The autumn morning is crisp and dark. We walk back and forth between the cars taking things out and putting things in. Brr it’s cold she says. I just farted so you will be hitting a warm pocket. I say. This is how the day begins.
After a pancake fund raiser for the county 4H we go on a farm tour of a community I managed to get lost in several times last summer. I tweet at turkeys, pullets, geese. I scratch mules and oink at piglets and kiss goats. Ah this, this joyful life. And later we eat whole grain bread dipped in red Apple vinegar and soft goat chevre. More fuel for heating the crisp morning air.
We do the daily barn, two men drive by us, and when they park they ask if they can film us for a documentary. I agree and tell my corny story of this being my family, my home away from home, and letting stress dissipate as I travel the winding roads to this place. We meet a famous trapper and treasure hunter and some serious Deliverance type toothless men. As we walk away, we realize they are probably hunting Sasquatch and we laugh about my ex boyfriend watching the show and being jealous of how I met these men and got caught on film.
She counsels me on this walk. How are you so good at all of this? It’s easy to see from the outside. I confess my deepest fears and sorrows and loss and she paints it into happy words of a marriage lasting more than its obligatory three years and one day. He did love you. And this a man who stuck with me a couple weeks longer than he should have because I am amazing.
I drive north along, yes you heard it here, the Northway. The leaves just past peek but glorious, the trees alive with an almost psychedelic vibrational energy. I catch my breath again and again. The beauty is astonishing.
Route 9 is one of the most beautiful drives in the whole world. The blacks and greys of granite cliffs tumbling down as a river cascades in winding rocky runs, the white of the birch the green bristles of the pines the sun peeking through in brilliantly lighted patches of bursting yellow, shining orange and the remaining scarlet trees contrasting in breath taking gloriousness.
The other thing I see along Route 9 is long lines of cars parked at the some of the best hiking in New York. I know it well be busy before we even get to the brew pub in Lake Placid. We wait an hour drinking craft beers and talking, tears spring to my eyes as they tell me of my daughter’s grandmother knowing she will be judged by God for not doing enough for her, or I. And the pinched nose and furrowed brow of him as I tell him, unwittingly, about how his brother threatened to kill me and my unborn child when I was four months pregnant. This is why I left him, I say. Later, she tells me he called his brother an idiot while I was in the bathroom. But we talk not just of this unhealed rift in all of our lives. A rift they both work tirelessly to redeem, for themselves, my daughter, and me.
I feel their love, as we talk about books and art and teaching and the love of family you make. They call me sister in law and tell me of my goodness and all that I deserve and speak of my strength in raising this child, and of the incredible difficulties of being a single mother, even in this day and age.
I tell them of loneliness and my desire to cultivate this kind of supportive loving relationship in my life. I need this I tell them, I need you in my life. And they are there with open arms, home canned foods, frozen fresh pesto and gratitude and compassion and loving kindness. Later in bed I think this is the kind of thing that my therapist spoke of, finding healthy relationships and leaving the unhealthy ones behind.
On my way home, and mind you the whole journey punctuated by the wonderful rich eclectic talented musicians on my iPod, I think of this thing I have done my whole life, this notion of the observed. Who is the observer? I watch myself this whole day, and see. I love this me. I love this person, Meg Gregory. She is fucking wonderful, she has amazing family and friends. She is smart and cool and compassionate and she watches herself and sees. I am this. I am. I am.
And fuck any one who sought to tear her down, who left her with a cruel coldness, who does not see that she is the scarlet tree the stark white birch the tumbling granite and the crystal trout filled waters cascading down mountains.
This is my true home.