In two years a lot can change. It did and did not.
We are still here at the Little House on the Hill. Johnstown is still culturally a challenging place to live. Friends have described it as, 'the grey valley' (it is), and also as 'a valley full of Eeyore's' (stunningly accurate observation, Scot).
Anyway, it occurs to me that this prospective vocation of Mr. Flavius will see plenty of grey valleys and too many Eeyores worth counting. Working for the church isn't all incense and rose windows. If I am not prepared to accept that then I would be quite naive. Johnstown has a had several hard and challenging lessons, but the area has some silver linings.
The ACROD got a new bishop. Bishop Gregory is a warm man with a heart for the church and her people. New to the CR bunch is more rigorous fasting. Don't ask me why I am excited about asceticism and bland diets, but it gets me all choked up to see fasting ratatouille recipes in the Cathedral bulletin.
I was pregnant in December and January. We don't know why, but the baby died. We did not know that he had died, but I had had some clues that all was not well with this pregnancy. I wasn't tired particularly. I had no morning sickness. These are pretty bad signs as far as pregnancies go. For some reason, new life cannot come into this world absent a state of near narcolepsy and near hyperemesis gravidarum. I need to quit discussing potential medical events with my father. Last time I joked about breaking my leg, I did. A day or two before the miscarriage began, I told him I wasn't entirely certain this pregnancy was going to "stick." Though, at the time it wasn't a sad thought, just a possibility on a list of possibilities that never really seemed plausible despite at my utterance.
It took about a a day and a half. And the first half, I would have fleeting thoughts that I was in labor, but that didn't seem real, so I dismissed it until I saw the blood. And then it wasn't one or two, but three trips to the Emergency Room before I was admitted, but I was in shock having lost too much blood, and in a dangerous way. "You need emergency surgery," they said. And then the priest came and anointed me with oil from the vigil lamp of St. John Maxomovitch. And the doctor came back and said, "Your hemorrhage has stopped. You can go." Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be well from your suffering.
For forty days, I drowned in grief and depression. Then repentance and the memorial and relief. The pall passed, I did not die with my son, I did not drown utterly in my depression, I was not abandoned though maybe at times I wanted to be. There are still tears, but there is also joy. The memorial was a bitter-sweet celebration. And we did celebrate. In prayer and with feasting. And I was able to say, Christ is risen and have JOY. Nothing could have been more shocking or more natural. Funny, how these things happen. God is great.
In other news, we have added a few creatures to Little House on the Hill Homestead. A couple of American Blue Rabbit does have joined the family and as of yesterday a small flock five of Rhode Island Red hens. The plan is to breed the rabbits in May. American Blue Rabbits are the rarest of the American breeds and included in the American Livestock Breed Conservancy program. They were recently upgraded to Threatened which is good. They are primarily a meat and fur breed, but have very sweet dispositions and are very good mothers. They are a large breed rabbit, which for our tumble bumble family is a good thing. I am loving having the girls. I am having rabbit dinner dreams.
The hens, of course, just do their chicken thing. I am super happy to say they are doing great, laying an egg each a day (which is really something). I bought started pullets (for an unbelievable $5 apiece. Thank you, Lord) and as luck would have it they just started laying this week. Of course, I just checked on them and the birdbrains are all roosted under the coop like a bunch of idiots. It is, of course, snowing. At some point they will figure out it is warm and dry IN the coop.
We've had a bunch of birthdays. We've made some friends. We have had heartache and doubt. We have cursed this place, each other, the discernment process. I am pretty homesick these days. I miss our parish and our family and all our friends. But, most importantly, we are still here, Dammit. Virtuti Moena Cedant. The family motto isn't wasted on this bunch. Just taking things one day at a time.