This has been a week of milestones. July 1 was our 42 wedding anniversary followed by our favorite holiday which is the 4th of July. My birthday is coming up but that is not such a big deal. The anniversary and 4th of July were something of a test of stamina in this new life marathon. We always celebrated our anniversary regardless of extenuating conditions - usually it was a project, a raised glass or a picnic but the day did not go by without notice. We loved the 4th of July because it meant great food and blowing things up. The kids were usually home and they usually brought their buddies. Last year Tom was building our stone terrace which is stunning. This year I spent the day the way we would have which basically involves farm machinery, and bubbling batches of fruit. Strawberries are in just now and as we have a 52 foot row that is 3 feet wide of berries we had a "few" on hand. I got a chance to tool around on my new tractor picking up stuff in the bucket loader and dropping it off in other places around the farm. It rained of course. There were mosquitoes of astounding size and ferocity but all in all it felt eerily normal.
That fragile balance and probably another milestone were disrupted by two events. The first was the most astonishing rainbow I have ever seen. It came on the 4th just after a downpour. The kiddos and I were standing on the porch after a full day of moving stuff around including getting ready for the pheasants. Hot, tired but generally okay we looked out over the field and a rainbow very low to the ground started at the beehives on one side of the property and ended in the orchard on the other side. The three of us just stood there arms locked, lips tightly shut keenly aware of the beauty and utter loneliness of that moment. Some would say it was a sign, I like to think that.
The second event that tipped the balance in the other direction was the arrival of the Japanese beetles. They come every year - ready or not- to New England. I hate them and Tom hated them even more. We worked out all our subliminal aggressions by drowning them in kerosene. This year I was suddenly overwhelmed by the prospect of warding off these insects. So overwhelmed that when I went out to the orchard and found them munching on the leaves I just burst into tears, cursed the cancer demons,cursed the leaking sprayer, cursed the weed whacker that I can't start and cursed those GD beetles - it was simply a meltdown. It was also cathartic and instructive. This is a marathon and it is not flat course . People can give good intentioned advice, make suggestions but like a marathon you are the one running. The milestones are the water breaks some are better than others but like any marathon - patience and resilience win the day . Balance is a relative construct - another milestone.