Exactly twenty years ago, my former spouse and I gave up our rental house, put our belongings in storage, bought a thirty-foot fifth-wheel and a truck to haul it, and came to the farm. The idea was that we would spend the summer and grow a big garden to see if we wanted to buy some land and move here.
It was a wonderful summer. We parked the trailer in the folks’ side yard. We got acquainted with the area, and spent much-loved time with my family. We plowed and planted. We hauled water in big steel drums. We put up post and line trellises for raspberries and grew flowers and vegetables in a very serious manner. We sold them, artfully displayed, at the Wednesday Farmer’s Market in Madison. We imagined building our house up on the hill which is the field right next door to where my sister later built her house up on the hill, where I now stay. We roamed garden stores and the aisles of Farm and Fleet. We grocery shopped at Woodman’s, which is the most fabulous store ever.
I celebrated my 47th birthday with my little nieces, who are all married now, telling me I was older than dirt. I would lie in the bed of the pickup and watch the clouds pass over through the very blue sky. The venture didn’t work out, and we ended up going back to Arizona, buying a house, where my former spouse still lives, and I held on to the memory of that blue sky.
Now, these last five single summers, when I return to the farm, I still get twinges of longing at the memories of that summer. It was the first summer that got a name…The Summer of the Farm. It was a good time for our marriage, though there were red flags even then. Never the less, I am grateful to have had that summer, grateful for all these summers now, and grateful even for the twinges.