We got engaged in June of 1999. We took out a mortgage and closed on our cabin that Columbus weekend. That Halloween, he showed up at his job as a county planner dressed as Nick Bottom-turned into a donkey - from A Midsummer Night's Dream (in his defense, it was an office tradition that people showed up in costume). The next day, his boss fired him for insubordination, saying, among other things, that he had been making a mockery of her Republican party. Apparently she never read much Shakespeare.
I came home from grad school that Thursday night, completely frightened about our future. I thought we'd have to leave our community to find work. I thought Bob would be marked as a shameful, ne'er-do-well who couldn't hold a respectable job. I was already having trouble securing employment locally -- my political leanings and vociferous opinions about sustainable agriculture were branding me as an upstart. Thus, 2 weeks after we'd bought our dream cabin on the edge of a forest, just up the road from the family farm, it looked like we'd have to flee.
When Bob met me at the door, a fire was roaring in the woodstove. Reluctant to spend money on groceries, he had taken the bones from the chicken we'd eaten the previous weekend and boiled them for soup, then tossed in little bits of refrigerator leftovers to round it out. It was the most memorable bowl of soup I've ever had. As we sat eating by the stove, an intuitive feeling washed over me that we'd be just fine, but that didn't keep my fears from waking me up in the night.
The next morning, sleepless with our anxieties, we woke early and watched the sunrise at our cabin. That's when we discovered that November sunrises are the most beautiful of all up here. They are filled with glaring pinks, made more dramatic by the silouhette of the bare trees and evergreen forest against the sky. As we watched it unfold, I remember our fear, and how it was mixed with awe at the beautiful miracle outside our window. A little snow was in the air. That was the first day I remember experiencing faith.
It was Friday morning, and we both realized that neither of us had to go to work that day. We were suddenly giddy. I looked at him. "Do you think we could make it so that we never have to go back?"
"I think it's worth trying," he replied.
And so today marks our 12th year of gainful unemployment. How fitting that it is called All Soul's Day. It is the day we got our souls back.