There has been plenty of news since Hurricane Harvey destroyed our farm, but none of it good.
I have written more than 150 magazine articles and radio programs since the hurricane, but nothing here. This space was only meant for joy, for light; but there was no light.
Driving into the farm the morning after the storm, the world went dark. It was not darkness like I had known before, what Abe Lincoln called his ‘melancholia’ and Winston Churchill called ‘the black dog’. It was that particular shadow plus the darkness of witnessing your dream and life’s work of twenty years destroyed in a single night with no hope of recovery.
The darkness came down like an Arctic winter, which I now know something about. In the winters of the far north, the days are black and the nights are black and even the snow falling out of the sky is black. The snow is black because there is no light to illuminate it, but still you feel it pelting your face and stabbing like needles when the wind is up.
I worked in that darkness for years, walking through snow drifts and sheets of ocean-deep ice with chains on my boots, peering into the black for the aurora borealis, green and white and glimmering, the outline of the oil rig crystalline in the distance, the darkness always upon me.
The aurora borealis is not light but false light. The particles are phantoms, ghosts of the sun. The glowing green flow, usually not there at all, is simply a reminder that the sun is shining somewhere in the world—but it is not shining for you.
But now I know the truth–and this is my first good news to report–even the darkest winter ends.
The light has finally returned, slowly, slowly, like the first Arctic sunrise after a long winter, orange and yellow and red on the horizon. Then the circle of the sun suddenly appears with flames around the edges.
This light comes to me like a thrilling surprise. Every time I turn and look away and look back it is still there, another thrilling surprise. Everywhere above me the sky is blue. I keep playing the same song over and over on the truck radio, the only one I can turn up loud.
The sun is shining, at long last. I can see again and it is glorious.
“And for once in a jump
there is no rough landing…”
Welcome back. Welcome to the light.
Thank you so much, thank you! What a connection to the rough landing! How do you do that?
I am so honored that would even think of that. You have no idea.
Absolutely wonderful Justin, your joy comes through the prose…absolutely wonderful!
Thank you Brink! It has been way too long! I hope you guys are doing great and loving life!
This makes my heart so happy! We love you so much!
We love and miss you guys, Judy! One day soon I hope visit with you over a Farm Share! I hope you are both healthy, safe, and happy!
We can’t wait!! We have missed y’all!
Judy! We miss you guys! I hope we can see you soon, it has been way too long! We are sending many hugs to you guys!
Welcome back to the light my friend. It is well deserved.
Thank you, Stacy! It has been quite an adventure! I have been pioneering the farm all over again! It feels great! I hope you are doing well, I am wishing you the best!
Good for you! Glad to know you are back in a good place!
Thank you Dee! How are you doing? It has been a long time! It is so great to hear from you!
Hi Justin (and Kayla and cute kids!) What a great surprise to get your post, thank you! They’re always SO beautifully written! I’m very sorry that Harvey ruined your lovely farm! I hope this post means you’re able to salvage it and hopefully rebuild! We’re on our trawler here in Slidell,LA, with our elderly Libby (German Shorthaired Pointer) who’s still thriving! We still have our sailboat, Flying Dogs, on a mooring in George Town, Bahamas, but they’re very restrictive due to COViD fear, so we may not get back down there this year! We’ll see… Thanks again for keeping us on your blog list! We’ll look forward to more updates! All the best, and God bless you and your beautiful family! XO Nancy, Daren, & Libby ~..~ Worship the Lord your God, and His blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you…I will give you a full life span. Exodus 2:25-26 NIV
Hello Nancy! I am so glad Libby is thriving! She must live on LOVE! I once broke down in Slidell, LA at the age of 18 driving the worst car in the world from Fl back to Houston. It was middle of summer and only had $30 and I couldn’t escape the town. Which only makes me think you will be excited to be back on Flying Dogs in the Bahamas! We ARE salvaging the farm and not just salvaging but rebuilding–smarter, stronger, more productive than ever! Give us a while and then once you get your boat come down for a visit! It is a short drive from the Bahamas, pretty much a straight line! Please hug all family and dogs for us!
Justin, I have wondered about you and your family since Harvey, knowing that your place had to have been devastated. I cannot imagine how hard it must have been, but I am delighted and thankful that the light has returned for you. mm
MM Pack! You will never believe what I just saw! A picture from your wonderful article in Edible Austin which I was able to share for a project! What a great article! We definitely had a rough patch for the family but one thing is sure, God redeems all He allows and we are now doing better than ever! Thank you so much for your kind message! I hope you are able to come back and visit one day! All the best to you!
Justin, Kayla and kids
It’s great to hear from you. I’d lost contact. I wasn’t sure what had happened to your farm? I’d be to give a hand if I possible.
Great to hear from you,
Hello James! Thank you so much for the offer of giving a hand! I know that 1) you mean it and 2) you would be the best hand on the crew! And that is no joke! When we are a little farther along I will take you up on that offer, but will be more fun than work, you will see. We miss you guys and have so many wonderful memories of you, please know that we miss you and can’t wait to see you again soon!
I have often wondered how you were doing. And although I’m sorry to hear that you had to go through such a difficult time I am happy to know that you are better. Thank you for the update. I pray for God’s continued blessings on you and your family.
Thank you Linda! God redeems all he allows, as you know. We are in a better place than ever before, with a happy family enjoying our work! Everyone is doing so well! Thank you for your thoughts and prayers, they are appreciated and effective!
It is nice to hear your journey is becoming more peaceful.
Thank you so much, Thom! We are truly enjoying peace and calm, thank you! We are lifted by a mighty hand. Thank you for your kind words!
Thrilled to see y’all restoring your amazing farm! I have followed and admired your work for many yrs and looked forward to the early morning radio spot which made my commute easier. Welcome back to the light, lost my husband of 37 yrs 7/19 and I can absolutely relate to the darkness of extreme loss and grief. A yr lat
er now and I am still pulling myself back to my life. God bless you and yours Justin. ❤
Hello Cindy! I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I can’t even imagine how your last year has been. I know there are no words from me or anyone that can even touch your grief. The hardest fights in life are not out in public, but in the dark of a lonely room. Those fights are by far the hardest.
My heart goes out to you, Cindy. Kayla too, we are praying for you today. My prayer is that you find peace in your loss and hope for today and tomorrow. And that you find joy everyday in the world around you, or go ahead and just CHANGE the world around you until it brings you joy! We are going to announce when our gardens open, and I invite you to come join us and hopefully find some joy in the soil with us. I wish you the very best, I wish you a blessed and joyful day. Justin and Kayla