Work on the second Fiber Chair is underway as the new year begins. Maria has started her daily work on the chair, using the baling string from our hay. The first chair took two years, this old seatless Victorian chair is smaller, but may be different. You don't ask the artist any questions about her fiber chair, I don't think it has a name yet. I like this farm tradition, for Maria, there is not much daylight between work and art and life.
Friendship does not come easily to me, I have lost friends to time, distraction, geography, stupidity, suicide and my own wariness. In my experience, men do not take friendship seriously or make much room for it in their lives, except perhaps, in combat. I do not make friends easily or often, and I don't say that with pride. Friendship is important to me, I just know that with men, it is difficult to come by.
I don't really look for it, I am suspicious of it. Men put almost everything ahead of it, and they drop it precisely when they need it the most.
Maria says that Ed Gulley I are twins, separated at birth. She says she reminds each of us of the other. I'm not sure what she means, except that Ed has become one of my closest friends and one of the most cherished. Ed is a loving and honest and very authentic human being and I feel I can say anything to him, and he can say anything to me. And we do.
We are not wary of one another, we are not sensitive with one another. We are both natural story-tellers. He tells his on his very special blog, the Bejosh Farm Journal, a new thing for him, but a natural one.
Ed, like me, wants to tell the story of his life to the world, and does so fearlessly and without hesitation. I am talking to Connie Brooks about Ed reading from his blog at our local bookstore, I think she will like the idea. He has the most amazing stories to tell.
This afternoon, I initiated the New Year the way friends should, I sat with Ed in his living room and talked for a couple of hours about life, work, aging, generosity and blunders and mistakes. We talked about listening, about the wonder of growing older. It was lovely, I was reluctant to join their family day, I was sorry to leave.
He is an artist, and a natural if self-taught writer and that is perhaps the best kind. On the surface, Ed and I have nothing in common, yet it seems we have everything in common, and I can't really explain it. If I were in trouble, I would call him in a moment, and I would never doubt for a second that he would understand and be there for me.
He has a deep and wise sense of humor and perspective on life, like me, he is willing to take on great change and challenge late in life. That is a rare thing, especially men. We just get one another, sometimes there is no explaining it. Ed's face is full of character and humor and life. He is a wonderful photographic subject, just like his wife Carol.
I find I am drawn to people with great big hearts, people who work hard and love. Carol Gulley is a friend, she calls herself a farmer's wife, but she is a farmer. She and her husband Ed are our good friends, and they always – always – invite us to gather with their family on holidays.
In part this is because we enjoy one another's company, in part I think Carol takes pity on us because we must seem like orphans to her, family is so central to her life, and we really have no family around us. When we visit, we do feel like family, Carol is at the center of a giant web of family – Ed, children, grandchildren, all always nearby.
Today we sat in her house, kids and grandkids everywhere, and we felt so at home. Family gatherings are not easy for us.
We love the Gulleys, a great gift to us, and I am in awe or their wonderful blog. Check it out, it is the most authentic and true blog I know. And it is very popular, it turns out these two farmers are natural and enthusiastic writers. If you want to know what it like to be a farmer, this is better than E.B. White.
Carol works so hard but never runs out of sweet. She and I met in Cardiac Rehab, running on our treadmills. She is also a student in my writing class.
Today she is recovering from being kicked and knocked down by a cow, Carol and Ed are stoics, they are hurting all the time in one way or another. Carol is about love, farm, family, work and although she is shy about being photographed, she is a wonderful subject, the emotion in her always shows up in her face.
"Look back on Time
with kindly Eyes –
He doubtless did his best –
How softly sinks his, that
Nature's West -"
– Emily Dickinson
Fate loves to look out the living room window but had nowhere to sit or stand.
Yesterday, we stopped by an antiques center, I found this old ottoman for $35. It is funky in its own right and Fate was sitting on it right away. Dogs are great scholars of the world, they love to study life outside. I think it is the perfect seat for Fate, who misses nothing and is interested in everything.