Our family went through a few changes recently. We added another child when our daughter, Naomi, was born at the end of summer. And we lost my father-in-law a couple months later to cancer. This was our first winter living on our new rural acreage, and what a winter it was. New records in both continuous subzero temps as well as epic snowfall. We found ourselves stranded quite a bit and I had to do homeschooling lessons with the children nearly all of February due to snow days. We had a lot of growing pains. We were weaving a new landscape for our family dynamic and that can be painful.
We are adding new layers to our landscape with a farming endeavor. A tree farm on one side, and a small scale family farm on the other. Changing your land and your life requires not only physical labor, but also emotional labor.
The base layer requires a lot of foundation. You cannot skip this step. In both farming and art, your base layer needs to be substantial and supportive. Without appropriate depth, the project crumbles.
As other life was taken from us, new life was emerging. Our saplings took form. Our chickens laid eggs. We chose gardening areas and cleared underbrush from the orchard. We mourned a great loss. We listened to Bob Dylan at the funeral. “The Times They Are A-Changin’ ” was relevant in so many ways.
While traveling home, I watched the iron soaked icicles forming on the ore cliffs along Lake Superior. Thinking about heavy metals flowing from their home for millions of years and out into the water for a new phase of existence. We arrive home for an unusually warm day and tend to the compost bins on the western side of our land. Constantly changing, forming new soil, entering its new phase of existence.
Each day is a snap shot. We are always in a new phase. Each day. A landscape painting waiting for its next layer. My children grow. I find more gray hair. We create new earth from remnants cast aside. I add another tree or rock to my vista on canvas.
None of these things are ever finished. There is no “done”. The frames run by and when we think we’ve reached the end, a new phase of existence is here. A landscape is never complete. There is no finale.
“North Shore”, a mini landscape in remembrance of saying goodbye to someone taken too soon.