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Everett, Vivian and Brenda with the birthday cake Nate and the kids made two weeks after her birthday. (Brenda Rudolph/Special to Agweek)

Blank words: Stream of consciousness overcomes writer's block

I am struggling to put words on my blank computer screen. I have about three different documents open with random thoughts put down. I am starting and then deleting and starting again and then again. There are so many words in my heart. I am struggling to put them in sentences to make sense or have a direction.

I am looking through pictures on my phone and then on my computer to find a glimpse of inspiration for words to form. Pictures of Everett and Vivian, Hans, sunrises and sunsets. Pictures of Everett with his chickens. Pictures from our county fair. Pictures of art and agriculture together, a project my artist friend Heidi and I worked on together and will continue to work on for our county.

The picture of the kids and me with my birthday cake right before I blew out my candles making a wish. I pause at this picture. I smile as I look at my phone screen because Nate and the kids made the cake two weeks after my actual birthday. Everett and Vivian greeted me at the door after I came home from a religious ed meeting excited they had finally made a cake for me.

The background noise of me sitting at my kitchen counter now is Vivian singing songs as she plays with her Barbies and some of Everett's Battle Bots. My mind goes from "Where did she learn that song, it is kinda catchy, to you need to write, to thoughts about the conversation Nate and I had earlier this morning and so many times before — What are we going to do, will this ever turn around, what are we going to do?" The consolation of knowing we are not alone in struggling with agriculture is no longer helpful.

I have stood up, closed my eyes, hoping to clear my head. I have reached for the ceiling with my hands. I bend over to touch my toes. At this moment Vivian sees me from the spot where she is playing on the dining room floor, jumps up and explains happily "Let's do yoga!" She reaches for the ceiling like I am, and she asks, "Like this?"

I sit back down at my computer. My eyes wander around my kitchen from where I sit. I wonder if I should put away the water bath canner that has called the stove home since the end of July. I feel like I am done canning tomatoes, but I know there will be more to can. I have jars of tomato soup and spaghetti sauce on the counter because they do not fit in the pantry. I need to find a place for them off my counter.

Vivian is now sitting next to me. She sings, hums and talks to herself. She has wrapped a small toy in a wet wipe. She asks herself, "What is this?" as she unwraps her self-made package. She continues to say "I see something colorful..." She explains happily "It's Flips!"

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