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Layered with Sadness

Sundog Farm

In our neighborhood a preteen found his father collapsed in the yard and ran for help. Despite best efforts by his partner of 30 years, emergency responders, and staff at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, he died Sunday. The funeral is Friday.

A layer of sadness blankets places I go.

It’s not just the death of a neighbor. Cold weather is delaying farmers from getting into the field. Tension permeates everything. We laugh but avoid the reality that something has to give — perhaps delaying the spring share until plants grow. Perhaps something else. We are ready for the weather to break.

Temperatures today are forecast in the low thirties… again. It’s April 18 for goodness sake! The garden should be a third planted by now. It has been difficult to spend time outside, bundled up to keep warm. It’s not the cold as much as it is a nagging hesitancy to venture out into the cold spring.

When we moved to Big Grove, before we put curtains in the living room, I sat on the couch after a long day and watched airplanes make their approach to the nearby Eastern Iowa Airport. Even though my wife and daughter were nearby I felt alone and on my own from time to time. I picked myself up from the couch and engaged in a diverse life. Every so often the quiet in the house is overwhelming, even today. I feel isolated from what matters most. The feeling passes.

I had a physical examination in town, and my arms ache. In my left shoulder I got a pneumonia vaccine and in my right a shingles vaccine. Both require boosters down the line. I had blood drawn for lab tests by a nurse I’ve known more than a dozen years. Achy doesn’t really describe it. I removed the three bandages and piled them up on the night stand this morning. The shingles vaccine is doing its job making me feel sore and unsettled.

Doctor did a depression screening. I passed, that is, I don’t believe I’m clinically depressed… just a bit saddened by the layers of crap we have to live through. It’s partly politics but it’s more than that. It’s as if everything with which we marked boundaries of our lives is being razed, surveyor pins pushed out of place by construction’s bulldozers. All we can do is put the pins back and start over. That’s what I hope to do.

Eventually the weather will break and my farmer friends will get the crop planted. Visitation for my late neighbor is tomorrow. I’m to pick up a sympathy card and a couple of restaurant gift cards to give the family a chance to get out of the house for a while. We all need a break.

The layer of sadness is palpable. At the same time as long as we pick ourselves up and go on living we’ll be alright. at least that is what we hope.