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  • I'd spent more than a year with my drapes drawn in my old Minneapolis home, suffering from the worst kind of broken spirit the kind that lingers and leaves a visible dent in one's chest directly above the heart. It was the kind of heart break that took my dreams and shifted them around until I started doubting what those dreams were. But it also propelled me to leap, with eyes closed, and I packed up the blind fox terrier, an old chinchilla and the pug and we headed West to the land of dreamers. I was single and forty four.

    I bought a sweet little cottage in Portland, and as I puttered around that very first day of my arrival I told myself I felt so at home there that I'd grow old in that house.

    But then there was a knock at the front door.

    "Hello, I'm Martyn Dunn. I heard you had the same last name as I did, so I just had to introduce myself."

    I knew immediately, instinctively, that this was a good thing, to have this particular Mr. Dunn right next door. I knew it had great significance, but I didn't tell anyone, not anyone.

    Friendship began to blossom and short visits over the fence turned to casual dinners.
    While my broken heart was surely mended, it still had a trace of scar tissue, and I had not yet allowed myself to fully fall into the realm of committed love.

    Until the heat wave.

    As a fair Irish lass, I can not tolerate heat, and as temperatures remained in the 100 degree rage for days, I retreated to my bamboo grove, placing my feet in a bucket of cool water and shading my body under the leaves of green. On one of these hot days, I heard rustling next door.

    "Too early for racoons, " I mused.

    But it wasn't a racoon, it was my beloved, up in his cherry tree shaking it like a monkey. Whatever possessed him to go to such physical exertion in this oppressive heat, I couldn't imagine.

    Within minutes he was out of that tree and standing next to me, holding a bowl of cherries.

    "I picked these for you, to cool you in the heat," he said.

    It was an epiphany. Like a bird bringing his best worms back to the nest, this man conquered heights and heat to bring me his bounty. The next day I baked him a cherry pie from his harvest and that led to another epiphany - that if I was baking a pie in a heat wave, this must be love. And it was. One year later, we married in the same bamboo grove where he had brought me those cherries.

    And one year later, we stumbled on an old farm with a barn that spoke clearly to me - and the rest as they say, is history - our history.

    There is wonder in this story - so many things had to line up for us to meet. Like the fact there was already a buyer for my house in Portland, but I insisted to the realtor I had to have that house, and the details were ironed out and it became mine. I figured this little Portland house was perfect and my dream of owning a farm just wasn't meant to be nor was it practical. But that dream was just waiting to present itself in a proper manner.

    Don't let your dreams down by abandonning them.
    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'.

    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, or sing with my puppet.

    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 old one-eyed pug and drove in a snowstorm to help me pick up a senior pygmy goat. He turns my whimsical ideas into reality by building me duck houses complete with ponds and docks and double dutch doors that open up to a place to commune with donkeys.


    And I still anticipate the sound of his truck coming up the gravel road.


    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.
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