June 5th, 2012
I am a lucky man. For most of my life my seas have been smooth, my winds fair and the path to my horizons clear and full of promise. But there are times when I feel becalmed, even stuck fast, just looking for a breeze, any breeze to push my broad transom forward. And then there are those days when my spirit is lost, overturned, capsized by circumstance and flailing around looking for some floating debris to hold on to. This week the seas surround me.
When I feel like this my solace are the seasons, the seasons of the farm, the regular irregularity of the turning of time. Mid-month or late month, bi-monthly or by season the farm forever moves along to the rhythms of the year, to the sweep of the seasons, to the ever-deepening passage of daily chores. The season to ready, the season to repair, the season to shovel, the season of mud, the season to fence, the season to plow, the season to plant, the season to mow, the season of calves, the season to hay, the season to gather, the season to harvest, the season to rest, the season to ride.
Never hurried but never ignored the seasons, the farm seasons, roll through the year marking both place and time, my place and my time on this land. The weeks pass, the seasons progress and the chores roll forward; first one then another and then another and then another. It doesn’t matter how you feel, the seasonal seas don’t care; the swells both lift you and lower you but always move you forward. It’s a current, an intention that sweeps you along; it’s an outlook that keeps you strong. Embrace this flow, find shelter in the seasons and you will be forever cradled in the arms of the year.
And so I find myself down at Hoppers sitting on the old plank trailer watching Roger sail the brown loamy seas on an old red tractor as he plants 5 acres of corn two rows at a time. Summer clouds hurry past as overhead orioles and grosbeaks rain their songs down upon me. On his third pass Roger stops and pulls up a plank beside me and we talk, brothers of the farm, about every thing and not-a- thing- what a 4 row planter might be like, where Hugh might be now, the tree that fell in the corner of the field. I give him the lemonade I brought from the store and he shares a cookie he had tucked in his shirt and we sit and talk and get every thing and not-a-thing done.
After a short piece he climbs back on the tractor and continues his tack across harrowed seas dropping the promises of harvest, two seeds at a time, two rows in rhyme into the sun warmed earth. With each new row he slips past a rise and I lose sight and sound of him for a moment or two but he always tacks back to this near shore only to come about and to slip out of sight again. I sit and watch finding solace in the turns, the swells of the field, the rhythm of the chores. The day slips past, the seasons slowly turn. In this dirt, in these times, the farm is evergreen. And in watching and listening and living the seasons so am I.