Tag Archives: change

Change

by Kate

Tonight my sister is leaving on a midnight train. She’ll leave the bright city lights far behind and head for the hills of home. After two weeks in the city she’s ready to see her horse and her apartment tucked into the corner of a barn and to gather her arms full of nieces and nephews and to experience some blessed solitude under Wisconsin skies.

wisconsin ranching

She’ll be back though. She has to. I’ve got a magazine to write, and I need her to help me do it. My sister is a farmer and she belongs to the land of southwestern Wisconsin in a deep and abiding way, but November has come and soon a blanket of snow will cover her fields. This gives her the freedom to pack up her ancient yet impeccable 4Runner and head to Pittsburgh for the winter.

I hope it will be exhilarating. I know it will be terrifying.

Change is hard. I know this. I’ve moved across the country alone more than once in the past, and the culture shock of a different place can be overwhelming. The city is different than the country. One state is different from another. Perhaps most importantly, when one grows up in a large loud family with a culture all it’s own and then steps outside its boisterous confines, the silence can be deafening. It’s startling to have time and space and silence in which to define the self as a separate entity outside the clan.

It will be challenging for my sister to spend time on her own here in the city, and yet of course she is not entirely alone. I am here too. There is still a sister to explore the city with, to fight with, to drink wine with, to tend the children of. I am alternately sweetly encouraging and bossily berating in my attempts to support Mary in her move, and she is returning the favor as she attempts to make some order in my home. My life is very full, and so is my laundry bin. In fact, when Mary arrived there was less of a bin, and more of a vast all encompassing heap. My days often consist of a breathless rush between farmers and sequined dancing and elderly ladies, all with two extremely energetic young children in tow. Mary waded into the chaos and ruthlessly cleaned and culled and created order. Change is hard. Sisters are good. Mary’s house cleaning was painful and necessary and in the end it was freeing. I hope that her winter in the city will be too.

 

This Spring

By: Clare

Sorry. It’s been quite a while hasn’t it. But, NO, actually, I haven’t fallen off the edge of the earth. Because that’s impossible. Some old genius with a big long beard proved it. At least that’s what they’ve taught me in school. School. That’s what I’ve been doing. And homework too. And lots of other things….like checking up on this very blog while I’m sitting in the computer lab supposedly working away on my research paper. School.

I’ve also been been outside.

I’ve been observing…..

Last spring, the plum trees bloomed in May.

This spring, the scent of plum blossoms has already begun to permeate our garden….and its only April!

Last spring’s tulips…

and last spring’s daffodils…

Can’t seem to compete with this year’s….

Last year our family celebrated spring with a familiar friend…

This spring, we celebrate with a new friend.

And this spring, I’m learning to appreciate beauty and change, and the joys of life.

Have a blessed Easter, everyone.

-Clare-

The Times They Are A’Changin’

by Clare

For the past two days my mother has been out of the house at lunchtime, leaving me, the only Slattery sister still left at the house, to make dinner. I don’t usually cook, so this is noteworthy. And as I sat at our long, Amish-made table for dinner those two days, and watched my skillfully (haha) homecooked meal being eaten, I realized just how much had changed. Years ago, that same table had been filled with several young children, yelling, fighting, refusing to eat their vegetables, and now the table was occupied by four, four, people. All of whom were, excepting me, above the age of 60. The first day I saw this, I was struck with sadness. I moved to the kitchen. Without me there, the picture was dismal. There sat my Dad, at the head of the table. Peter sat on his right, devouring a platefull of tomatoes covered in mayonnaise. On his left sat Grandma, slowly eating her sandwich of store-bought fake lunch meat. And then Dad got up, leaving Grandma and Peter across each other at the table.

Grandma: Well, would you like some yogurt?

Peter: What?

Grandma: Would you like some yogurt here?

Peter: Oh, no thank you.

So polite, so…old.

The second day Peter made his own dinner, leaving Grandma, Dad, me, and Dad’s trusty semi-helpful helper, Gary. James came down later for the meal, and this time I had to laugh. The whole thing was so different, so…unSlatterylike. It’s always tough when siblings go off to college, and now that only James and I are left it’s especially bad. Thankfully Cale came back for a while, and is playing guitar as I type this. Not everything changes, but a lot does. I’ve never liked change, it’s always scared me. I don’t want to get old. I don’t want my loved ones to die, and leave me all alone. One of the most important things I’ve learned about change has come straight out of a Disney Pixar movie. The two lines that struck me, and that I’ll always remember, I have to keep telling myself:

“You can’t change nature.”

“Nature is change.”

(See if you can figure out which animated movie that’s from.)

Farewell, summer.