There was a thing I loved with no name and another love I knew with no words.
The writer’s task is to use words to express what could never be expressed with words. So I describe the things I lived so that you may feel what I felt.
An electrophile is a substance that seeks electrons. We say such stuff has an affinity (or love) for electrons. Nonmetallic elements are electrophilic, elements such as Chlorine and Oxygen. Fortunately, the universe consists also of metallic substances eager to part with their electrons and compounds are born. Fortunately, also, many electrophiles are willing to share electrons—else there would be no carbon based life.
Similarly, hydrophilic substances have affinity for water, attracting and holding it.
I have an affinity for dirt. I love soil, water, and rocks—and the things that grow in and upon them.
There was a little farm in Dane County, Wisconsin, that called me and I answered. For a few years we got acquainted and fell in love. I used to watch the boats go by on Saturday morning on their way to Lake Koshkonong while I had dirt sticking to the sweat of my body, farming for a hobby.
It was a tired little farm with a ramshackle house but a tidy little barn. And I loved it. But, I never named it.
The day came way, way too soon that I had to let it go. I clung to it as though it was some security, some friend, something special that I could not explain.
Because of divorce, I had to let it go. And, so the day came for the closing.
My dad came and helped me close the holes for the perk test—because the new owner wanted a place for a new house. We stood in the kitchen of the soon-to-be destroyed little house and signed the papers.
My dad watched. He didn’t say anything. He was just there.
I learned something important about love that day—from my father, and from my little farm.
Dad is gone, now, and that little farm looks very different thirty-five years later. Far to the north, though, is another piece of rock, soil, water, and life that has adopted me. This time I had the good sense to name it. When I found a few charred remnants of the old growth trees cut for lumber and stained by fire, I thought of calling in Pine Bones.
The land had a better idea. We call it Lonesome Pines, in honor of the few red and white pines remaining (although more are growing) and the memories of the grandfather trees that once stood there. I love that land, and it loves me. I hope that makes sense to you because I hope you have felt that kind of unconditional love, that acceptance, which Nature provides.
And I hope you have felt or will feel the kind of love my father shared. When my daughters need me, I don’t often have much to say, but I show up. I am there. Thanks, Dad. You always were my greatest teacher, and you did it without me even knowing.