A long time ago a gypsy, Yesenia, followed her eldest son on to this farm. The shepherd, David, paused in his work outside the red barn to greet her who came from the brightest and the darkest corners of the world. The shepherd saw in the gypsy’s eyes the one he had been finding and losing his entire life and well beyond. We began a passionate courtship that ended the day we led each other down the steep path to the valley where loss is as transparent as the stream lapping over the rocky beach and where judgment looms as dark as the surrounding hills. Heavy is the risk of loss through judgment and death, but spicy is the reward of love that washes across eternity. To love was a raw choice that we confirmed every day thereafter. Love seeped into the sleepless late winter nights when we worked our way through the births of twenty lambs. Then it flowed with the heavy milk of springtime, when every pump of milk came directly from the heart. Then love filled summers’ moonlit nights when we slept. Most of all, love settled in the five lovely and wild children we brought into our lives. Over time the farm came to reflect the shepherd and the gypsy as we came to reflect the farm. The shepherd’s eyes turned to water for all the early morning dew, and the gypsy’s hair turned to wool for all the predawn chill. The gypsy’s garden grew lush for all the bones the shepherd spread there. The shepherd’s sheep grew shiny for all the herbs the gypsy fed them. Then too the coyotes howled closer, hungry for all the sheep, lambs, and children the big white dogs guard.
Eat and drink the fruits and milk of this farm, wrap yourself in her wool, and live that full life, that risky life. Loss is inevitable, but the flavor of love lingers.