We sat across the table from perhaps the most stunningly attractive woman in the room.
Campus Day organizers programmed virtually every minute of the day, so the four of us had just 10 minutes to eat and connect. I focused on protein.
Thrisha’s father, an immigrant from India, reached out to us. Rapturously, I erupted over our good fortune in making this trip to the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). Even when it seemed that everything was falling apart, I altered the planting schedule to accommodate the journey with my daughter. Miraculously, everything came together (including antibiotics for Emma’s strep throat).
When Thrisha’s dad (if only I had his name and contact info) expressed confusion over a farm operating year-round, I filled him in: sunroom, verticalization, microgreens, yada yada.
Virtually everyone else in the dining center may have romanticized the family farm in a similar conversation, but even while telling our tale, I knew his perspective was surely different.
He grew up on a family farm in deeply rural India. The move across the globe, by himself as a teenager, was motivated by a great hunger to build a better, more secure existence.
And did he ever succeed. His daughter, the sort of gal who probably scored a 39 out of 36 on her ACT, was touring scores of high-profile schools from coast to coast, the two of them repeatedly boarding planes out of Virginia with a ferocious seriousness devoted to the task that had eluded me.
Our trip to Michigan happened almost by accident. Here we were in the same place as Thrisha, every bit as enthralled, Emma having earned her spot.
After crossing the Mackinac Bridge in a gale, our 15-year-old Prius’s check engine light appeared shortly after the heat disappeared. Possessing neither time, attention, or finances for anything grander, this journey was to the very edge of our outermost limits. And yet, after leap-frogging over so many steps and eliminating other choices in the process, its seems we caught up with the many well-heeled individuals in the process (kids arriving from boarding schools, etc).
Our family’s quest to build a sustainable life—involuntary simplicity via job layoff—began at the exact halfway point of their development. Our twins were 9 years, 1 month and 10 days old at the time. Using rough back of the envelope math, Emma will be 18, 2 months, and 20 days old when we pack up the van and move her to Ann Arbor (sufficient financial aid, Lord-willing).
Navigation of this world, and the expression of innate gifts, has diverged remarkably over the course of these twin halves.
Like my friend whom I may never see again, though we connected powerfully in the span of those ten minutes, Shawna and I strenuously sought a better life for ourselves and our children. I believe we succeeded, albeit with significant limitations.
It is my firm belief that those of us who fall prey to endless culture wars and arguments over arcane matters of politics are too far removed from an immigrant past. As for me, much like my Indian friend, overwhelming effort is required for sustaining existence and making forward progress. Deep focus prevents becoming sidetracked in the arguments of the day, which, by the way, I have little to no influence over.
Any space remaining is reserved for awe and wonder.
Beauty is around every corner…
And inspiration to join Beauty as an active participant.
In choosing to side with strife and acrimony, Beauty, Wisdom, and the perspective of time are lost.
Risking a humble brag, I couldn’t have been more delighted with how every detail came together over such a compressed period of time (3 days packed with 28 hours of driving, and one full day in Ann Arbor).
Like our chickens during yesterday’s snowfall, I wasn’t ready for Chicago driving. We arrived from over Michigan’s top.
On our return trip, feeling a bit more prepared, we ventured through the Windy City to drive past two prospective schools at gawking-speed. Amazingly, the journey proved effortless at mid-day on a Tuesday. We exited the interstate (after stopping twice to tape bits of fender that dragged along the pavement) at the extreme south side and drove the entire length of the city at 35 miles per hour or less. This, I could handle!
Here’s a view from one of those schools at the northerly end. The skyline in the distance is far far away from the school she was more seriously pursuing way down in Hyde Park.
Finally arriving home after enduring a snowstorm that added hours of travel time, me and Emma laid heads to rest on our own pillows with a satisfying sense of accomplishment that has yet to abate.
Finally, if you’re among the handful of microgreen eaters who follow this blog and support our family through simple consumption, this week’s delivery is delayed one day, till tomorrow (Friday), as a result of this little excursion. Shawna stayed behind to keep things watered and work on her own art, but the planting schedule was pushed backward this wee bit.
3 thoughts on “A first swing home run.”
Loved seeing Dad and Daughter enjoying a meaningful, fun time together.
Oh, Emma, how I dreamed of attending Ann Arbor! But alas the Fates had other plans for me……but you can do it! And if you do, may all the good vibes in the universe be with you!
Congratulations to your daughter. So glad to hear the trip came together!