Monday, May 21, 2007


Today was the annual potluck and old-time music jam session at the farm.

I spent the early part of the day preparing. One of the purposes of the occasion is to induce spring cleaning. When I am expecting a large number of folks to visit, I walk around looking at things through their eyes, imagining how it looks to them. I see the clutter that I'm blind to in daily life. I decide to DEAL with the sluggish bathroom sink drain. Which is now a) totally clogged and b) mostly dismantled.

Or perhaps I should call it post-lambing cleaning. The final putting away of things that won't be needed until next year, making mental notes about how things could be better next year.

It's also an incentive to take small steps forward that I've been wanting to take, but haven't gotten around to. The small step I took today was to take the scythe and loppers down to the wilderness area, and clear the path I usually follow when I walk there. I hope to walk there more. Beginning as plowed ground with a sloping fringe of neatly mowed bromegrass, it is now amazingly wooded and secluded from the surrounding world. You can hear the traffic and trains, but you can't see them. Instead, all around you is green, green with a flawless blue sky overarching today. And a hundred birds shouting from within the greenness of it all.

There are certain times when one feels a change happening, but can't know what it is yet. Tonight, I feel a strange shift in my relationship with the farm and with this "community". A letting go--but of what? An ending--but of what? In hindsight I'm sure it will all be clear.

I have more questions than I have answers tonight. And they are questions I can't even begin to put into words. The question asked by the black rat snake as he moved under the floor of the washhouse, to the delight of some guests and consternation of others. The question asked by the sheep, baaahing insistently though I've provided them with every sheep need I can think imagine. The question asked by a yellow tendril of dodder curling around a plant stem.

Today I found the first resprouting of dodder in the garden where I was preparing to run sheep for weed control. At first just one colony, then as I looked closer, more and more. I carefully pulled up the dodder and host plants, so that the sheep wouldn't drag fragments around on their feet and spread it. This dodder is in an area that we seriously toasted with the weed flamer last year, before it even set seed. So this must be seed from the previous year. The implications are sobering, hard to even wrap my mind around.

I did not see any ticks today.

After the other children had gone, my grandchildren and nephew made an effort to climb most of the trees in the front yard, none of which I'd ever seen as especially climbable. I looked out the window to see the English oak, with its branches tightly parallel to the trunk, swaying and quaking under the invisible load. My nephew laters aid they went clear to the top. I can't imagine how they got through the closely-spaced branches.

The only tree I've climbed is the huge pin oak along the driveway. It has the wandering, spreading form of a "wolf tree" rather than the Christmas-tree structure of many pin oaks. From up there, there is a fine view. Its branches are large and solid, sloping gently upwards away from the main trunk. It is light and airy.

Some climb a tree just because it's there. I'm inclined to climb a tree to cut limbs, or for the view, or a new perspective on life. Something practical, a purpose beyond the immediate action. This is my natural approach to most things.

When I lose sight of the purpose, I can become confused, as I am now about the future of the farm.

1 comment:

Wandering Coyote said...

Hey Natalya,

Great post. You are so good with words and descriptions of your inner struggle... I hope you get answers to your questions, once you are able to put the questions to words. So much work here...I marvel at how you do it all.

The old time music jam brought back memories of Bluegrass... I hope you enjoyed it. I remember you said to me once that summer that you missed that part of your community that got together and jammed.