A previous life

This collection coalesced as a page presented here some time ago and, although I cannot now remember why, I removed it from view. It shows the evolution of, and day-to-day activities that were, Pairodox Farm during its years of greatest agricultural production and prosperity. Given the subject of my last post, you may find this one of some interest. I’m neither philosopher nor existentialist. Having said that, I find it interesting that my own reactions to the collection are of two sorts. The first is appreciation. I think it is fair to say that I often suffer from what I have heard called The Red Herring Complex. This is when one considers themselves unworthy of achievement because of perceived shortcomings. My antidote for this unfortunate malady is to consider the many accomplishments won at the farm during our tenure. From our very first day there, we all became students and, as a family, learned together. By reading and trying it ourselves. By making mistakes, learning from those mistakes, and trying again. By being inquisitive and by asking questions. Fans of Jon Heder (as Napoleon Dynamite) will know the importance of a rich skill set and because of the farm, that skill set runs deeply among us. For that, I am appreciative. If these sentiments describe what was sweet about farm life, the second of the two felt emotions is more poignant. It’s not the unfortunate outcomes, for those were as much a part of learning as the successes. No, it is the realization that all of the accomplishment is past. I am no longer faced with the daily, oftentimes hourly, task of having to put things right. Joanna would disagree and argue that our new life is full of new challenges. Those of your who have followed this blog may remember that I very much enjoy Keats’ Ode on a Grecian Urn. This classic has much to say and what has always resonated so well within me is the idea that change, and especially our capacity to both anticipate and to then realize change, is important. One wonders whether the urn, the walls of which are adorned with images depicting acts of pursuit and anticipation, represents a paradise in which pleasure may be forever anticipated, or a torment in which it may never be realized? Surely there is excitement in anticipation, but there is nothing in life so very sweet as experience. And, then we move on.

40 thoughts on “A previous life

  1. Well, having had a good bawl over these pictures, I can safely say they are lovely. So many nice memories to say the least πŸ™‚

  2. Hi. I’m now a blast from the past. Am I right that you’ve moved off the farm? I write in remembering my first ever haying experience at your place. I ruefully remember making the mistake of wearing a t-shirt while doing so … sensitive red welts all over my arms were the result. I recall standing on the hay wagon behind the baler, catching the bales as they were delivered, and fumbling to stack each one before the next one flew at me. Good hard work. Anyway, just wanted to add my own good memory and give my thanks. It surely was a growth experience.

    • Hey there Kurt. I surely do remember you. I’m glad that you’ve discovered this blog and that you took the time to check in. I’m sure the girls will see your comment and remember those ‘good old days.’ D

  3. These images should be made into a book, along with their text. What a fantastic chronicle of the life you lived on the farm! A few of my favorites are the portrait of a baby Darcy and C asleep while laying on a steer! All those bales of hay, two beauty queens, so many beautiful animals. There is nothing you two can’t do. No one knows what the future holds. You can just try and move forward while enjoying the adventure as much as possible! You have lots to be proud of. Of that I am certain.

  4. I’d never heard of “imposter syndrome,” but when I read about it here it was a ‘light bulb moment’, because I have, myself, often experienced it not recognizing it for what it was. When you revisit an accomplishment the light bulb goes off, and you say to yourself, ” Wow, did I really do that?” Perhaps we are just unable to give ourselves the credit we deserve. Weird, isn’t it? If it has a name it must be a common phenomenon.

  5. There are so many wonderful memories here, David. I envy not only the accomplishments but the happiness and fullness of life displayed. And all this while pursuing a professorial career. Quite impressive and much admired. I suffer from the same malady … whatever I have accomplished is the result of others and good fortune … little is to my own credit. It’s not true, of course, but still roaming around in our heads and taking the strongest position in our self-esteem. I have no doubt that there is much still ahead to accomplish for you and Joanna and much to be learned. It’s the truth for all of us.

    • Scrappy Traveler, below, pointed out that those of us who suffer from the RH-Complex may also suffer from Impostor Syndrome. That’s true in my case, at least. But, truth-be-told, you are right in pointing out that we all suffer from these maladies. Perhaps it’s our own way of keeping our own-selves (and our own good self-opinions) in check. Who knows. Like Linda, you have provided much needed assurance that the future will be AOK. Thanks. Have a great day. Our predicted temperatures for the near-future will be up near 50F. If nature were going to select a winter to be somewhat more mild … this would have been my choice. Settling in without lots of measurable snow has been nice. Hope to get out with the camera today while the sun is shining.

      • Yeah … impostor syndrome sounds about right.

        Our weather will be similar to yours.

        When Mary Beth moved here from Philadelphia (Media actually) in 1983, I borrowed our store’s truck and went down to move her belongings with the help of a friend. The plan was to load up then take Rob to a nice French restaurant in appreciation and drive home the next day. While we were packing the truck I got a call from my father saying he had just seen a weather radar showing a huge snowstorm moving across PA from Pittsburgh and we should not spend the night. We treated Rob to a nice dinner on the turnpike in N.J. and arrived in our new home at about 1:30 a.m. having seen not a flake. Upon waking the next morning there was 18″ on the ground.The lack of snow is definitely a good thing for your move in. πŸ™‚

  6. One thing above all stood out for me as I enjoyed the photos. Everyone is smiling: not because someone said, “Smile for the camera,” but because they’re truly happy. There’s something about real happiness that can’t be faked, and it shines here. Even the animals look content: well-cared for, and glad to be where they are.

    One of the photos that amused me was the one of the two young canines getting famliar with the young bovine. Their inquisitiveness mirrors the curiosity you mentioned as an important part of your learning process: ” From our very first day there, we all became students and, as a family, learned together. By reading and trying it ourselves. By making mistakes, learning from those mistakes, and trying again. By being inquisitive and by asking questions.”

    That’s how it’s done. That’s how you’ll do it in the future — whatever the future holds.

    • Thanks for what is, effectively, a pat-on-the-back Linda. The transition in which we find ourselves has been (and is) unsettling (when and if I think about it too much). Your words of assurance are most welcome. Thanks. D (+J)

  7. I agree with elliesm – not a previous life, but one still very much evolving! This post made my day, week, month, whatever. Marvelous trip down memory lane! I know how you feel – I also suffer from Red Herring Complex, with a little Impostor Syndrome mixed in. But how wonderful to have photographic proof of all your joys and achievements!

    Oh and like 10000000000000 brownie points for the Napoleon Dynamite reference! Gosh!

  8. It’s not a previous life, just one chapter in a continuing series. If this is to be considered a preview of what you can do, I can only imagine what is to come. This was a pleasure and with more than a slight twinge of nostalgia. Loved it!

  9. Of course you are a philosopher, Dave! Even more so, as you speak from your experience, blended with your reflections on science and art. An awesome collection of images and memories – a farmer’s life well lived I’d say!

    I was immediately reminded of one my personal philosopher ‘heroes’, Viktor Frankl, in the US maybe known best for his book ‘Man’s Search for Meaning.’ I was searching for the official translation of one of my favorites quotes. It is not only about experience and why we should not regret when things are over, but Frankl even picks an agricultural metaphor.

    β€œUsually, to be sure, man considers only the stubble field of transitoriness and overlooks the full granaries of the past, wherein he had salvaged once and for all his deeds, his joys and also his sufferings. Nothing can be undone, and nothing can be done away with. I should say having been is the surest kind of being.” (www.goodreads.com)

    • Both Joanna and I thank you for the comment Elke. Joanna wanted you to know that she really enjoyed the Frankl quote … I did too. And, as you indicate, that it built upon agricultural images really made it special. Thanks for taking the time, for appreciating what we have achieved, and for telling us just why it is that we should too.

    • Your comment made both of us laugh Charlie. Something tells me there were hogs somewhere in your past? And, of course, you are correct … avoiding a fall in the pig pen is something one learns to focus on (and master), very quickly!

  10. Great collection of experiences and triumphs! I always tell myself that I would never “go back and do it all again,” but after looking through these, in some cases I definitely would πŸ™‚

    • Yes … in some cases … but certainly not others (those, I think, are the ones which were not recorded by the camera). I wonder which are your most memorable and most forgettable moments. How about drilling post holes for the cow shelter … for the latter category, of course.

      • Yes, that’s a good one! Hauling that sheep up the hill in the snow and mud is one that sticks out fondly in my mind … Morgan’s acute downward spiral (it’s just a flesh wound!) while we were chopping wood … of course there is always burning the wool off the fence wires πŸ™‚ Too many to name, really!

    • Wow right back at ya! Delighted to see your name in my comments section Allyson. You and Kyle and Joanna and I really do need to have dinner sometime. Perhaps when we are down at the Cape this summer? Thanks for checking in. D

  11. Amazing collection of pictures! Seems like another life. Wonderful memories. Thank you for sharing!

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