Monday, July 11, 2011

Making hay...

In my last blog entry, I dipped deep into some rough feelings about a certain dog, in particular (which made me think of other situations, other times, other ... people/creatures ... and the circumstances related to them), who has in his young, willing life suffered at the hands of someone those he loves trusted. I spoke of fear, and that scars which have healed to the eye yet remain for a lifetime. I stopped too soon, in that entry, and did not speak of those things which make up for all the scars a lifetime of battles can incur.

I did not speak of joy, of love, of those things that carry us forward when our own feet of clay melt away in puddles of despair. And so here I return to the source for my inspiration.

Sitting as I am in an open field, near a barn and a beautiful garden (Many Hands Farm), where the shade trees along the creek offer shelter from a blistering summer sun, I take much joy in watching that same dog aforementioned, his pink tongue lolling out, a-drip with a recent drink of clean water from a travel bowl gifted to him by a dog-enthusiast friend. Sy is resting sprawled out in hay not yet mowed, beneath a sprawling sycamore tree. His ears are up -- he's keeping track of where his other housemate, my own mate Ronnie, is on the tractor -- and his eyes are bright. He has already been taken through a round of explorations in the area and eschewed the hot sunny spots for a soothing spot near my folding chair. He is the ultimate writer's dog; he sits guarding while I write. Nothing moves that he does not see. And I, his person of the hour, listen for his restless motion or the thinnest whine that might tell of an intruder into our oasis of peace.

Bees are humming gently in the clover and among the garden plants. The too-tall nodding heads of Queen Anne's Lace tells of how the hay should have been cut weeks ago. Life is full of complications, and it was not cut as it should have been to be the best possible winter forage for livestock. The seed heads on timothy and  red clover blooms have gone brown and ripe; when the mower passes through, the seeds will fall, separating rich grain from the bulk forage, losing its richest values and reducing it to more filler than feed. This complication of life does not affect the bees one bit. They go on working calmly, no job too big or small, that they cannot and will not tackle it in their methodical hive way.

Every time a bee or fly gets too close to Sy, I hear a quiet SNAP as his jaws click together. The bugs that land on his fur tickle, and his action of self-defense is not harsh to his mind, only a way of adapting his environment to suit him and to preserve his personal peace of mind. That sound, of jaws calmly clicking together (with or without the offending bug between them) has become soothing to me, as well. It lets me know where Sy is, what he's doing, even as I type on.

This is a piece in my life-puzzle.

As I heal from all the daily stress of dealing with family, personal, employment, health, and other worries, Sy begins to heal too. Here, in a small green speck of land near a nearly-dry creek bed, we find solace. It costs us nothing, and we will obligingly leave little or no scars or markers of our passing here if at all possible. Peace, world. We are mere travelers along the Way. 

This is a particularly hot day, as July sometimes serves up. During this time of year, people dream of snow and ice with fondness. Never mind the fact that during the last winter, a third 'hard winter' in a row, everyone prayed for sunshine and hot weather. Only the garden plants and creatures of nature do not complain, but get on with their duties of procreation and immediate survival just the same. Sy's tongue drips a steady stream of cooling, and my own shirt clings damply to hide all too willing to dump out a steady supply of unladylike sweat. The water in the cooler, steamy with ice chill straight away upon encountering the humid air of ordinary summer, has taken a hard hit from thirsty people and dog alike.

Here, in the shade of the sycamore, of the elm, the tulip poplar, and with partial sun blocked off by the bulk of the barn, we can rest in relative comfort while Sy gently guards, Ronnie rakes and bales the hay already down, and I write.

Tomorrow, or tonight, rain is possible; the heat is promising coolness to follow. As yet, no tree leaves have turned upside down. Farmers' chickens are seeking shade during the heat. Livestock can be found in sharp, deep bends of the creek where yet a small amount of water puddles up in cooling mud, where flies are being studiously swished away by tails designed for just that. No one is expecting a sudden downpour, green or red-blooded. Nor am I. A light breeze swirls through, exploratory. Tomorrow, the outlook could be very different.

This is a farmer's life: do what you can when you can with what you have, and hope for the best. Endure if it does not arrive. This is also the life of wild things. And of writers, it seems.

To that end, I have typed in a piece I'm calling a 'psalm' that fits in among the stories in my 'novel-in-progress', and applied myself to several other small projects that need doing while offline (like writing this blog entry). From here, I go to do what I can with what I have. I hope for the best. I will endure if it does not arrive just yet. Like the farmers and the wild things, I will, if need be, await another day and commence to begin to start once again, and repeat that on an as-needed basis.

So I close, dear readers, with a smile on my face to hear a panting dog and birds, the distant hum and rattle of tractor and equipment. I am at work, and serene.