I had a farm once. A horse. Some chickens. A big giant garden full of bees, butterflies, and beetles. I read Tasha Tudor and Gladys Taber to recognize my life. I was living large. Then one day I raised my hand and said, “I give up” and walked away from that farm. I made my way slowly from my 18th century farmhouse (George Washington might have slept there), to a 19th century manor house (said to be haunted), to a 20th century Southern frame house (wrap around porch!), to a 21st century suburban cutout (words fail). Yes, I did. These days I cultivate my deck but the bees, butterflies and beetles are still with me. I started out as a true blue agrarian and ended up as a philosophical one, insects notwithstanding. The journey has been bittersweet.
Someday I will move from my house in the suburbs. Where will I go? Sometimes I imagine myself in a city loft, walking to Whole Foods each morning to buy vegetables and flowers, sitting on the deck in the evenings watching the lights on Lookout Mountain twinkle, and the stars. More often, I imagine myself on one small acre in a small house, with a small porch, and a small garden (nine bean rows), offering my grandchildren lemonade and cookies. And I will have some peace there because small dreams are good.
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee;
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.