This is our last week out here in western Kansas. It rained during the middle of wheat harvest, but in the 5th year of drought, everyone is happy about rain at any time. The buffalo grass greened up one more time and with cooler weather now, Kansas is showing itself from its best side one more time. Cecile and I were talking about the amazing colors you get to experience out here. The yellow of a wheat field that stretches to the horizon to meet a perfect match of blue sky, no artist could come up with better color combinations. Cecile calls it the calico colors of Kansas.
The last days here have been filled with packing, but also with swimming lessons and lots of time at the pool as well as softball for Christina. Her team got second place in the softball tournament that ended last night and she is very proud of her medal. It's been impressive to see the improvement of her skills over the last few weeks. Softball has been Christina's first experience with team sports and she came to it a complete novice (never even held a bat before this). All the regular games were played without keeping score and the emphasis was on having fun and being with friends. However, the score keeping at the tournament turned them into fiercely competitive players and they gave it their very best.
For me it's hard to let the garden go, but after a good crop of peas and lettuce, there are only a few flower patches of hollyhocks, zinnias, cosmos and sweet peas left, the rest is returning to weeds. I will have plenty of space for gardening in Kansas City, but giving up on this garden is an exercise of letting go. At our last visit in Kansas City for the closing of the house, I also acutely noticed how much I will miss the quietness of western Kansas. The only sound at night is the wind in the trees and during daylight it's the sound of birds. Once you get used to it, the absence of noise creates a calmness that you don't want to miss. In Kansas City I now notice every airplane and car noise. I know I will be able to tune that out again eventually, but it bothers me for now.
We are also in the process of giving our chickens away. Having the chickens follow me around when going out with the blue bucket of kitchens scraps, waking up to the rooster's crow , hearing the hens' soft clucking at night when I shut the chicken house as well as gathering the perfect, warm eggs in the afternoon are all chores that will be missed for their simple but sensual pleasures.
We will take the dog and a group of cats with us. After the two years here, Christina and Cecile can't image not having animals around. Right now they mostly play with the triplet kittens Rollie, Pollie, Ollie, three identical looking dark, long-haired tabbies that are about a month old. We found them the day they were born and they are very tame.
David finally has his restored pickup back. After a two year restoration (lots of time, money and effort) , it look better than it ever did. To his dismay David never took the "before pictures", so we only have the "after pictures" to show.
Since we have a big shed in Kansas City, he will be able to take it with him and enjoy it there as well. He is driving to Kansas City this weekend to mow the never ending lawn and to get a head start on some of the house renovation projects that we are planning. Next weekend the kids and I will drive to Kansas City and then fly from there to Germany. David will finish up packing here and drive behind the moving truck to Kansas City the following weekend. Then he and two of my nephew Lars' friends from the Kensington high school will join us in Germany on July 14th. We will all return to Kansas City on July 27th to start unpacking and begin this new chapter of our lives.
Looking back on these two years, they have certainly been a rewarding experience for Christina and Cecile. Hearing them talk sometime, you'd think you were listening to two old farmers. They comment on how good certain crops look, how green the pasture is again and speculate about cattle prices and the weather. They have also grown up a lot during these two years and I am grateful that I could spent this time with them. I don't know how much I accomplished during our time on the farm. I did not write a book, but at least wrote a newsletter and a journal, I never finished knitting even one sweater although it is close to being finished, I did not become a certified yoga instructor although I taught three classes, I did not get paid teaching German, but had a great time teaching Christina's class, did not come up with a grand new life vision, but am more relaxed about careers, expanded my gardening repertoire to pretty good vegetable gardening and learnt how to make jams, relishes, salsas, pestos etc., read a lot of good books and experienced the total absence of stress. David had the most precise expectations for these two years. I don't think it all came through the way he had envisioned it, but he gained new insights about being a doctor and what home is. Covering the emergency room unfortunately kept him from experiencing the absence of stress.
I don't know whether I will have to the time to continue this newsletter in Kansas City, but certainly hope to stay in touch with all the recipients of this newsletter. Our e-mail and web site will stay the same. Here is our new address and home phone number:
8324 NW Mace Rd
Parkville, MO 64152-1958