A Day to Regroup

My daughter Lucy and I spent a long day in the car yesterday, driving two hours to Vermont for her orthodontic appointment and taking the opportunity while in the big city to shop for socks, underwear, boots, and other things she will need at camp.

We had planned the trip like a military campaign: our itinerary was strict and our lists were in hand. I had left for barn chores at 6 AM and by the time I got home for a quick shower at 7:30 Lucy had walked the dogs and packed the car with homemade lunches and drinks, plus a cooler full of ice so we could buy a frozen dinner to heat on our return. We were on the road at precisely 8 o’clock.

We drove back into our driveway 4 PM, I went down to the farm to do chores, D arrived at 5:15 to help me set the last fence posts with his backhoe, and I was peeling off my coveralls for supper at 6:30.

For the last week I’ve been rushing through tasks, mucking stalls at the crack of dawn, moving sheep before bedtime. Though I’ve managed it, I’ve been aware of dropping balls.

Three nights ago I sat bolt upright at midnight, realizing I had forgotten to shut up the geese; I threw back the covers, shoved my bare feet into boots, fumbled out to the truck in my pajamas, and drove down to the farm. Yesterday morning when watering the sheep I discovered that the night before I’d been in such a hurry I’d neglected to turn back on the battery charger. Only luck had kept them inside the fence and safe.

Meanwhile my house is a reproachful mess. Phone calls and emails have gone unreturned. Nametapes have not been sewn. I haven’t given a thought to planning the party for 65 I have to host in three weeks for my husband’s work. The garden is choked with weeds. I’ve had no time to mow at Betty’s or in my back acres, and the fields have gotten away from me — they look as if they could be cut for hay.

Today I have no appointments. It will be a day to recoup and regroup, start to tame the disorderliness, and make fresh lists.


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