dead or have moved along. Both of us – especially Maria – have worked hard to build social networks and communities in their place that we cherish and wish to celebrate.
My work with the group I call The Army Of Good has transformed much of my life. I still write books – my next one, Gus and The Big And Small Lessons Of Bedlam Farm, will be published next fall by Simon & Schuster.
I am very proud of my book, it details the things I have learned on the farm, my response to the anger and polarization of the country by focusing on the good things I could accomplish with my blog, rather than the bad things or arguments I could promote and encourage.
The dogs are part of almost everything I do. Fare snuck into the kitchen and ate half of the cooked lamb plate sitting on the stove (for the Lambs On Sweaters, Pigs In Blankets) hors d'oeuvres we were planning to make at night.
On the first Bedlam Farm in Hebron, I was alone for much of six years, just like Luke Skywalker on his island, pouting and raging. I had no friends or community to speak of. I have little memory of my life there, I lived in delusion, the people I thought were my friends were not.
Maria and I were quite alone when we came together. Neither of us is alone now.
She has made many good friends, and is, I see a wonderful friend, available, supportive, open and loving. Her lives just keeps deepening and unfolding, as does my life with her.
She has learned more about friendship than I have, I am still struggling with it, lasting friendship is complex for me. I am working on it, doing better.
I have more work to do.
Maria and i both always struggled with the holidays. But as our lives have changed, so has that. Neither of us is religious or moving much in that direction, but we do look for meaning in our lives, for connection, for a simpler life. We have fallen in love with the natural world, and it's flowers, trails, forests animals, birds, flowers and trees.
We chose to find community and we are finding it, and to see our good friends gathered in our bright old farmhouse was a great pleasure, even an honor. If lifted my heart to see so many of the people we love sitting in our living room, coming together.
Tomorrow, I will distribute some of the clothes I have been getting for the Mansion residents at local thrift stores. That will feel good also, the idea of helping clothe this vulnerable people.
I hope our first holiday drop-by enriched them, it certainly enriched me.