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

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©Katherine Dunn.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Love note to the Dirt Farmer

I think the thing about mid life, or once you pass into that part of your life you view as some kind of internal marker of 'mid', is that time goes very fast. I don't remember life as going fast from age 1-20, or from 20-40. But I find myself saying more and more, "That seems like yesterday."

Such is the case as I write this post. Seven years ago I married Martyn, and it seems like moments ago. My name when I woke up that morning was Miss Dunn, and later that day, I became Mrs. Dunn. For those of you who don't know the story, I moved to Portland in 2003, after spending more than a year with my drapes drawn in my old homeland of Minneapolis. I had been suffering from the worst kind of broken heart, the kind that lingers, and leaves a visible dent in one's heart area, and sort of takes your dreams and shifts them around until you start doubting what those dreams were.

I bought a sweet little cottage in Portland, and the very day I moved in, a man knocked on my door. "Hello, I'm Martyn Dunn, and I heard you had the same last name as I did, so I just had to introduce myself."

Yes, we had the same last name, and now instead of having just two Mr. Dunn's in my life, my father and brother, I had many Mr. Dunns - my husband to be and his many brothers and his father. I knew immediately this was a good thing, to have this particular Mr. Dunn right next door, and I did know I'd marry him. I didn't tell anyone, not anyone. And if I had, they all would have rolled their eyes.

Many of you know the rest of the story. He climbed his cherry tree in a heat wave and brought me his harvest, while I sat suffering, my fair Irish skin wilted even in the shade of my bamboo grove. I thought it odd that he'd be up in a tree in a heat wave, but when he brought me his bounty, just like a male cardinal fetching food for his bird, I internally had an epiphany - that this was a worthy mate. The next day I baked him a cherry pie from his harvest and that too led to an epiphany- that if I was baking in a heat wave, this must be love. And it was.

I don't believe that there is just one person out there for each of us, but I do believe we are given opportunities to connect with optimal relationships that change our lives. Each day is full of tiny choices, that can change our paths- and while all these paths teach us, engage us, challenge us....some paths help us reach what I call a "place of sense".

And meeting Martyn has helped me get to this place called Apifera, this 'place of sense'.

I will never forgot the wonder of this story, or how so many things had to line up for us to meet. Like the fact there was already a buyer for the house in Portland, but I insisted I had to have that house, and the details were ironed out so it became mine. Or the fact that when I bought the house in Portland, I gave up on ever having a small farm, which had been my life long dream. I figured this little Portland house was perfect, and my dream of owning a farm just wasn't meant to be and wasn't logical. But we all know that dream was just waiting to present itself in a proper manner. Don't forgt your dreams, don't let them down by abandonning them.

So, seven years have passed. And the pictures here show us before Apifera exisited. How can that be - no Apifera? I can't imagine it now. I can't imagine life without Martyn. When he married me, he had no idea he'd become a Dirt Farmer, or be surrounded by a semi feral cat colony, and senior short goats....and donkeys who share fresh apple pie.
He allows me to be very independent, and I need that. I need to be the child of wonder, in my barn, communing on my own in nature just as I did as a girl. I need space and time to think, and breathe into the neck of my horse. It fills me up to make art, and write and create.

But we come together at night, we still like to be together. I still anticipate his car coming up the gravel road. There is no seven year itch here, except for the hay stems that have crept into my shirt.

He is the most patient person I have ever met in my entire life, and I am the most impatient. He tolerates the gas emmissions of my little pug, and drove in a snowstorm to help me pick up a senior pygmy goat. He understands that when Neil Young is singing, he is not to interupt with idle chatter. I really do make him pies, and he really does help build me things that I concoct in my head- like double dutch doors that lead to donkey hug area.

My old Aunt Emily wrote in her wedding note to us that we only needed three things to succeed in a long life together- bread, love and laughter. We have it all, plus fresh eggs, donkey brays, dog and cat hair on everything, and a river front to fish in.