A personal pilgrimageFebruary 1, 2008 at 2:33 pm | Posted in art, blogging, country life, country living, dating, faith, family, free knitting patterns, hat patterns, knitting, love, marriage, photography, relationships, romance, snow, yarn | 26 Comments
Not long ago, one morning, I found myself standing in our kitchen looking out at our snow covered lawn across the street to our frozen river, it too covered with a gathering snow. I stood there in contemplation for a little while, considering my life as it is today and of course, the words came to me again, “I live on a farm.”
Those words, that thought, may seem of little significance to others. For me, they represent a something quite large and of great significance for which I will continue to feel and express gratitude … over, and over, and over again.
As I stood there in contemplation, the scene faded, shifting until it became a hillside north of Los Angeles. I stood there on a hot day in late spring four years ago, in a peach colored linen dress holding onto the leash of our beloved dog, Luce. He was dying and my world was falling apart. I have written of this before in an earlier blog, so you might already be familiar with the story to some degree.
I loved living on that hill (see the panoramic view I shot from that home in the photo above); it almost seemed like a little slice of the country in a small suburb of Los Angeles, facing north toward the Angeles Crest Mountains. Our house was the last in a row of only six or seven on that little winding hillside road. I was standing up the road from our house where I had a large panoramic view of the valley and the mountains beyond. My heart was broken, I was worn out from worries and troubles, unable it seemed to make anything go right any longer. Everything in my life had come to a standstill and I could not fathom exactly what it was I was doing wrong. I wasn’t sure where to turn, what to do, how to find my way.
The one thing I could do that took no physical energy and cost no money was to dream. Though I felt utterly stuck in Los Angeles on that hill in a life that had come to a complete and quite uncomfortable standstill, I dreamed of finding some way to live in a small town or on a farm somewhere out there … far enough away from Los Angeles that it could not be considered a part of LA. Since I was twelve years old, I had an unquenched desire to live in the country again and to experience the seasons, cold weather, autumn, snow, trees, barns, fields … freedom.
I stood there on my hillside day after day, often in tears, making myself dream even when I felt it was most futile to do so. I made myself express gratitude to God for the situation I was in, and for my willingness and ability to dream in spite of every reason I might have not to. I even expressed gratitude in advance for the dreams coming true. I expressed gratitude as if I was already living somewhere in the country or on a farm. I would form that feeling of gratitude and send it forth with a complete feeling of confidence that, physical evidence to the contrary, it had indeed come true.
In truth, I did not expect this particular dream to literally come true; I knew I would find a way again to create happiness regardless of my circumstances. Yet, the dream and conjuring up the sense of gratitude that it had come true was comforting to me spiritually and emotionally, so I continued to dream my dream every day: a dream that I was willing not to have come true, so long as I could dream it as if it were real in order to comfort myself through some very dark days.
For a long time things only seemed to get worse; more things feel apart and changed irreparably until it seemed every aspect of my life, the very foundation points of my life, were tossed up into the air and nothing had come back down and landed.
That was four years ago, and now I can stand in my kitchen in a house on a farm that is 200 years old, in Upstate Western New York. Fifty acres. A barn. A river. Trees. Autumn. Snow, snow, snow. And love.
There are preserves in the cupboards behind me that I made from locally grown peaches and apples; homemade bread on the counter waiting for my husband to get home from work and enjoy a thick slice with his dinner. I have the time and the security to write and paint and create a future where even more dreams may come true. I have a dear, dear husband who I will love for the rest of my life and be loved by for rest of his.
It is amazing to have dreamed this very dream and to stand now in my kitchen looking out at the world and to realize even more as each day goes by, “My God, I dreamed this and it has come true.” Some of the dreams that are coming true go all the way back to my childhood.
As this dream-reality evolves and I see the elements of my dreams woven throughout the “reality” part, all of the little pieces and how they are arranged make so much sense … and yet I wouldn’t have thought it would be quite this way.
Yes, I dreamed of living in the country and on a farm, but I never would have thought I would end up in New York. Yes, I wanted to write and publish, but I never would have thought it would be a lifestyle blog about knitting, country life and food, or that I would publish knitting patterns. I wanted security and love but I didn’t think I would ever find that through marriage, not me.
He wrote to me for the first time (by email) to introduce himself on January 29th in 2006. We wrote to each other every day from then until we got married and I have all of those emails (of course).
This year I have embarked on a personal pilgrimage following the path of our emails two years ago (pilgrimage: “any long journey, esp. one undertaken as a quest or for a votive purpose, as to pay homage”; votive: “performed, undertaken, etc., in consequence of a vow” / source: dictionary.com). Each day I read whatever we wrote to each other that same day two years ago. I select a couple of quotes from each of us and forward them on to my husband so that he might experience this pilgrimage along with me.
It is a dear journey, and we both feel it is important to remember the words we spoke that resulted in this communion of souls, our marriage.
The pilgrimage is personal between the two of us, however I share the idea of it with my readers because I hope to encourage others out there in the wide world whose hearts might be broken, whose dreams might seem forsaken, whose worlds might seem to be crumbling apart … I want to encourage you to have faith and to know that somehow whatever you are experiencing will make sense further down the road. There is always hope, no matter where you are and no matter what you are experiencing. There is hope, there is always hope. Your dreams, just as mine, can come true. I believe the way it works is that those dreams you dream that most closely align with who you really are spiritually, can work their way out and materialize within your lifetime. That’s what I believe to be true.
Have faith. I, for one, am pulling for you.