I see her there. The reflection in his eyes as he looks through me. I feel her presence behind me, whispering against my hair as I bounce the baby on my hip and speak excitedly about the possibilities of a real date, our older daughter’s performance on her recent spelling test, and the request to go get groceries “alone.” She is always there, though sometimes I am successful at distracting my husband from seeing her. But, on days like these, during this season, she often pushes me out of the way, or stomps her foot in disgust while beckoning to him with that sweet seductive expression. And, as usual, I sigh a deep sigh and step aside. Again, he must choose her.
She is his mistress, the lady of this land. She is mistress to men all over this part of the country. In certain times of the year, it is ALL about her. In the spring, she is sweet and mellow, with sounds of expression in the bawl of new calves and song of birds. She smells fresh and beautiful, and her demand for attention is calm and serene. She chides him to spend long hours of the night with her, as he helps usher many new life into the world. She shines on him under the spring skies as he turns the earth to plant new seeds. Their love is beautiful and mutual, and I am but an observer of the sacred relationship that they have, that runs this course over and over, year after year. I fight the jealousy that comes when he speaks of his love for her, and I offer words of support when he is tired and worn from keeping up with her demands. At the end of this season, he takes a short reprieve, while she fades into the background for a while. I bask in the glow of our renewed time together, and supper at the table as a family, and the sparkle in his eyes that is directed at me. I know our time together is short so I soak up all the joy and peace that comes when she is at bay.
And just as fast, she is there again. A bit more nagging, without all the gentleness of spring. She hollers for more water or sends her plagues of bugs to infest the crops, or hail stones to dent and damage the spring’s work. She herself glows at the fine attention he pays when he has done it all just her way, and she blusters and growls when she has a mind to, just to make sure he knows she is really the one calling the shots. Still, he never says no to her, even on the hottest of days. Her demands seem never ending in the hot summer sun, but her sultry voice conveys that she desires all he has to give. Still, if he can survive this stormy place in their relationship, he stands to reap great reward.
The shorter days and cooler temps bring short reprieve in foraging their tempestuous relationship. In September, she cools her jets and waits patiently while he gathers his strength and wit and energy to please her. She knows he will need it all as the harvest time comes. Sometimes she goes along easily all fall, waiting patiently for him to please as he works about doing so each and every day until the bins are full and cattle safely settled for the winter. Other times, she threatens to throw the whole thing away by bringing an early storm or sickness to throw everything off course. Usually, it’s a mix of both, and at this point in this long and challenging place in their love, he may bark and growl in return…or take time on his knees to beg her for mercy and plea for cooperation. Sometimes she listens, and other times she laughs in his face. Either way, he knows he must persist in their mutual agreement…that at the end of the day, it’s her way or no way.
And winter comes, and once again she fades into the distance for a short while. He sees me again, looking closely at the new lines and wrinkles that have come in the time where he departed from me. I do not age as beautifully as she, I do not get a fresh face and new look each year. He tenderly holds me, and tells me he loves me, that he needs me, that he is thankful I let him cheat with her. And, I tell him thank you for cheating with her. That I too love this life, and will continue to do so, and that she can stay…another year.