I’m Emily Polis Gibson, a wife, mother, farmer and family physician, living the rural life in northwest Washington state. I’ve been chronicling life on the farm, in the barn and in the exam room for over a decade, though my emphasis is on raising our family in faithful stewardship to our God and to the land we call home for the time being.
For too much of my life I have focused on the future, bypassing the present in my headlong rush to what lies ahead. There is always a goal to achieve, a conclusion becoming commencement of the next phase, a sunset turning right around in a few hours to become sunrise.
Yet the most precious times occur when the present is so overwhelming, so riveting, so tenderly full of life that I see a brief glimpse of God. I must grab hold with all my strength to try and secret it away and keep it forever. Of course the present still slips away from me, elusive and evasive, torn to bits by the unrelenting movement of time.
Even if I was able to take a photo to lock it to a page or screen, it is not enough. No matter how I choose to preserve the canvas of the present, it is passed, ebbing away never to return.
I must wonder at the present by focusing less on the foreshortening future.
So I write to harvest those times to make them last a little bit longer. Maybe not forever; they will inevitably be lost downstream into the ether of unread words.
Even if unread, I am learning that words, which had power in the Beginning to create life, bring tenderness and meaning back to my life. How blessed to live the gift twice: not just in the moment itself but in writing words that preserve and treasure it all up, if only for a moment.
This blog is a mix of stories, personal essays, memoir, poetry, reflections, and meditations along with my own photos, many of which have now been published elsewhere, including numerous stories in Country Magazine by Reiman Publications/Readers Digest in addition to regular contributions to KevinMD.com, aholyexperience.com, www.patheos.com and her.menuetics. Most recently, one of my essays was published in The Jane Effect, a book celebrating Jane Goodall, another in the anthology Everbloom and a poem published in a literary guide for Lent, Between Midnight and Dawn edited by Sara Arthur.
I am a member of the Redbud Writers Guild.
To contact me for permission to use any material on this blog, email me at email@example.com
To financially support the daily offerings of words and photos on this ad-free blog, go here.
After growing up on a small dairy and beef farm in Washington State, I left for Stanford University, where I found my new home in the Program in Human Biology, researching animal behavior with an eventual goal to do field studies. I headed off to Tanzania in spring 1975 to study wild chimpanzees at Gombe, under the supervision of Dr. Jane Goodall. I was specifically studying mother/infant and weaning behavior.
The May 19th kidnapping of 4 fellow students and researchers by Zairean rebels ended that era of research at Gombe. The students were eventually returned to safety after their harrowing ordeal.
Having worked my way through college as a nurses’ aide in rest homes, I applied to the University of Washington School of Medicine, graduating in 1980 and going on to Family Medicine Residency training at Group Health Cooperative in Seattle. Group Health was one of the original consumer run Health Maintenance Organizations with a strong emphasis in primary care and prevention. I remained in practice at Group Health in an inner city clinic for two years following my residency, but then married Dan, a farm boy transplanted to the city, so we eventually made the move to Whatcom County to raise our children on our farm. I have practiced primary care in a variety of settings: in private practice, as a consultant for child abuse evaluations and as attending physician for community clinics, with over twenty years of chemical dependency work supervising medical detox. My primary position since 1989 has been as medical director for the Student Health Center at Western Washington University, caring for thousands of college students during a time of great transition and transformation in their lives. I now work part time as a staff physician at the clinic, providing behavioral health care.
Our three children Nate, Ben and Lea are grown and flown, off to families and adventures of their own, living lives of service in various parts of the world. Dan is a retired prosecuting attorney, now active on several different school and community boards, and I remain working part-time in nearby Bellingham and at home on our farm, attending Wiser Lake Chapel, a local community church where we have found our extended family of faith.
Financial Support for the Barnstorming Blog from our Readers
Your financial support helps to keep this blog an ad-free daily offering. Your contribution of any amount is encouragement to me and deeply appreciated.