I sure have missed Hardscrabble Farmer’s wisdom, perspective and truth over the last few weeks. But it was worth the wait. Enjoy.
Last night I dreamed of buildings. In the dream they were on our farm- a church, a small theater, a haunted house we had once looked at before we bought our place. I went from one to the other examining the flaws and estimating for repairs; rotten framing, new coat of paint, leaky pipes that ran inside the walls. I was overwhelmed by the amount of work ahead of me and in each building were groups of people I didn’t know, a cluster of young girls waiting to dance at a recital, college boys gathered in knots by a fire escape, old men and women in recliners on the porch watching the evening sky. Everyone nodded at me as I made my way from job to job and at one point an old friend I haven’t seen in years asked me to help him move a fawn across a large field to the safety of the forest before someone accidentally hit it with their car. I remember clearly the mood of the dream- it was neither ethereal nor fantastic, but mundane and simple. I was required to fix what was broken, to make the repairs and work while others went about their lives doing what was expected of them. I recall my work clothes and tools, the turkey leg someone offered me to eat, the fact that nighttime was approaching and there was still so much work left undone.
When I came downstairs this morning it was not quite light but you could see the water vapor ascending from the surface of the pond like a pillar of smoke, obscuring the lower pasture in a lavender haze. I made my coffee and thought about my dream while it was fresh in my mind.
A couple of years ago while we were visiting our family for Christmas the barn burned down. The shock of that loss has long since passed, but the memories of what people did for us remains the clearest and most profound artifact of that event. It took me six hours of driving at speeds that should have landed me in jail to reach the smoldering ruin of what had once housed innumerable possessions and lives. The firemen were wrapping things up, a few of them were hosing off the last of the smoking hay bales that continued to burn, and where that beautiful barn had once stood was nothing more than a blackened pile of ash…
This post was published at The Burning Platform on 17th September 2014.