Monday, October 20, 2014


First, sunrise, beautifully visible now from our upstairs window.


Then, a handful of different views of the farmhouse. Not your usual straight up, from the courtyard photos. This next one is from the road --  the house stands mysterious, nearly invisible, a little scruffy looking, with an unfinished front entrance (because we can't decide if and how to finish it) that you can't even see and that no one uses except the occasional person who does not put two and two together well. (There is no path, just untrampled weeds, crumbling steps, not much of a doorframe.)


Then the real deal -- the path to the entrance we all use and love, with morning sun coming in strong from the east.


And one more view -- the more standard one, from the porch, looking out, just to show off this magnificent crab apple that is beautiful in every season.


Okay, now a story for you:

It's an old story by now -- and that in itself is remarkable: that the story is old, dated, as in  -- time has passed, it's ancient! And still, I want to retell it, put down a fresh version of it. So that I can smile again and again at the quirky way life sweeps you along into the untried, the new, the weird and unpredictable.

Roll back nine years. It's Fall and my then husband and I are ending, by mutual agreement, for the most part a pretty darn good chapter in our lives -- our marriage. Tiding up the details, waiting for the court proceeding to put a rubber stamp on the split that we both have fashioned for ourselves.

I don't want a new relationship. I'm not looking for a replacement. Not even a partner in life. But I want company. I want to meet people. If that means I have to date, I'll date. I go on

A few days later I get an email from Ed. Something like this -- well, I have to give you credit for describing what you want in a guy. It's certainly not the usual "walk into the sunset together." Congratulations for being offbeat. I should say that honestly, we have nothing in common, so I'm not writing to suggest a "date," I just want to say congratulations.

After several emails back and forth -- mine, written from Vienna, where I'm meeting my daughter for a few days (here I am, in a Viennese funky jewelry shop, thinking whether I should respond to this guy's message...)

Vienna Oct 05 087

And I finally do respond to him, asking for a clarification as to why he thinks we have nothing in common. (He found Ocean, he knows my passions; he writes back --  you like travel to the great cities of Europe, you're urban, wordy, food focused.) I come back from Vienna. We decide to meet up. He suggests an apple orchard. He sends a very considerate email explaining where we would go and who his friends are, in case I am uneasy about taking off with a stranger. It hadn't struck me that I should be uneasy.

On October 20, 2005, he drives up to my new apartment home and as I come downstairs, I have my first glimpse of him: a tall guy, pacing the railroad tracks that run to the side of the building. His car is parked nearby. What a car! A Chevy Geo. Just about the cheapest on the market. Ancient and rusty, red, with a few pink stripes on one side. My first thought is -- my, he's tall and my second thought is -- what kind of a guy drives a junky car with pink stripes on it? It piques my interest. All men I know like powerful, nice looking cars.

From that day on, we do nearly everything together.

That was, of course, to the day, nine years ago. In so many ways, Ed's first email was spot on: my kids, my travel, my writing -- they drive my life. They surely are not his defining interests (though to give him credit, he is really fond of my daughters and they are fond of him). In fact, if we were to draw up the top ten things that we look for in a day, there would probably be no overlap.

And yet. At the core, we are so very solid. Different, YES! So much so that I'm sure his friends stop by just to take a look, because they can't believe it: it doesn't fit! Many -- mine, his -- scratch their head in disbelief. And some, who stuck around to see this thing unfold, come to see this simple truth: it is, in fact, possible to figure out how to navigate the waters of the "no overlap." For both of us, they are insanely happy waters, calm waters, sparkling bright waters. (Funny choice of words here, as he loves sailing and I get sea sick on anything that sways, including swings and most certainly sailboats.)

So on this beautiful October day, I'm thinking back to nine years ago and the apple orchard and my invitation afterwards to come up and have a glass of wine, not thinking that there could be someone out there who hates wine.

Madison Oct 05 177

Hi Ed.

Loire Dec 05 013
(My first photo of Ed, taken six weeks after we first met: we're on our first trip together. I'm dismayed to see him read rather than eat lunch in a cafe; go ahead, you eat - he tells me and takes out his book; these days, we both will, quite often, take something to read to cafes or restaurants. We don't need private time. We have a lot of it at the farmette.)

And now it's Monday, October 20, but 2014. This day happens to also be his birthday (something that I learned much later, as he refuses to recognize the significance of it) and since Ed likes to postpone boring chores, such as renewing your driver's license before it expires, he has waited until today (the day of expiry) to head out to our Dept of Motor Vehicles. That's a half day event (long lines) and so right after breakfast...


... off he goes, while I indulge in a walk along my favorite rural roads.

(the market farmers have cleared the fields to the east of us)

All the way to the Nature Conservancy Trail...


....and back.


And in the evening, as the brilliant last light of the day makes jewels of every remaining bloom at the farmette...



....we head out to our local Italian Place, where we sit side by side at a booth, in the way that we like and the food  (pizza!) is just fine but more importantly, the evening is as we like it: the two of us, kind of weirdly matched, though you wouldn't have guessed it. Not until that day at the orchard, nine years ago today.

(dinner tonight; earrings from  the little shop in Vienna nine years back)