Today's Reading

September 5

I am very tired tonight. Today was very busy, and my hands and back are tired. Four chairs, perfect and complete, rest in the shop. This is good. It was a good day, even though I am tired.

I also walked the farm today, all of it, all the way around. I do this, just to see how things are. I could ride Nettie, and that would be quicker, but I choose not to. It lets me stop, to see things that I would otherwise miss, to feel the grass against my pant legs. We have forty-eight acres, about all we can manage, being
such a small family. Five or six we rotate in and out of use for planting, there are a few patches of trees for windbreaks, and a stand of trees on about two acres to the northern corner of the property. That is good for firewood. The rest we have as pasture for our small herd of cattle. Thirty-five head, some for milking,
but most for beef. It is not a long circuit, although the day was hot. And from what I see, things are well. The fields look fine, ready for the plowing and planting for the fall.

I worry about the fields. Not this year or the next, not now when we are still strong. But it will be hard as Hannah and I grow older. Around us, our friends are a help, but it is odd to have so little family around us. No sisters or brothers, no cousins. It was a hard choice to come here.

But my father's settlement? The settlement of my uncle and all of my family? Though my blood was there, my spirit could not stay there. It could not, not if my soul was to survive. Hannah, too. It was so much worse for her. Even now, I can feel the memories of it pressing on me.

And now I am awake, and it is late.

Hannah tells me that I must sleep, that the care of Sadie is for her to do as my helpmate, and I tell her that she is right, and that I am a fool. But still, I am her husband, and when I say my heart is moved for our sweet, strange little bird, that I am her father and my strength must be hers, she cannot say no. I see the tiredness in her eyes, too.

I tell her that we are two together, made stronger just as Solomon said in his wisdom, and that Sadie is no burden but is a blessing to test and strengthen us, and other things I remember from worship.

"You are a fool," she says, and those words were never spoken with such love.

My prayers are all about Sadie, in the morning and the evening. I should be better about praying for others, but I cannot think of much but her. I read back across these pages, and it has been nearly a year now since it began.

I did not understand, not at first, the strangeness that overcame her that morning. She woke, but did not dress, and did not do as she was asked. Hannah came to me, and at first we together were stern.

She had always been so bright, so light. But now that brightness burned, and the lightness was brittle. Nothing made sense, nothing she said, and her hands danced like fires as she jabbered and moved about the house.

I chastised her at first. What did I know, O Lord? Sometimes anger rises up, as it did with my father. I am not so different, as much as I try to be. So the words came out.

"Do not be lazy! Do not speak such idle talk! Listen to me!"

But my words were unheard, and when I realized her eyes did not see me, my fatherly anger melted to fear.

And then she fell hard on the hard wood floor, and her body drew up like a bow, and her eyes rolled back, and she was choking on her tongue.
It was a terrible sound, like blood in the throat of a slaughtering pig. I remember it so well I can hear it.

I can still hear it.

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