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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Enjoy the good

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It takes all of us to make a balanced world. But silly me I fight battles where there aren't any, usually little skirmishes inside my head and heart. I can tell someone not to compare themselves with anyone else, but I'm not as good at believing it for myself.

Prepping for Farm Wedding day right here where we live, I've watched my sister scrape, sand and paint the porch and deck four days straight. I've watched my niece weed the veggie and flower beds and paint the studio roof in the hot sun for hours on end. I've watched Don build a fence, straighten the barns and a dozen other tasks. I've watched Peter dig dirt, haul pea gravel, design a stoop for l'atelier and paint roofs. Me? I've watched myself float from laundry line to flower beds to the stove and the sink, all things I enjoy. I compare tasks, and mine come up short.

But by the end of the second day when my dear, weary hard working family was eating a meal outside that I had loved fixing, and we sat there in that perfect evening light with a breeze touching the outside of us while warm food and wine touched the inside - I got it - and actually felt a little proud.

My sister loves to paint, making everything fresh. My niece loves to weed and see what she accomplished. My husband loves to piddle in his barns and garden. I love to plant flowers, hang laundry, cook, organize and clean. Carrying a tray of farm glasses outside full of cold well water to the troops makes me happy, and so does chopping garlic and an hour later smelling its musk on my fingers. Just as there is a time to work and a time to rest, different people are good at different things and have different roles. I had to remind myself of my Christmas post.

And as my sister later said, she'd rather work 8 hours scraping, sanding and painting than spending one hour in the kitchen cooking.

No, I didn't bake this chocolate torte, but it sure was good. I did make the savory spaghetti from scratch. It was the perfect balance.



Ecclesiastes 3

1To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

2A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

3A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

4A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

5A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

6A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

7A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

8A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. . . .

. . .

13And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God. . . .

. . .

20All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.


Listen to Pete Seeger, and members of The Byrds - Chris Hillman, Roger McGuinn and David Crosby talk about Pete Seeger's song "Turn, Turn, Turn" that he wrote in 1959 pretty much word for word Ecclesiastes 3. Of course Seeger added that last line to verse 8, as well as the refrain "turn, turn, turn":

A time to love, a time to hate
A time of peace, I swear it's not too late!



81 comments:

kanmuri said...

What a great post! Plus, I love it when you post pictures of champêtre meals :D Can't wait to see the wedding pictures!

João said...

Hello, I think good people outnumber by far the rotten seeds amongst us, it's just that we don't make the news.
Carry on, sweet Ruth. Love will rule the Earth.

VioletSky said...

You should help out in any way that doesn't make you feel resentful is my opinion.

I also did a touble take on your use of 'piddle'. I am assuming it is the other meaning!!

Claudia said...

Happy family team work is so rewarding! Beautiful and inspiring post, Ruth. Gorgeous photo of that scrumptious dinner of yours, too :-)

Barry said...

Terrific insight I need to remember.

Claudia said...

As for "Turn, Turn, Turn" I grew up listening it, my mom had a single of Mary Hopkin singing these verses and I would play it over and over again, reflecting on the meaning of the words. Once again, Ruth, this is a remarkably beautiful and inspirational post.

Kerri said...

Awesome post Ruth! I have such a problem with feeling that I don't "measure up". And one of my most favorite set of verses from the Bible. You've made my day!

Judy said...

I'm looking forward to the farm wedding as an outsider looking in! But first I'll enjoy the stories of preparation time. I'm enjoying your blog!

Anet said...

Your dinner looks like a magazine ad! I bet your family appreciated your effort in this beautiful dinner for them.
It's so heart warming to see your family pitching in to help with the prep for the wedding. I'm glad you have such great help.

The Bug said...

I used to feel this way at church - I'm not really a people person so I'd hide in the kitchen washing dishes during coffee hour. Then I realized that churches are FULL of people persons & that we needed dish washers too...

shicat said...

Ahhh enjoying the moments and making memories, what could be better. Happy wedding memories. Love that song,just so good.
The pictures are great.Will you be taking wedding pics?

amuse me said...

Reading your words and experiencing your days vicariously through your actions reminds me of the movie Tuscan Sun, starring Dianne Lane. She too found peace in doing what she did best and enjoying everyone around her. Wonderful reminder post. :) M

Oliag said...

Ah the Byrds...I met them once, in a garrett, after a concert at URI, when we were all very young...I'm sure they would not remember it but I will never forget staying up listening to them playing and singing late into the night...

There are some Bible verses that I hold dear and can relate to even as an agnostic...and this is my favorite...the song, of course, brings me right back to my youth..

renaye said...

so cool!!!! i have never really eaten in open air like in a garden. the last time i had, i got chased by monkeys. :)

ds said...

Ruth, this is lovely. One of my favorite songs (as it is for many)...a beautiful meal (homemade pasta--yum!Did you make the bread also? That is hardly nothing)...and a reminder of a favorite book: Frederick by Leo Lionni, about the mouse who does not labor in the obvious ways, but gathers the sun's rays, colors--and words. And gives them back when the time is right, to folks who appreciate them. Sound familiar?
And now you are gathering the stones of your far-flung family together for the ultimate "time to embrace." How wonderful is that!

dutchbaby said...

I'm so glad you got it in the end! I was certain your tasks did not come up short. I'm sure everyone appreciated the beautiful table you set with delicious and nutritious home-made food. Just because you love doing something does not mean it has less value.

I love peeking in vicariously as you plan a beautiful farm wedding.

Please remember verse thirteen!

Susan said...

Cooking that delicious meal was a labor of love for your hard-working team and they embraced it with open arms. You made their jobs easier by bringing them drinks when they were thirsty...and I'm sure fetching things for them so they wouldn't have to interrupt what they were doing. I'm happy that in the end you gave yourself credit where credit was due.

One of my favorite songs, too.

Ginnie said...

Oh Ruth! This has brought tears to my eyes. The Yin and Yang of Life's cycles. This is so beautiful. Thank you. I'm in one of my own cycles right now...and maybe we all are?

Debbie said...

I love the Ecclesiastes 3 verse! Have it hanging on my fridge. I'd rather be mucking stalls than cooking or walking in the woods near water. The diversity creates balance.

California Girl said...

Looks like a fruitful, yummy wedding coming up. Your photos induce longing of many kinds, including hunger. Hey! PBS recently ran a bio of Seeger on "American Masters" (I think) and it was spellbinding. He was more prolific than I knew and what a principled guy. Of course, my dad thought he was a Communist but, my dad thought everyone was a Communist so, poop! I just threw that in because I am always amused when I read or hear an accounting of someone who truly walked the talk and did good things and my dad had the wrong idea about them thanks to the thinking "back in the day."

Mary Ellen said...

A lovely, satisfying post. And yummy meal - thanks for sharing it! (Pete Seeger is one of my all-time favorite humans.)

CottageGirl said...

It's a hard thing to remember ... that we are all ... well ... ourselves ... and no one else.
We should not waste our precious time here on this earth wanting to be something we are not. (Pardon me ... I'm talking to myself here!)

That Byrds album was in my top 3 back in the day! So inspirational! So cool! Great make-out 8 track ... "Make-out" as in necking. (Might have been a child of the 60's, but even then there was a line! ;-)

Enjoy!!

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Ruth said...

Hi, Kanmuri. I had to look up champêtre. Thank you for that new term. (See how valuable an English teacher is.)

I really enjoy eating outside, as long as there aren't mosquitoes swarming. The evening I took this shot was one of the most perfect ones I've ever sat out in. (Please fix that sentence, Kanmuri.)

Ruth said...

João - it's true. Our son watched the evening news with us (something he doesn't do) and asked why is all the news they show bad? We couldn't come up with a good answer. Apparently they think it's what we want to hear.

Negatives wield more power, in fear and anger. We get too used to all the good and forget to see it.

Thank you for the reminder, João.

Ruth said...

Sanna, it's taken me a lifetime to figure that out. Putting resentment into the air is far worse than saying no. Anywho.

Now what meaning could you possibly attribute to "piddle" besides mine?

Ruth said...

Claudia, thank you. Sometimes as I'm taking a photo of the food I'm about to eat I realize what a dork I am. BUT, people never fail to respond that they are happy I did. Funny, no? We humans live vicariously much of the time.

I grew up in a family with 8 kids and our saying was "many hands make light work."

Ruth said...

Barry - you've been publishing the highs and lows of your cancer experience, which I appreciate more than you can imagine. It is YOUR story, no one else's. Everyone will respond differently to such circumstances. There is no right or wrong way to respond. It just is what it is.

VioletSky said...

piddle: marking ones territory - as some men, and most animals love to do. the advantages of peeing standing up.

Ruth said...

Oh, Claudia, she's the one who sang Those Were the Days, right? I googled her after your comment and learned that she was also a novelist.

I'm listening to her sing "Turn Turn Turn" on youtube right now. She has that perfect folk voice from the '60s. The balance of these words is a good thing to learn as a young person. You're fortunate.

Ruth said...

Kerri, our minds get in the way. I know I think way too much and analyze everything to death, like if I have a bad, down day. One thing I've learned is that however I feel today (euphoric or sad), I will likely feel differently tomorrow.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Judy, so much. Before posting this I was very unsure of myself and felt no one would relate. I try to share things that are universally understood (within limits of course) and don't want to bore anyone. It means a lot that you enjoy coming here. Thank you.

Ruth said...

Anet, I have to tell you, I am still stunned that anyone would work so hard for this event. It's one thing for Don and me, since we live here. But the extra help from Nancy, Jen and Peter - and more to come - is heart warming and humbling. I know how much Lesley & Brian appreciate it too. And it is so much more fun working with someone else than alone.

Ruth said...

Bug - the passage from the New Testament comes to mind: that we are all members of one body, all filling different roles.

Ruth said...

Cathy, no, I don't plan to take pictures. As someone wisely pointed out a while back, being behind a camera alters your perspective. I don't want anything between me and the couple, and all the family and friends. Happily the photographer's photographs will be ours to do with as we wish, so I can even post some here if I want to.

Ruth said...

Marion, I think there is a love of a farm in a lot of people. At least that's what we've discovered.

Ruth said...

How true, Oliag, that they will not likely remember some fans, but you will be impressed forever. Kind of sad to me, because you are such an interesting person. But maybe they do remember. It must have been thrilling to sit together while they played even more music after already giving a concert.

I'm with you. I don't read the Bible now or follow Christianity, but there are still fundamental truths to be found in sacred texts.

Ruth said...

That is a good story, Renaye, I'd love to read about it at your blog. I still have a very hard time loading your page though. And I am never able to leave a comment.

Ruth said...

Ah, DS, how cool is that. I don't know that mouse story, but I like it (as you would guess).

I did not make homemade pasta - that would indeed be a treat. And this was a rare loaf of bread that Don did not make. He has been so busy with these other tasks that bread making hasn't been on his agenda for a couple of weeks. No, the only homemade item was the tomato sauce, and that was very simple. But it was enough to make all of us grateful. It's the attitude that matters. And you're right, people coming together is the main thing in this wedding. It's so wonderful.

Ruth said...

Yep, Dutchbaby - that's where I got the title of the post.

I wish you well on your big journey, and I look forward to stories.

Arti said...

What a beautiful family portrait you've painted. See, you paint too, in words, with photography... And that song is one of my all time favorites. I was just listening to it a couple of days ago, and was reading that part of the scripture not too long ago. Ruth, I know you're really busy, but I've tagged you for a meme which, coincidentally, you've started here with this post. Don't feel obligated, but anytime you feel like it...
Thanks for a heart-warming piece!

Arti said...

Also, I meant to ask you... the comment from 'Anonymous', would you like a translation?

Vagabonde said...

When I moved to San Francisco my husband-to-be introduced me to Pete Seeger’s music and I have enjoyed listening to him ever since. In San Francisco too I read the book The Feminine Mystique, which apart from other things said that you should feel good doing what you like and not feel guilty not doing the things you don’t enjoy. So, I don’t do much housekeeping!!! But I like to cook a good meal – once in a while, when my current book is finished – if not – we eat a lot of al fresco salads. Your meal looks very good – what type of red wine was that?

Ruth said...

Susie Q (you know what the Q stands for), I wish it didn't take me so long to figure it out. It happens every so often, and still I forget.

Ruth said...

Boots, it's a relief to know there are cycles. We might not feel challenged in the same ways tomorrow - or next week.

Sweetie!

Ruth said...

Debbie, what is work to one is pure enjoyment to another. I need to accept it!

Ruth said...

California Girl - I hadn't seen Seeger talk until this clip. He sounds profoundly interesting. One of those people who doesn't take himself too seriously.

I like what you wrote about your dad. It's nice growing older so we can get perspective on such things, eh?

Ruth said...

Mary Ellen, I can see why he is a favorite. I don't know enough about him yet.

Ruth said...

CottageGirl, make-out 8 track! Honey, that is a blast from the past (not that I had any of those, ha).

I get conflicted over this issue of the self, being someone who continuously wants to improve mine.

Ruth said...

Hi, Anonymous, wish I understood all that.

Ruth said...

Sanna, I knew what you meant. I was playing dumb.

Ruth said...

Thank you for the tag, Arti! I might wait until after the wedding.

Yes, I'd love a translation. Is it Korean? And how would you get it??

Ruth said...

Hi there, Vagabonde, it's pretty basic, doing what feels good and right and not doing what doesn't. This was a good re-lesson for me, but I'm pretty sure I'll have to keep working on it.

The wine is Gato Negro cabernet sauvignon. It was pretty good for an inexpensive bottle. And I'm with you about housekeeping. I don't do much until guests are coming. This farm wedding is getting us to do quite a bit of housekeeping - making up for lost time.

Loring Wirbel said...

Any of that capellini and red wine left? Yum.

Ginnie said...

It just occurred to me, Ruth, that in recognizing we all have cycles...and obviously not always at the same time...it might help us be more forgiving of each other when we see things we don't understand. It's easy to judge someone else and see something as a "pattern," when perhaps it's more of a cycle?? I need to think on this some more. It feels like an AHA moment for me....after reading the words from Ecclesiastes.

Anonymous said...

...I'm glad you finally "got it".

You are all gifted in so many ways...and this is a very special day.

Lesley and Brian "get it" I think that's why so many of the family want to help. This is all truly a labor of the heart (Harts).

Most weddings ask that you markd the date on your calendar, then arrive, observe, and have fun.

Leslie and Brian have asked everyone to participate and in doing so, bless them! I am already feeling all the many blessings that are being showered upon them....Pause, and enjoy each precious moment my friend! <3<3<3
Cindy G

Arti said...

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Nancy said...

This is so very true. We all have things that we are good at, that nurture and show our love. They do not have to be the same.

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Peter said...

Pete Seeger... a lot of nostalgia - for me at least! (I know, he's still around. Good!)

This is the type of meal I would really like to join, especially served in a nice summer garden!

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ds said...

Ruth, your Anonymous Caller is getting clever (I don't know what you do about that, and it is the last thing you need)...but that's not why I'm here.
It's because "many the hands make light the work" was one of my grandmother's favorite sayings and it is so true. You are blessed with wonderful family & friends and your own marvelous talents (which are numerous). This wedding is such a demonstration of love from all sides, that it is beautiful to 'watch.' Thank you so much for sharing. (and I'd like to send you the 'mouse book', may I? Mr. Berry has been much in my mind of late...)

rauf said...

oh i never knew Mary Hopkins was a novelist. i think paul McCartney promoted her. She became popular with 'those were the days'

i never paid any attention to the lyrics Ruth i just sang without knowing what i am singing.

i think its time for Lesley to come down now. She has to see what is going on. There is so much of love behind every action.

Ruth said...

Loring, nope, the workers ate up the leftovers the next day while I was at work.

Ruth said...

Boots - Yes! It's the worst thing when someone keeps you tight in a box of all your previous histories. It does feel like people go through the same cycles though sometimes. :) A cycle pattern? But I really want people to recognize that I'm evolving and not the same person I was last year or last decade, you know?

Ruth said...

Cindy! It is a joy to see you here - and a little strange after so many years, knowing you in a previous lifetime, no? You are a giving, positive life force.

There are so many things coming together in this wedding that make it a powerful event for me. We have been having Farm Day for a few years now with family coming and loving the farm. The farm takes care of all of us, I don't know how else to explain it. It invited us here, and it is our caretaker. Now, the wedding feels right. You know Lesley never even lived here, and Peter just for a bit in college (and again now), but there was no doubt for her and Brian where they wanted to be married.

Ruth said...

Arti - I figured as much. I got spammed very badly back in January on multiple posts. I activated the word verification and it stopped. I might have to start that again.

So now I know even more about you, after your meme. Richer and richer.

Thank you for the translation/information.

Ruth said...

Nancy, only humans compare themselves with each other.

Ruth said...

Peter, I think you are my brother Nelson's age or so, and maybe about Pete Seeger's age too. It would be fun to have a conversation with him, and with you too. I hope one day we will sit at a table in Paris and talk. Please, if you are ever in the Midwestern U.S., you must let me know.

Ruth said...

DS! Ah you're so sweet. I would love the book! Yes, please.

That anonymous and those gorgeous Chinese characters. I hate to delete them. I might have to resume word verification if it keeps up, at least for a bit.

You are such a great blog buddy. I like that slightly different version of the saying, "make light the work" - quite poetic.

Ruth said...

rauf, I have been thinking just what you wrote, that the wedding event is happening for several weeks and I wish she were here with Brian. It will be pure joy when they arrive and the celebration erupts from this ground.

I sort of wish I could sit in a tree and watch it all. I am afraid it will happen and I won't absorb it while it's happening.

Wish you could be here for it too.

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shoreacres said...

Ruth,

I was here earlier, just long enough to see what you were writing about. I skedaddled as fast as my little feet would take me because I was working with the same theme, albeit in quite a different way.

Remember precious Godot? There's a sequel now, involving his porch-companion Godette. I'll leave it at that except to wonder again - why is it we so often assume doing something we don't enjoy is more worthy than engaging in work that we love? After all, a meal cooked with love nourishes body and soul.

Ruth said...

Linda! I LOVED your Godette story, photos, ingenuity, and anthropomorphisms.

*jean* said...

thank you for sharing your wedding musings....i can't wait to see the post of the big day! your spaghetti looks so apetizing, i can almost smell it here!! yum!!

we should never underestimate the value of nourishment...be it food, art, or.....anything you write about here...

i love visiting your blog, ruth, i'd love a cup of coffee, please

:o)

Ruth said...

Dear Peter - I am horrified! I just looked up Pete Seeger at wiki and see that he was almost as old as my parents!! Not my brother's age at all. Forgive me for a silly error, since I have known close to nothing about Seeger's bio. I assumed he was of the same era as the Beetles, and how wrong I was. He is 90, and you are very far from that.

I still hope to walk around Paris and then sit and chat over dinner with you and Don one day.

Sandy said...

I'm reminded of the spring of 2001, getting ready for my niece's wedding here, the first wedding we had in the yard. We had family as work crews, each doing their own thing. Not one to be in the kitchen much, I kept busy creating new pathways, moving rocks, etc. i was so pleased when someone took over feeding everybody, whether it was cooking or calling and ordering take out, but it was out of my hands. I simply had to clean up and come to the table. It is so true we all have our own special things we enjoy and contribute to the whole.

Ruth said...

Jean, the blog gets better when you're here.

I just found this today in my daily Rumi:

Love for Certain Work

Traveling is as refreshing for some
as staying at home is for others.

Solitude in a mountain place
fills with companionship for this one,
and weariness for that one.

This person loves being in charge
of the workings of a community.

This other one loves the ways
heated iron can be shaped with a hammer.

Each has been given a strong desire
for certain work, a love for those motions,
and all motion is love.

The way sticks and pieces of dead grass and leaves
shift about in the wind
and with the directions of rain and puddle-water
on the ground, those motions
are all following the love
they have been given.

Ruth said...

Thank you for that, Auntie Sandy. That helps even more.

After the first wedding, your niece's, you wanted another one??

Peter said...

Hopefully I will see you in Paris before I reach Pete Seeger's age! :-)

Ruth said...

Haha, Peter, I hope so too!