Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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©Katherine Dunn.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

My Thanksgiving prayer

Martyn and I have been together for almost 14 years. We met in our forties which was a good thing as I still had a lot to learn before I met him, and I imagine he had his own work to do too. What I find so beautiful about our relationship is it just grows stronger every year. Like any couple, we have rough spots and warts, but we always go to bed with a kiss-at least 99% of the time.

The other night we were having our usual wine by the fire and as we were talking about a particular subject, I had this epiphany-that I loved Martyn even more than the day before and each day I kept feeling more love, and that it was a much more mature love than when we met. Our skills as a couple have grown more fine tuned and our ability to work as a team is more polished. I got up and told him this as he started to make dinner, and I cried a little because it felt so strong inside of me, this sense of strong love.

When I wrote the book, Donkey Dream, it was about how I left Minneapolis with a broken heart after The West spoke to me, called me, pulled me to her. On my first day in my new house, I met Martyn. A year later, we married and a year after that we were pulled further west, to find Apifera. Or I found Apifera. Selfishly, I always thought my finding Apifera as my cosmic plan, that Martyn was living his own path with his landscaping business.  I thought of Apifera as a gift to me for my heart, art, and work with animals. It was my call to service, the perfect meshing of my soul to land and animal. And all of that is true.

But I now realize that Apifera became an ongoing grad school for us to learn and evolve as a couple. The farm created opportunities to partner in ways we might not have been able to in town. When my father died in 2008, it opened another space for our marriage. And when my mother died, then Martyn's father, more spaces were open to us as a team. Our dynamics shifted somehow because of those openings. It is not that our parents were bad for our marriage, but there were things I shared intimately with my mother I didn't with Martyn. I realized our relationship has grown so much on many levels, due to these new spaces. Intimacy, true intimacy, involves trust in the partner. After 12 years of marriage I recently shared some dark secrets of my past, that almost came to me out of the blue, incidences I didn't want to revisit. Martyn was moved, and sad to hear of these things, but it was a beautiful moment too, that after all that time, he was the one I told, and nobody else knows, or will know.

Apifera is very much about my relationships with the animals and land. My art and writing work will always be about relationship. But I have been reawakened of late that Apifera is also about my loving and evolving relationship with my best friend and husband, my Dirt Farmer, my ever most gentle hearted, Martyn.

My Thanksgiving prayer is one for me and Martyn, that we be able to stay with each other until the end in sickness and in health. A more realistic prayer might be that we stay together until the end, and if we can't, that we grow wings and harvest strength to endure what life gives us.