October is winding down. The swirl of leaves and sunshine is behind us, as are days in the sun seventies. Nights now involve lighting a fire to keep the farmhouse comfortable and soon the same will need to be tended in the morning. The midday fire keeping - the all-day flame - that is when winter truly is here. Climate reports seem to suggest a mild winter in the northeast and I would very much appreciate that. A winter without 4 feet of snow in one storm or frozen pipes would be lovely. One can hope!
Speaking of lovely: This week is Shannon's Birthday! This past year— Autumn 2020 till now—marks our first year living together through all four seasons on this farm. It certainly has given us a fair share of challenges, but more than that, it has given us a life together richer and more beautiful than apart. This farm has never been better, more organized, more beautiful, more healthy, more alive. This woman has shared with me a love of herbs, mushrooms, tracking, paths, and wild places in a way that this entire farm has been waiting to blossom into adoring. She's made a hike I used to blast through to a view on a summit into a winding and wild walk of fungus and coyote tracks and stories of deer paths and hawk pellets. She's shown me how to calm down, look down, and center myself. For an anxious woman always looking up - it is harmony to find a gentle woman that encourages you to breathe, stretch, and look down.
There's more tea in my life now, less coffee. But I have never slept better. Hell, even my ten thousand books are starting to get organized and shelved instead of set into whatever spare space I can find around kitchen cupboards and under beds.
But most importantly, this woman has taught me to so much about the ways to love more, and harder, and better. Every day I wake up beside her has been a paradise and a plot I could have never anticipated. And you know what? Just a few years ago I was too afraid to even consider. When you are so deep in the closet you run away to the mountains to live with hawks and foxes - you somewhat guard yourself against the possibility of love. She opened that door.
I love you, Shannon Marie. I hope you stick around another year.