Peregrinations

Although the day was supposed to be showery, we woke to clear skies with but a few thin wisps of cloud; there was work to be done. You may remember a post which told about a clutch of eggs that our Speckled Sussex had hatched. Those birds are now grown and one of the harsh realities of farm life is that not all of the animals that arrive at Pairodox may stay. We let the hen set because the laying flock was aging a bit and, with winter coming on, it was a good time for one or two replacements. The hen managed to fledge eight peeps, four pullets and four cockerels. Four was a good number of girls but four boys was four too many. We discussed it over coffee and decided to conscript a back-up rooster. That meant we had three cockerels whose names instantly became surplus, supernumerary, and superfluous. Having emptied my cup I heated water to fill our largest kettle, sharpened two knives, and gave the dairy sink a good wash. Ten hours later I sat at the kitchen table, the rich aroma of chicken-at-a-boil suffused the first floor and was working its way upstairs. As a reward for our efforts we took to the creek at Ramsey. Joanna and Mr. Darcy hiked the trail to the south. My camera and I took to the creek bed. Because I thought I might do a bit of wading, I had worn shorts and sneakers. My point of entry was immediately adjacent to one of the steel truss bridges I have so often talked about. There were two anglers in the water, one was fly fishing and the other was using a worm-and-bobber. I asked how deep the water was between where they were standing and the near abutment. They did not know but agreed that I might be able to get to it over that way. Joanna walked back over the bridge about an hour later and shouted down, Decided to take a swim I see. Getting to the abutment turned out to be quite the adventure, suffice it to say everything was wet save my camera pack which I had held above my head during the traverse. Once out of the water and back on the trail Joanna showed me the way to a small pond. Although clouds were gathering and the understory was muted, the sun showed briefly to illuminate the shallows. I’m not often a fan of such photos but this one seemed to have a disorienting bit of depth, nice color, and a sense of movement that I liked. The Equinox will happen tomorrow and fall color is beginning to blush in the high hillsides. It will be breeding season soon and the sheep are restless. The Toms are maturing, awkward, strutting, gawky. The crops have dried down and await the pickers, choppers, balers, and combines. Evidences like these are bold and cry out the change; others are barely perceptible, but if you stop and listen you may note whispering among the trees. This is the time that things end their preparations and turn inward. Many would say autumn is the time that creatures prepare for winter. If things are not prepared now, the winter will be short, for they will not survive. These realities are not bad, or harsh, they are what they are. Why disparage the seasons and the challenges they represent? This Earth will continue to spin through its orbit, winter will come and it will go, and I will soon be writing about rain and about all good things green and growing.

22 thoughts on “Peregrinations

  1. An hour or so ago, while I was having a coffee and waiting for Lesley to finish volunteering at dance school, I read some very kind words from you; comments on my blog. I fact, my head swelled so much I was not sure I was going to get it ‘tween the two door jambs at the coffee shop. I’m home now, sitting out in the back garden and quietly enjoying a Sunday afternoon. The wind is fairly high – gusting to 60 km/hr I’d guess and the temps are a bit above average – 12 to 14C I’d estimate. I can hear the wind whistling through the brittle leaves but I’m shadowed from both the wind and the sun by the shed. A beautiful fall day is unfolding all around me. I’m catching up on your posts and now, finally I’ve come to this one. I read it twice, once just because and once more just for enjoyment. Everything you said to me I am now returning to you. Beautiful – pictures and words. And I’m still chuckling at the thoughts of you steadfastly pushing your way across that stream. Poor J, what she has to put up with! But, then again, I suspect that’s one of the parts of you she loves the most.

  2. Lovely writing in this post. I like the way you’ve moved through the day, connecting the events of fall butchering with the coming winter, but allowing the thoughts to remain mostly as subtext, so that feeling develops, allowing a mood to grow and infuse the post with a sense of anticipation. I really wish you’d allow yourself more credit for your writing; this was excellent.

    1. You know M, oftentimes I will sit at the kitchen table, look at one of my images, and immediately know what it is I want to say about it. Then, a little voice will speak up and say something like, ‘No, you can’t say that … you can’t write about that. Folks will think you’re silly.’ Have you ever seen the movie, The Philadelphia Story? Jimmy Stewart is a writer, a poet, and supporting himself as a reporter. Katharine Hepburn is a local social light. Anyway, she comes upon one of his books and notes that the writing is lovely and reads like poetry. And, he replies something like, ‘Don’t kid yourself, it is.’ Every time I listen to that exchange I get the feeling that Stewart is challenging certain male stereotypes. He seems to be saying that its OK to be male AND thoughtful. When I sit to write I always face the same dilemma … write as certain traditions would say I should write … or write things I’d like to write about. I cannot tell you how many passages I have deleted for fear that they were not well within the limits of tradition. I think your comment is suggesting that its OK for me to simply write. Thanks. D

      1. I am thinking that the most beautiful, most solid, most strong things we put into this world are our most honest. That is, not true to an ideal or a culture and it’s traditions, but honestly ourselves, true to the “here and now” of ourselves. As Elke and I worked through our discussion about anxiety I landed on a few insights about the way anxiety works to keep us from being our real selves… but also helps us by pointing us to that real self. Someone recently reminded me that the very best ideas are the ones that critical voices say will never work. Perhaps when other people say this, they are jealous of the ingenuity or brilliance of the plan. Perhaps when we say this to ourselves, what we worry about is the jealous backlash of other people? This is only a thought… I’ve been excavating a few personal memories lately that share this connection (which also, interestingly, many are deeply connected to assumptions about gender).

        When I wrote about wanting to share more creative writing, I found underneath a memory of being treated in the most nasty and bitchy way by a group of other writers immediately after doing my first public reading. I started to think “Who am I kidding? I’m not a fiction writer. I don’t belong in this club.” Now I wonder if I misunderstood what happened there.

        So, I have this thesis that suggests that pushing ourselves into doing the things we say “won’t work” might be a sure way to discovering exactly the right thing. I’m going to do the experiment and give it a try. For the next three months, I am going to do in my writing the most uncomfortable things, and then see what happens.

        1. I sense you have drawn a line in the sand … for me. I will wait for a photo which asks to be written about in ‘that’ way. I look forward to the invitation and wonder where the image will take me. This sounds like fun. Thanks.

        2. I hope it is OK when I join this conversation!

          Dave – I find the mental connections you make between your images and whatever-comes-to-your-mind always very interesting. It is amazing how your rather short posts have so many different aspects – from science to poetry, I’d say!!

          I can imagine that the non-traditional part is always the most intriguing, so I second Michelle!

          BTW isn’t it funny that we sometimes share things in comments (only) that would provide excellent raw material for posts?

          1. Thanks Elke … I will score that as 2 votes in favor of my pursuing the nontraditional. Thanks for your added support. As I told M … I will wait for an image to call to be written about in ‘that’ way and see what happens. D

  3. A lovely reminder that time marches on whether we like it to or not. I am having the trim on my house painted and several windows reglazed. We’ve had the perfect stretch of dry weather for work outdoors. I just need a few more to finish the job!

    1. When the folks working on your place are done you can send them this way to give our entire place a coat of paint … it needs it. Glad you’ve been enjoying nice weather, we’re expecting rain tonight. D

  4. You’ll never guess what your posts makes me think of. The key phrase for me is “one of the harsh realities of farm life is that not all of the animals that arrive at Pairodox may stay”. The Chief Engineer has just published a German post about an animal that was not about to stay with us – but actually has contributed to an ‘interesting’ biological decomposition process in our water tank. It has been a while since I smelled H2S last time. Poor little frog or toad. To be fair, it is equally likely that is was some brine that accidentally trickled into the during the lastest changes to collector and piping – seems to be not uncommen with cisterns. But ‘biomass’ has been removed now and an oxygen supply is in place! The smell you have encountered was definitely better!

    The image is great – an interesting range of colors – I’d expect a space ship to rise from the bottom every moment … but I cannot help thinking of all those processes in ponds I read about when researching the H2S accident 🙂

    1. That’s funny … when I first saw your comment I read the material as H25 (and not H2S) … so, I frantically was trying to figure out what H25 was … and couldn’t. Then I looked more carefully and saw that you were talking about hydrogen sulfide! Not a smell that I like very much. Too much of it could put a real cloud over your whole system if the water tank is overly inviting to trespass by amphibians and the like! I suppose that once the offending corpse was removed that you had to add a bit of sodium hypochlorite (bleach) or perhaps even had to drain the system. What a bother. D

      1. Haha – yes … H25 … our new secret component, very heavy hydrogen, developed in our research lab 😉 Yes, now all is well again! Actually, we planned some work in the tank, so these were now done earlier and drained it. Based on some research on cisterns we didn’t use bleach but installed a pump that can provide oxygen – just in case that ever happens again.

        Bad timing – now all animals search for shelter. I notice this as now in autumn I see more search terms again in my stats for ‘mice in microwave vent’ and the like. We had once accidentally electrocuted a poor little mouse in our microwave – from the search terms I conclude this is a fairly common issue. That smell was worse than H2S … disturbing as we did not find the root cause first – because the cavity of the microwave was perfectly clean.

  5. Well, now, this one interests me mightily. It’s almost a reflection on glass or water. I keep looking at it. It is a reflection or partly one. I love the edit. And I love your new look here. Really fine, D.

    1. You are the very first one to comment on the little adjustments I have made to the site. Nothing major, just little issues like spacing and margins and stuff. I think everything looks more symmetrical and tight and uniform. You win the prize for my most observant follower! Thanks George. D PS: Did you get my email?

  6. I love the image of the blush in the high hillsides and the whispering among the trees – words and picture give me a multi colour, vivid sense of your place – great!

    1. Thanks Jenny! You and I both know I’m not a writer, but sometimes I just ‘get going’ and I surprise myself with what shows up on the monitor. I don’t know … I delete lots for fear of being thought of as ‘silly.’ Please tell me it isn’t so. D

  7. I like this very much, David. Wonderful color and light. This is my sort of abstract … very real and an intimate look at a part of the whole. Is this the image that had you chin deep? Without knowing the circumstance, I would not guess that. You are a better man than I, David. I suppose if I had to slaughter my own food to survive I would find it within me … or go vegan.

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