Thread Hopping

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything for this blog because, in all honesty, there has been too much going on in our lives the past couple months for me to sort through and condense into one of these quirky little posts. During the course of my absence from your newsfeed, Tanner and I experienced the joy of watching perfectly suited couples vow to love, honor, and cherish one another in marriage. On the opposite extreme, we’ve felt for the first time the bitterness of losing a family member that no one was ready to say goodbye to.

In between these major events, the smaller issues of daily life have continued to weave in and out of our attentions like threads in a tapestry. At this point, it’s hard to make out the full picture—to determine why some things are happening that we don’t wish for and why other things aren’t happening that we would like to see take place. It can be frustrating at times to be stuck on one thread in the middle of a million others with no bird’s-eye view of the entire work at hand. In my experience, however, there always comes a day when one metaphorical tapestry is finished and another begins. On that day, it’s easier to look back at what has taken place and realize what the overarching theme of the story really was rather than just focusing on one individual scene at a time.

Tanner and I are still waiting for this season’s tapestry to be finished, but we’re not rushing it. Despite all the mixed and sometimes unpleasant emotions that come from experiencing life and glimpsing death, I feel that in this time we are learning to take everything one thread at a time. And as both new and familiar experiences continue to cross over and under the solid foundational ties that just a little bit of history has given us, I see both Tanner and myself realizing who we want to be and how we want to live our lives—regardless of where we reside or what jobs we have or even the people we surround ourselves with. In this way, I feel as though we’re finally getting quite good at making our own decisions based solely on our values as a couple. And for all of this I’m grateful for all of that which has lately kept us on our toes physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Perhaps the most exciting part of all of this individual and cooperative soul-searching is our recent decision to begin growing our own food.

If you don’t already know, I have been on a kick lately of making everything I can from scratch. I make homemade bread, homemade sauces, homemade desserts—you name it, I’ll try to make it. My goal was to completely stop using any food from cans or boxes, and I’ve pretty much been able to do it (except we will have the occasional bowl of Ramen when the food budget runs out). Now that that goal is pretty much met, Tanner and I are both hoping to take our lifestyle one step further by growing our own food.

I know what you’re thinking: You hippies should have stayed in Austin with all those other weirdos who believe in sustainable living. And maybe you’re right. Our convictions in the matter of growing our own food really have nothing to do with being healthier (although that is definitely a benefit). Instead, they stem mostly from the fact that we think it sounds like a lot of fun. Also, I do honestly feel that most Americans are wasteful and consumptive to the point of destructive, and I want to rise above that stigma. So, yeah, there’s a bit of what could be construed as tree-hugging self-righteousness I guess. I can live with that though if it means I get garden-fresh veggies and herbs whenever I want them.

Like I said, the decision to grow our own food is recent. We’ve discussed doing it for a while, but we just set up our garden last weekend, and we have no idea if we did it correctly. So we’ll see what comes of it, and I might be eating crow at the end of the summer.

Regardless of the future outcomes, we had fun planting our little baby onions and tomatoes and peppers and herbs, and there’s a natural sense of protection that comes from planting crops that are meant to bring food. Those tiny green-leafed stems are the bearers of future existence, so naturally you want to make sure nothing keeps them from reaching their full potential or rips them out of the ground before they have a chance to fully develop. I assume it’s the same reason people are so protective of their children, so I choose to believe that having a garden might prepare me for being a mother someday. It’s the same argument I’ve heard some people use for why they get a dog, and it makes sense. The only different is that raising plants is much cheaper and you can eat them without feeling like a terrible person.

Whether or not we actually become sustenance farmers as a result of this past weekend’s efforts is just another thread in another unfinished tapestry. There might be something wonderful that comes of it all, or it might just be a random story that we get to tell someone someday. But that’s generally the case with so many things in life; it’s always hard to know which experiences will be the important, course-setting ones that take us where we hope to go. That has certainly been the case with our entire journey in Maryland so far. So much of what we’ve encountered here has left us scratching our heads in confusion, but some of that head scratching has finally ceased with the coming of bigger-picture understanding. And for all the things we still can’t quite make out, we’ve at least learned to scratch in unison.

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