Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Chapter Ten - Part One - Site Ideals

After a week of letting the kids finish school, and transition into summer, I have that feeling of reflection running heavily through my arteries. How is it that time passes so quickly on a personal level, whilst my professional timing is excruciatingly slow? It will surprise no one for me to say, I remember when my kids were small like it was yesterday. They are strobing towards adulthood at a breakneck pace, and my dearest desire to provide a sturdy bridge for them to cross from childhood to adulthood is more wish than reality.

Like many of us, they'll have to pick their way across the raging waters on the slippery stones I've managed to toss in for them between dealing with a bad relationship, divorce and entering a new life. I envy those people who somehow got it right in the first place and have stable homes and marriages and health and can take their kids to Disneyland and give them horseback riding lessons. That ain't me. Of course, it is no surprise really, as that is surely not what I had growing up.

Still, it leaves a writer wondering just how selfish she's being to pursue such a goal...and it requires one to look soberly at one's perspective. I know that my ambition has been somewhat distracted most of my career. I can really only say that I have been a hobbyist writer while I struggled to hold everything else together. This has not been an ideal location for an orchard.

An ideal location for an orchard is really specific it turns out. You've got to have a hill of a specific degree, with proper irrigation and sun exposure, and here I've just been focusing on soil amendment. Obviously, though, not every orchard grower has the ideal site for an orchard and they still do it. So, that's what my approach is for my writing. Without ideal conditions, I'm working it. And, I've eliminated some of the worst conditions from the field.

Frost and cold spots, for instance, can be very detrimental to an orchard. The places where the cold just hangs there - little dips in the surface. It requires bringing in the heavy equipment to grade the site sometimes. I sort of view my first marriage and later divorce that way in terms of how it affected my writing, and the amount of energy it took to change the grade. I had to grade the site finally, and accept that the conditions were impossible to grow myself much less what I dreamt of growing. I accept that the whole experiment of it slowed me down. I would start a crop in my field, and suddenly everything would freeze up due to the great distress in my everyday life. Now, I have some sense that while the grade is imperfect, later in the day sun (a Western slope perhaps), but it is not detrimental to the growth of saplings anymore I believe.

I suppose that all of the huge rocks I've been throwing out of this field also can be put over in that river for my kids to cross over on their own. I do remember a certain joy in picking my way across a river on a sunny day. It was thrilling to do it myself. I do pray everyday that I can stay on the adult side of the river and cheer them on, rather than going out there to do it for them. Hand-holding will weaken their resolve, and if there is one thing I know it is that they will have to be very strong in their resolve in order to make it over here in adulthood. That's the good part of my resources being refocused on this orchard. I hope I am right about that.

I wonder how I'm going to get that water to come up the hill and irrigate my trees?

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