“For there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” – Hamlet
Eumaeus is no hero. I try to content myself in service. I offer the prayer, “Help us to become masters of ourselves, that we might be the servants of others. Take our minds and think through them. Take our lips and speak through them. And take our hearts and set them on fire.”
There may come a time when I can be of service with garden growing tips, phenological reminders and novel methods for sustainable living on a shoestring. Until then, read The Walden Effect.
There may come a time when I can post consistently and without fail on all the topics that I’m interested in from environmentalism to the price of a dozen eggs. Until then, read Practicing Resurrection.
There may come a time when I can manage all our gardens and livestock to feed ourselves and those in our community, when our milk cow is fat and our herd is moved daily to fresh grass. Until then, read Throwback at Trapper Creek.
There may come a time when each word that I write is pure and in practiced patience crafted to perfection. Until then, read life of the hand – life of the mind.
Eumaeus was not born but sprung fully-armed from a forehead.
Thus, there may come a time when I can give voice to your dreams and take your muddied thoughts, wipe them clean in the grass, wash them in a mountain pool and set them somewhere high enough in firmament that they’ll be visible like some rural-life beacon. Until then, read Ben Hewitt.
I offer my support to these and others still blazing that small farm trail of Jefferson’s dream. My version is the one where we rest under vine and fig while cutting the Bible into strips in search of Truth.
I paddled out to where the waters come in. I don’t know if a canoe has a stern but my son rode in the front, paddle-less. And we stopped at an old hickory snag still standing in six feet of water. My son stood in the boat, maintaining his center of gravity, and looked down into the holy nest of a tree swallow.
I took my wife out there to visit the nest again the next day. She rode in the front with our youngest, while my 8-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter kicked slowly across the pond in life-vests. My wife stood too, less gracefully and with some trepidation because she can’t swim, and took pictures down the hole. Mother and father swallow circled overhead. So we moved off a few feet. And they came and visited the nest while we watched.
It is a quiet and wild place there in the back of the pond, where the water comes in from the northwest, ‘beaver creek’. When we glide out there, if we are quiet, we are unusual and non-threatening. And things carry on as if we weren’t there. The muskrats swim circles and bark little barks. Did I tell you about the muskrats barking? I don’t tell much anymore so it is hard for me to remember. But it is good. It is good to have places and times where the rituals of fear are forgotten. In the quiet then, the familiar forms of Man are ignored and at least for a moment you can glimpse the world through other eyes.
Farm poetry is thus:
Bird netting works on goumi
Wife finishes building the coop
I bought a Savage thirty ought six
Late honey-berries are fatter and taste better than early ones
Tender hearts of garlic scapes cooked with asparagus need no verb to make complete
It is a poetry better lived than written, I’ll warrant you.
The other day there was an article in the local newspaper. It seems they are selling a type of plastic storm shelter at a business in the community. Someone had purchased one. You sink these plastic storm shelters in the ground. And it was implied that they are good for people who have mobile homes. And someone was interviewed in the story saying that it was a worry when storms would come and tornadoes threatened because there are so many trees. And that person interviewed described how they would sit in their mobile home and resolve, something like ‘if it is my time, then it is my time’.
But now they have bought a plastic storm shelter. And now they will go down in the hole without resolution. And I was reminded of that Bob Dylan song ‘Let me die in my footsteps.’ For it seems that most things remind me of a Bob Dylan song.
And, you know there is nothing wrong with buying a plastic storm shelter, burying it in the ground and taking shelter there in a storm. And there is nothing wrong with staying above ground and making your peace with life. And there is nothing wrong with the philosophy of ‘staying home‘ that we talk about and love. And there is nothing wrong with going “out in your country, where the land meets the sun,” and seeing “the craters and the canyons and where the waterfalls run.” Abbey’s country.
That’s the difficult thing about all this stuff. Nobody’s right and nobody’s wrong. I guess that’s the real reason why I haven’t been writing much lately. It is learning to dance without holding your partners so tightly that I’m trying to master. There may come a time, when right, wrong, fear, ambition and the others dance with me beautifully and no stepping on toes. There will be no leader but we will follow the music. In time, we will follow the music. Until then, wait for me.
“This is the very coinage of your brain.” – Gertrude (Hamlet’s mother)