“If my thought dreams could be seen, they’d probably put my head in a guillotine”
We moved the cows the day after that picture was taken. It’s back to the north pasture for them. And later this winter, when everybody’s cows have been out of the pasture for months, maybe then I’ll have the south perimeter line up and we’ll move them across the dam to finish out winter over there in what we call ‘the hay field’.
We’ve experimented with making dandelion wine and it tasted like shit. Tried making ‘milk vodka’ too and that didn’t work. I like the persimmon wine though, vintage last week. Drink it fast if you need to, to quench your thirst. But be careful, it sneaks up on the wife. There is no sneaking up on me though. I stand out in the open, head on a swivel. Ain’t no damned persimmon wine gonna get me.
We went camping next to the culvert on Sunday night. It was right next to where the beaver works. Beaver was swimming around even when we went into the tent. I had my shotgun with me though. And I took a shot at him before we tried to sleep. That didn’t bother him much. I don’t even think he took a break after that. After the shell hit the water I heard a strange sound like an animal wreathing in pain, but then we discovered that it was some kind of duck or water fowl I’d startled and he circled low and flew away. It was a moonless night. I shouldn’t have tried shooting him on a moonless night.
I heard the water flowing as I ‘slept’ in the tent that night. I heard it flow until 2:50 am. That’s when the beaver stopped up the water and the culvert stopped flowing. Nothing else interesting to report from the night camping. It was just another almost sleepless night for me. I cuddled with my boy and listened to the night sounds. I’d like to know what every one of those insects that make noises are. A barred owl was calling (this is usual).
The best thing I heard was the sound of a chinquapin oak (Quercus muehlenbergii) acorn falling in the water. That is a good noise, a satisfying noise. We only heard one drop in the water while we were sleeping there. But I’ve heard them drop a few other occasions while I’m cleaning out the beaver’s work. The sound always startles me. It’s not really a sound that you can be prepared for. If I heard a mink barking at me while I was throwing sticks from the beavers dam to my discard pile I’d be less surprised. A mink family is using one of my discard piles for a house this winter. That’s fine with me. Any rodent but the beaver is fine with me. I’m not a fisherman and I’d take a gang of river otters over the damned beaver. Yes, the wife is pushing me to get out there with my new rifle and hunt them like a real man. No, not sit out there for a few minutes before bed but hunt them.
It’ll get to that point, I’m afraid. The winter rains will set in and there won’t be any choice. I’ll have to go at the lodges.
I often wonder what the point of it all is. I know, you’re sick of hearing about it. “Shove me in the shallow water before I get too deep” and all that. Too deep is a natural tendency here. What else am I supposed to talk about? Anyway, read this by my friend Gigi.
One day it really sinks in that every thing that has happened in your life was done for you and not against you. One day it really sinks in that nothing could ever be bad and no one could ever be guilty. One day you dance in the realization that everything that happens must be perfect, must be in service to where your evolutionary impulse wants you to grow next. One day you will know what the masters and shamans and messengers knew—You are always Flying and never Falling. Live your life in this knowing moment by moment and it will be revealed to you. You are not separate from the universe, from nature, from the Great Spirit. You are That and so how could That ever flow in the “wrong” direction? Simply not possible
Yes, I love Gigi. We’ve been to the same place and back. And sometimes when I’m clearing the beaver’s work. I’ll wonder about this kind of unfolding perfection mentioned above. You know, it’s all right to wonder. It’s all right to talk about it. It’s all right to come to conclusions and back away from them. It’s okay to meet utter certainty and illusion in the same breath. No big deal.
Back a number of years ago, when my boy had just turned five (he is 8 now) and we’d celebrated his birthday in the spring by inviting the neighbors over. And the forsythia and magnolias were flowering like they do at that time. We all walked out to the pond, the neighbor’s family and ours, on that bright spring day. All the kids were sitting on the dock while the parents chatted (like parents do) on the dam. And one of the neighbor boys lost a boot in the water.
Our neighbor is a good man. He’s got a big family and I’ve seen him jump into some wild things. Like when he came to help us move a bull from another neighbor’s house to ours. He just grabbed that thing around the neck and it took off across the pasture while he held on but our friend never let go of that bull. So when he started making like he was going to take off his clothes and go into that chilly, April water I believed him for sure. It was only six feet deep. I had no doubts he was going to go in after that boot. It is just something that he would do. He’s not afraid of stuff like that. I’ve seen him squeeze into a nasty, old crawl space with who-knows-what kind of spiders without a second thought.
So somehow his wife talks him out of diving in the pond after the boot. And we give up trying to fish it out with a long stick (weren’t even able to poke it or find it exactly). And we thought about that boot occasionally and about how our friend was ready to dive in after it. And then just the other day, about three and a half years since we’ve seen that boot, the beaver brought it up an laid it next to the culvert for me. And I had a good laugh. I had a good laugh imagining that beaver picking up the boot way over by the dock and swimming with it half-way across the pond and then carrying it up the mud and putting it there for me.
The beaver has given me some pretty rocks before and some nice walking sticks, but the boot was the best gift yet. I’m going to put it in our friend’s mailbox on my way to work this morning. I don’t figure I’ll leave any note or anything. They’ll recognize the boot. We can tell them the story of how we got it later. For now we’ll let them wonder.