28 June

Love Is Hard To Find, Love Hurts, And New Sheep!

by Jon Katz

Love leaves a heartache no one can heal; love leaves a memory no one can steal, reads the inscription on an Irish tombstone.

Love is hard to find, hard to keep, and hard to forget.

On our way back from the Vermont Fiber Mill, Maria and I stopped to visit Liz Willis, our shearer,  at her beautiful farm in Florence, Vt. We both love Liz, and she and Maria have become friends.

Sometimes I love Maria so much it hurts, and today was one of those days, she seemed so beautiful, open and loving to me, sitting out with Liz talking about the sheep.

Liz wants Maria to make a quilt for her, and we wanted to see her sheep.

As the two of them crouched down together, two remarkable women who love their farms and animals so much, I stepped back.

(As I stood taking in my good fortune, the phone rang. It was Sylvie, calling form her nursing home in Ft. Edward. She wanted to know when her stamps were coming.)

Sometimes, I just like to get back and bit and watch Maria, and this was one of those times, Liz and Maria are so comfortable together, they get one another, finish each other’s sentences.

As often happens, I had no real role to play, this was somehow between the two of them, or perhaps I always find a way to stay outside the circle. They rarely get to see and talk with each other; I thought I should stay back.

And I loved watching it. It was a beautiful scene, in a  beautiful place,  on a beautiful day. The two just connect.

One by one, the sheep came up to Liz, and to Maria, to check them out, listen in, and get their noses and heads scratched. The two women talked to the sheep and about them, trading the stories of the farm, the drama or having lambs, the problems with beaver dams, hyper dogs.

Certain women take risks, push the envelope, overcome difficult things, and build challenging but beautiful lives for themselves, despite great odds.

So often, these women have to learn to encourage themselves and one another, there is not always someone else around to do that. These two do it all the time.

I loved watching these two strong women talk and laugh and share.

Liz can’t bear to send her sheep to market anymore, she wants us to have two more (she already gave us two, Ishar and Issachar), and Maris is pondering it. She loves to build up her stock of wool for yarn.

I’m sure Maria will accept the sheep, and I’m sure she won’t let Liz pay for the quilt. Country people barter.

Love can sometimes hurt, but love can also heal, to be a haven from fear and disappointment, love makes living worthwhile.

And yes, it does hurt to love.

Susan Sontag wrote that love is like giving yourself to be flayed and knowing that at any moment, the person you love may just walk off with your skin.


  1. Love involves suffering, not just occasionally, accidentally, avoidably.
    Love is not a happy feeling, a form of euphoria… Love means
    assuming responsibility for another human being. Love involves
    a decision: not to be indifferent to the sufferings, sicknesses, and
    failures, to the false hopes, the mistakes, the disappointments,
    to the terrifying limitations and the final death of someone else.
    Love is not infatuation, not attraction, and not lust… Love of its very nature involves suffering: sharing the sufferings of the loved one and, besides, suffering over the
    limitations of the other human being… Love is the antithesis
    of peace. Walter Kaufman – Faith of a Heretic – TRILOGUE ON HEAVEN,

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