Tomorrow, I will be having surgery to repair multiple torn and weak abdominal muscles. Again. The first time was probably 8 or 9 years ago, and I’ve honestly lost track of the number of times I’ve had to revisit the operating room to repair the repairs. Time and again, the various techniques and meshes used have not held, resulting in the injuries being worse than they were before. This particular operation, however, will be done by a specialist whose only focus is repairing and reinforcing the various layers of the abdomen, one at a time. It’s been months in the planning, and the closer it has gotten, the more anxious I am about it. I am not worried about the operation itself, rather it’s the lengthy recuperation that follows that has weighed me down. A strict three months of sitting on the couch watching court shows and bad zombie movies might sound attractive to some, but in case you’ve forgotten, I live on a Farm. Taking three months off at this time of year isn’t easy when you are responsible for a growing Farm with large gardens and enough animals to stock up a modern day ark. Preparing and planting the gardens alone is a full time job, and the daily care of the growing number of horses and donkeys can easily fill every other hour within the day. Of course, there is also a never ending list of other Spring chores like fence repairs, winter clean up of the horse fields, mowing and restocking of the depleted hay supply. How can I sit for three months knowing there is so much to do? It became clear months ago that we would need some help, and although at the time I had no idea what form that help would come in, I had faith that the Universe would provide. And provide It has.
Hannah entered our lives a couple years ago, when it had become increasingly clear that I had enough time in the day to be a good husband, farmer and builder of things, but not a housekeeper. What started as an occasional visit to help straighten up after two messy members of the male species turned into a more regular appearance, and she soon became a part of the Farm family. The dogs took a liking to her straight away, and it wasn’t long before they became more excited to see her than they were me or the Man. Young pup Sebastian quickly developed a bond with her, both for her gentle ways and the extra treats she would sneak him when they both thought no one was watching. On occasion, she would find her to way to the barn to visit the horses and donkeys, and little by little I noticed that they too were warming up to her presence. While some might say that the one true test of a person’s character is how a dog responds to them has clearly never owned a donkey. It is impossible to hide anything from a donkey, and if you have any character flaws at all, you will not pass go and collect $200 dollars in the game called “Donkey Land”. Hannah was fitting in well, and it was clear to anyone watching that she had a knack for the farm life. I remember the day it dawned on me that perhaps she might be the solution that I had been waiting for. “Hannah!” I hollered from the porch into the house. When she finished sneaking a treat to the dogs, she appeared in the doorway, and we began a conversation that eventually led to her moving into the tiny guesthouse next to the barn a few months later. Little by little, she has taken on many responsibilities here at the Farm, including a lot of the daily routine of caring for the horses and the donkeys. I’ve enjoyed the role of teacher, and she has taken on the job of farm apprentice with a work ethic rarely seen in others her age. In a few short months, she has become my right hand man, and will be the one that takes care of the physical aspects of the Farm while I patiently heal and recuperate like I should.
On one hand, it is a relief to know that the Farm, and it’s myriad of critters, will be well taken care of over the next few months. I trust Hannah to care and watch out for my animals as I would, and as most know by now, my trust does not come easily these days. My only concern at this point is how I am going to occupy my time over the coming weeks and months. More than likely, I will make a lot of baskets, and have already ordered new supplies to prepare for that. I plan on finally spending time honing my sad ukulele playing skills, and I am looking forward to sitting on a stool in the back barn yard playing and singing for the donkeys. I never did get to any of my winter reading, and I have a stack of untouched books waiting for me to disappear into. My foremost wish, though, is to spend more time with my camera, refocusing my mind’s eye through the lens. And, I want to write. I miss writing, but I am often too tired at the end of the day to share my life in a way that might be entertaining to those that might read my blogs. Slowly, my life has evolved to the point of being so busy that I do not have the time or energy to be creative, and I really miss it. Perhaps this mandatory time off is the Universe’s way of allowing me to not only heal physically, but mentally and creatively as well. Time will tell, I suppose. By the middle of Summer, I will either be an enlightened ukulele playing basket maker with a good eye and a tale to tell, or I will have gone stark raving mad from watching Judge Judy repeats all day on Court TV.