Mattie is not a HUGE fan of our cats. And we have many. OK, we currently have 4. But, that is another story. Most of the cats either avoid Mattie as he is loud and runs a lot, or they try to get very close to him, as the think he is hurt, with all the strange noises he makes. Autistic children are not quiet children. At least in Mattie’s case. So while I am Farming on Farm Town, Mattie falls asleep behind me in our office couch, and he has some company that he is unaware of. Shhh….., don’t tell!!!
Amber’s “Little Patch of Heaven”
“Come visit my farm,anytime!!” I heard that a lot in the last week. I was sent notes on my Farm Town note pad, got messages on the Forum link, and people stopped by my farm and invited me back to theirs.
I saw many, many wonderful farms. I went to “Grannie Judi’s Place”, a level 31 farm where Grannie Judi has made a resort type bar out of concrete blocks,tent and stools. I traveled to the “Middle of No Where Farm”, where Dora-no relation to the explorer- had constructed a realistic beach complete with sand and waves. On “Kim’s New Groove” farm, Jungle Kim has created-can you guess?- a jungle, so spectacular that I expected to see natives chasing King Kong up the Aztec inspired pyramid. Too bad Mr. Kong isn’t on the animal list to buy at the market! On Granny Mo’s “High Line Canal Farm” the new American flag waves in front of a 3 white house combo on a multi level farm. Just this morning, I dropped by to see “Hill top cottages” who’s proprietor, Ms.B Potter, who hales from Arizona, has created a 3 mansion working farm, that brings to mind old English elegance.
There was one farm,though, that upon bouncing into I stood speechless. Rare in itself , for me. “Little Patch of Heaven” by Amber. I immediately went to “full screen” to truly take in what I thought I was imagining. This really was not a farm at all. No trees. No houses, barns, fences, rivers or waterfalls. Not an animal to be seen for miles- not even a rogue chicken. I had beamed into the middle of an old fashioned cross stitch sampler, like the kind Grandmothers have made into pillows or framed on their walls. In the middle, using “frozen’ crown’s of thorns as her thread, Amber had stitched ” the Beauty of Creation”. Surrounding this was butterflies made from red, yellow and Orange poppys, and larger flowers constructed from purple crocus. Frozen in time marigolds and roses were used as green vines and leaves. The border of this was the crops itself that when matured create a new color patter. This farm was no longer a farm it was a piece of art. It had so evolved that it needed it’s own level. Amber told me herself, she had never embroidered in her life. I have done many types of stitchery, and this farm in it’s simple elegance would put them all to shame.
So, what had I learned from my 40 plus farm visits? That every farmer I got the chance to meet in person, was extremely proud,if not boastfully so, of the farm they had created. That many, like Amber had used this as an artistic outlet. for some, it was the friendly competition of getting to the next level- or for me – getting that red mansion. But the common thread was, that Farm Town is a release from the real world and all it’s complications. It was a short-or long- time away from the struggling economy, a loved ones-or one’s own-illness, or in my case, my son Mattie’s Autism. Like one of the farmers I met, Farmassist , owner of “Farmacy” farm, told me, “Forget the Calgon, Farm Town, take me away!!”.
There never seems to be a loss for opinions when it comes to Autism. How did he get it? How do we fix him? How do we prevent it from happening to others? All I know is, right now I’m living it. And not as a part-time job or as a clinical study. Survival is a daily thing. Communication is hard work, on everyone’s part. And it wreaks havoc across all settings. But give me a shovel, a piece of land and something, anything, to plant or mow or water- and I’m good. At least for the short run. Don’t let me fool you, I have my support groups, my pretty meds, but getting my hands dirty is more cathartic than anything I know. It gives me the energy to deal with what ever life throws at me. And it gives me the inner strength to raise and love unconditionally, a 10-year-old boy named Mattie.