All Good Things Vol5

You know that quote “all good things come to those who wait” and the platitude “everything happens for a reason” which we console ourselves with when faced with crushing disappointment? If you detest them then stop reading NOW because this is the next installment of one of THOSE stories.

Laughing, she climbs back into her trusty vehicle and heads downs the road. The GPS tells her she is just minutes away from the home of her hosts for the night. She finds the house and drives once around the block, trying to calm her pounding heart. At the door she is welcomed in with warmth and enthusiasm. Introductions all around, offers to help carry her bags, gifts of thanks placed on a gracious kitchen table. Soon, everyone is chatting more friends catching up than strangers newly met. Time to head for the potluck. They gather chairs and their culinary contributions. She is feeling better about hers since she stopped at a local farm stand and purchased half a dozen beautiful peaches to grill for dessert. This will compensate for the somewhat over baked cornbread she has tucked in the bottom of her grocery tote. Another group member will meet them at the potluck dinner; her dog was taken ill and she is not sure if this will change her plans. Her host family lives just outside historic Saratoga Springs. The town is clearly in full celebration mode for this end of summer weekend. Signs of weddings abound, and she is struck by the thought that just a year ago her own family was in full wedding preparation mode. Then there are the horses, so majestic and spirited! She thinks of meeting Simon, Lulu and Fanny and has to catch her breath.
The Anderson’s horse pasture and home sit on top of a hill with a classic view of rolling peaks. As group members arrive and greet each other with “Oh I love your blog,” “So you are the one who has the goats,” “Oh yes, he is the poet.” A masterful pirate ship carved from a watermelon arrives. Much delicious food is shared, some pirate bling is distributed, many hilarious stories are shared. Although the planned photo walk is cancelled by a rain shower, everyone departs smiling at the promise of meeting again at the Open House. As she rides back with their other guest, (whose dog is doing well under her husband watchful eye at home) their conversation is peppered with “Oh my look at that shot….should we pull over?” As they talk they find so many connections in their past; it is not often she finds someone who has also lived in Hong Kong and knows the Starr Ferry. One spectacular vista almost has them convinced to take the photo op but the roads are very winding, darkness is approaching and their hosts car would be far ahead of them in minutes. “Those are the Adirondacks right?” her new friend says. “Yes,” she responds. “Well, another time” they sigh and drive on. Any other such moment would break her heart, but under the spell of this dreamlike evening, she believes in second chances.

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All Good Things Vol 4

You know that quote “all good things come to those who wait” and the platitude “everything happens for a reason” which we console ourselves with when faced with crushing disappointment? If you detest them then stop reading NOW because this is the next installment of one of THOSE stories.

She lays on the ground, stunned and breathless. Her dog sits quietly beside her, sensing something is wrong. Gingerly she lifts her arm and the pain shooting up her arm rouses her awareness. The wrist appears normal, though very tender to the touch and difficult to move. She tucks her arm into her jacket. Thoughts race through her mind as she walks the dog to the corner and back. “No, not this time,” she vows resolutely. She will wrap the wrist tightly, stash some ice packs in a cooler, down some ibuprofen and hit the road. Off she goes, driving one handed and cautiously but driving intently. It is early, highway traffic is minimal and the coffee is strong. Striking views of fog draped hills, farms peering through the mist, dotted with cows and horses (was that a donkey maybe?) give her journey a magical quality. She is not given to romanticizing about dreams coming true. There is a four hour drive ahead of her, many unknowns at the destination, her cornbread for the potluck is overbaked and she has had nightmares about getting kicked off Bedfarm for taking pictures of Simon. Still there is something promising about the odd little encounters that happen along the way. At one rest stop there is a black lab walking by the picnic tables; at the next one there is a truck with a portable chicken coop. A sweet senior citizen asks her for some help with her car’s cruise control because she is driving the same kind of vehicle. “I’m so glad you are here,” the lady tells her. Me too, she thinks, me too. She resists the impulse to stop along the highway to take pictures of the misty dragons that drift above the Mohawk River. The NY Thruway is not a quiet country road, better not push one’s luck. The photo ops only increase once she leaves the highway and heads north along state roads. Small towns filled with abandoned brick factories, railroad bridges crossing rocky creeks, fields of wildflowers and so many old barns all asking to become a creative springboard. I will have to come back, she whispers as she keeps driving north and east. Then just a few miles from her host’s home she passes an irresistable signpost. She turns around, pulls off the road and takes her first picture of the weekend. “Petrified Sea Gardens?” There couldn’t be a clearer omen for the surprises yet to come.
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All Good Things Vol 3

You know that quote “all good things come to those who wait” and the platitude “everything happens for a reason” which we console ourselves with when faced with crushing disappointment? If you detest them then stop reading NOW because this is the next installment of one of THOSE stories.

By now she is driving a newer, more reliable car. She has a serious discussion with her family outlining the necessity of Mom getting away for a weekend. She has spent the past few months running the “parental taxi service” to and from music lessons, band rehearsal, social engagements, even the beach . She has stayed close to home, marshaling the dogs during the onslaught of exterior renovations. Not much of the hiking and camping trips to which she is accustomed have occurred this summer. The prospect of a future where Mom has lost her sanity is a dismal image. An agreement is reached; Mom’s happiness is to everyone’s benefit. She makes plans to travel to Cambridge for a day. When one Open Group member offers to host a potluck social for fellow members on the evening prior to the Open House, response is enthusiastic. By now all accommodations in the Cambridge area are booked solid. Some Open Ground members offer spare rooms or couch space for those in need of places to stay. Staying with people she’s only met on line? That is about as crazy as her hosts taking in people they’ve only met on line. Somehow these Open Group members are not strangers. No, they are more like old friends who have not yet met in person. Emails filled with anticipation and friendly exchanges fly back and forth. Labor Day weekend arrives. Usually a time of bittersweet transition from easy summer days to structured chaos she finds herself chuckling with excitement. The morning of departure dawns damp and foggy. The porch steps are slick from last night’s rains. As she takes the dog out for a quick walk before leaving, she slips, tumbling to the ground. She lands on her right wrist. There is an audible pop, she sees stars and there is a rush of breath taking pain. “No,” she thinks “no, no no…” ( to be continued)
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All Good Things Vol 2

You know that quote “all good things come to those who wait” and the platitude “everything happens for a reason” which we console ourselves with when faced with crushing disappointment? If you detest them then stop reading NOW because this is part two of one of THOSE stories.

A year passes. While her dead car is revived,  her trust in it is broken and their relationship cannot be salvaged.  She drives her husbands car when necessary for road trips, limiting her travels to matters of family only.  A daughter is married, the wedding takes the edge off her bitterness at missing the Open House at Bedlam Farm. Then Jon Katz starts a Facebook experiment called the Open Group for Bedlam Farm:  a  “ministry of encouragement” for creative souls. She is accepted as a member.  Day after day her Facebook feed is filled with posts of photography, poetry, biographical essays, travel logs and artwork from quilts to miniature gardens.  It pushes out the negative political commentary, snide gossip and desperate rescue posts.  She begins to make connections with other members….this one loves to hike, this one lived in Asia too, this one loves to garden, this one rides the rescue roller coaster, this one also writes bad haiku.  An internal whisper grows stronger as members encourage each other to “jump in.”  Her humorous comments, simple photos and bad poetry are not only accepted, other members genuinely enjoy them. She takes notes, write a poem to thank the group and starts a blog. She buys a new camera and is often seen standing on the roadsides around her little town. “No everything is fine,” she cheerfully reassures her neighbors, ” I’m just taking some pictures of the clouds/haystacks/old tractors/wildflowers.”  Every morning she dashes to her laptop. As the coffee maker brews fuel for the day and the dogs eat their breakfast, she taps the desk in anticipation of the daily offering from her favorite poet. Through out the day there are authentic stories that help her face unexpected challenges with grace and genuine funny tales that make her laugh right out loud and dispel anger. In dark moments there is artwork handcrafted in rich tones to lift her spirits. And there are under currents of rebellion and piracy that bring a renewed playfulness to her outlook on life.  and THEN there are plans taking shape for members to meet at the next Open House….(to be continued)Image

All Good Things Vol 1

You know that quote “all good things come to those who wait” and the platitude “everything happens for a reason” which we console ourselves with when faced with crushing disappointment? If you detest them then stop reading NOW because this is one of THOSE stories.

Once upon a time ( it could easily have been a hundred years ago it seems like that much time has passed) an ardent fan of the author Jon Katz set out to visit the legendary Bedlam Farm for a much anticipated Open House. Bold and daring thoughts filled her head, thrilling thoughts of meeting THE dogs of Bedlam Farm, seeing sheep herding demos and maybe just maybe even shaking the hand that penned the words which had filled her life for some many years. Three exits down the NY State Thruway, she pulls off at a rest stop, her car vibrating in an odd manner.  Thinking it must be the chronic low tire pressure of the front right tire that had plagued her for weeks, she pulls over at an air hose.  No problem here. Everything seems fine, until she tries to start the car again. Dead silence. Nothing. Then tears, many many tears as she realizes she maybe going nowhere fast. Confirmed a half hour later when the emergency truck from AAA Emergency Road Service arrives and pronounces her car Dead On the Road.  More tears as she waits for the flatbed to arrive to tow her car to her home service station. Tears and many angry “Whys?”  for which there were no answers as her dream vanished in the cloud of disappointment. (to be continued.)Image