The bread maker we got second hand is making its churning noise. Its a sourdough bread, but I have high ideals that I’ll be kneading with my own sweat.The rain patters on the tin roof of our barn home. I am sitting in our living room. Our wee ones are tucked in, and our soon to be one-year-old dog Lucy, who shares my birthday, is asleep on the mat at the door. Rows of starter trays with heirloom plants I planted weeks ago line the south facing windows, as I chomp at the bit to plant the garden. Here we have such a short growing season, but tomorrow is supposed to drop to -1, so I’ll hold off for another day or two. I’ll get the radishes in. Maybe the carrots. If I can incorporate my children into it, as I am home on the range, solo parenting this week.
We were out to visit the bees tonight. Our friend has his bees nestled in the perfect sheltered, South facing spot on this land that owns us and longs to take care of us.
It’s an idyllic enough picture. But layering up the design to have regenerative components is initially, a whole lot of work. And it wasn’t always this idyllic. And it won’t always be. It is a blink of an eye.
Tonight my three-year-old fell asleep as I was reading bedtime stories, so I was able to visit one-on-on with my five-year-old. It was a precious time. He told me that he thought the reason the boy who cried wolf “cried wolf” so many times, is because his parents didn’t have the The Boy Who Cried Wolf story yet to teach him with, because the boy was making the story as he went. My son’s legs are getting so long and I’m having a hard time lifting him these days. He was 21 inches long, like 3 seconds ago. God is in the moment. There will be no clinging. But lots of holding. And lots of letting go.
I watched the post-snow brown for what felt like an eternity. Now the perennial grasses shoot up inches per day. Its an old tale. Its a new tale. The ancients are but a wisp of time on the edge of creation. And yet, they are all here. Planted in this earth. They may be one with the cosmos, as we all are… gases… stardust… but the corporeal is interwoven with spirit, sown together, like true lovers. And so I feel the ancestors here, like seeds who died long ago, opening up, plunging out new life, to sway above us, letting us know that we are not so many rings old after all.
My littlest one helped me plant comfrey around the yearling fruit trees we planted last year. Pincherries. Hardy northern apple trees. Nankings. Currants. Saskatoons. We plunged the comfrey roots down and found worms and took delight in them. We have ticks too. My sister told me I could make a tea tree in a carrier oil solution and rub it through the kid’s hair. It’s working. No ticks at bath time tonight.
And I’m already making a herbal mixture for when the mosquitoes come after this rain.
We drink well water. It smells of manganese. The water has been tested and it is healthy, beautiful, clear water. Plus it has no chlorine. No chemicals. We once had young bed and breakfast guests arrive and turn around to drive back to the city, because they didn’t even want to bathe in the water. It didn’t smell aseptic enough. I could take them to places where there is no potable water if they really wanted to experience it. The new BNB experience… tour the boil water advisory regions, or better yet, walk for miles in 45 degree weather and haul your water back in a jug you yourself made out of clay.
According to the , the ironic number one problem with global warming, is refrigerator’s and air conditioner’s motors. We’re building a cold room this summer. But watch out, there might still be dirt on the potato, and it wasn’t wrapped in plastic, so it’s hard to get comfortable with that potato. (Don’t hear that as cynicism, I’m just trying on my quasi-best curmudgeonly Wendell Berry tone.)
Our copy of Rublev’s Trinity is in my periphery. It was a wedding present. We’ve carried it with us and mounted it ceremoniously in all the spaces we have lived. Our barn-to-home renovation was inspired by its colours. It has watched over us and participated in our lives. Bearing witness to my sometimes desperate motherhood tactics trying to find a balance of giving freedom and giving guidance. They have born witness to the raw beauty of relationship and moments of simple quietude. They have seen how I volley between my ego carrying the world’s problems, and being in a fleeting, but truly compassionate state.
This week’s song is the download my patrons on Patreon got today. I recorded it live on the piano my sister gave me as a “moving into the barn home” present. This version of it became more Trinitarian for me than the other versions, because I sing in multi-gendered pronouns. In other words, I sing it using trinitarian language. Or as Cynthia Bourgeault so perfectly puts it, “Christianity is a ternary swan in a binary duck pond.” Her book on the trinity was based on an essay she wrote called Why Feminizing the Holy Spirit Won’t Work and it is a fantastic read on the dynamism and spiralling, coiling or cork screw nature of the Trinity.
This song is for folks on pilgrimage. For folks who walk miles for their clean drinking water and have to eat potatoes that come from the dirt. It is for the water protectors.
May the vast thouness of God find a channel through this song, to open hearts, so we might cease to live out our whole existence in a paralyzed dystopia, as though we don’t belong here. We do. We’ve just forgotten that we do. It has been a long forgetting, but there are living trees, older than Roman roads. Somehow, in the lining of this roughshod history that strangely landed many of us in Sunday School rooms that smelled of coffee percolators and lovingly prepared pink egg salad finger sandwiches, there was and is, a greening mystery springing through, wherever openings occur.
It is ok to lay your burdens down. To grieve. To pray. To long. To be sorry.
Alana Levandoski is a song and chant writer, recording artist and music producer, in the Christian tradition, who lives with her family on a regenerative farm on the Canadian prairies.