Love’s Purgatory is a Thistle Field

A Bridge to the Gods (Part 4 of 4 in a series on losing love and regaining a life)

A Bridge to the Gods

My arrival to Thistle Whistle Farm came unexpectedly. I planned to work at another farm and was reminded quickly of the utility of planning. Unfortunately, the other farm turned out to be a commune. Now don’t get me wrong, I imagine that some communes are great for some people and can be organized and healthy. The one I arrived to, however, was sadly uninspiring. I readied myself at 6:30am for the first and only day of work at the commune not because I love to leave the warm sheets, but because I had been told that was when we would meet to talk about the tasks of the day. I waited for a half an hour and started to wander to find another conscious being. Walking into the farm house, I got a contact high from one of the farmers smoking his breakfast; not a great sign. After things finally began, I spent the majority of the day weeding an empty field that had been washed free of plants, though still apparently needed weeding. Weeding an empty field hoping for a harvest may very well be a mark of insanity. For a short time in the wash house, I cleaned old greens I did not feel in good conscious giving to anyone. Washing, I subtly urged my fellow farm intern, the self proclaimed “philosopher”, to put his words into action and actually do something other than talk about the work that needs to happen for the “revolution”. The revolution for him seemed to have stopped and ended after his morning smoke. Alas, the farm I had planned to work at was not the right place and I, yet again, was in need of a new direction.

Through word of mouth, I learned to contact Mark at Thistle Whistle Farm, which required that I drive 10 miles out of town to find cell reception. I called while parked at the Quick Lube II shop next to the RV Park off of Highway 133. Serendipitously, I discovered that the farm was less than a mile away; a good sign that I was on the right track, or that ET would at least be able to phone home while I farmed. Mark’s farm immediately felt like home and, as I spoke to him and his wife Katie, a giant rainbow stretched across the sky from one side of the field to the other. The greatness of the arch with the field and large mountain peaks behind was a sight that urged the eyes to widen, presence to soften, and spirit lift. The first several days of work at the farm were peppered with daily dramatic rainbows; some that stretched across the horizon, some that cut through clouds like spears, and others that arrived with a faint twin. The rainbows came with such frequency that they would have begged the even most preoccupied and least reflective person to take pause and wonder.

Over the course of the last several months I have done more than wonder and have questioned deeply the value and meaning of life. While I have an idea of what the sacred is, I also have existentialist beliefs in the absurd. We all have perplexing layers I suppose. Normally, finding truth in the idea of the absurd is not a negative thing, but it definitely limits options. One option for maneuvering life is to choose a multitude of ways to escape through things that numb, excite the corporal, or give some illusion of control over the chaos of life. Some of us do this through things like T.V., relationships, booze, drugs and our jobs. Another option of the absurd is to say ‘to hell with it all’ and to simply give up on life completely; your chips are cashed in for good. The last option is rebellion, which is not some romantic revolution in which we storm the master’s house and burn it down. That may be part of the dream, but rebellion is when we endeavor to actually create something unique and life supporting in our one short life that defies the odds; the circumstances beyond our control. I would like to think I normally choose the last option, but when I discovered on an unknown woman’s Instagram page that my life partner had started a new relationship, unbeknownst to me, I began to think about saying ‘to hell with it all’. My belief in the absurd found me faltering in surprising ways with the sudden disappearance of my partner and revelation of some unknown plot line. I am no Sufi Master and have, as it turns out, much more in common with bad Western music love songs. This loss helped me to understand that the term “heartache” is not a euphemism, but rather a understatement. For a time, I seriously contemplated an accelerated end of my life story and, on a few occasions, found myself literally feeling the rush of air and immense power of trains as they passed by whipping up hair and narrowly missing the tip of my nose. For whatever reason, I decided the train was not the end of my story. I am now resuscitating a life at a vegetable farm while grabbing ink to pen some sort of parable to replace the future story that will never be. In the end, we create the meaning that becomes the story of our life.

Meaning; the stories we create can be acts of rebellion. Considering one’s daily toils, the act of creating meaning of it all is truly absurd. After-all, isn’t it all just picking thistles from a field? Isn’t a rainbow in the sky just because it rained? While empiricism can measure and explain questions we have, there are more compelling stories and meanings that have been assigned, rainbows included. In explaining rainbows, it is true, some tell tales of evil, though I turn towards the many cultures who have looked up at the sky and seen something heavenly and positive; all are faced with the decision of how to define what we see. Many cultures point to the rainbow and teach us that they are bridges between the gods and virtuous humans; warriors. The Navajo believe rainbows are the paths of holy spirits. The Maori tell the story of Hina, the moon, who created the rainbow to send her mortal husband back to Earth to die, because death was not allowed in her celestial home. We hear of Iris, in the Illiad, who is the divine messenger. Still there are others, like those who practice Buddhism, who tell us that the rainbow represents Nirvana, or the place where individuals reach the highest state of consciousness attainable. One of the stories about rainbows that I like tells us that the rainbow is a sign that troubles of today will come to pass, to hold strong to vision and intuition, and that new beginnings and prosperity will soon come to be. I may not be a warrior really and there may not actually be a divine to have a path to. Still, looking out across the bountiful green field at another arch and it’s faint twin I can’t help but wonder if something is just around the corner.

Here, under the bridge to the gods, I catch a brief respite from the thistle field. Perching myself in the shade of the wash house, I hold my furry canine companion. Thoughts of Him still drift in and I feel a pang of bitter sadness and longing sink in my heart. It still stings. A breeze passes by awakening a soft sound through the trees and the corn flitters. My thoughts lift upwards. Sitting under the arch, my thoughts of Him do not disappear, but, as I catch my breath with a yawn, the breeze and sun’s rays enter and fill me with new life. Each breath and each thought is new while the rainbow remains unchanged.