I don't know that I can really call myself a farmer. A gardener certainly. But farmer might be stretching it. If I were in a position to live off the fruits of my labors . . . well, I wouldn't live very long if I were in that position. But I do dream of it and maybe someday will be able to realize that dream. That agrarian blood runs deep in my veins. My maternal grandfather still lives, now in his late years, alone on his many acres in East Texas. And my father's line all began as farmers in the Heartland. So for those reasons, and many more, I have been in love with Wendell Berry and his earthy fabulous poems for decades. The land just sings through his poetry, and his love of that land is palpable.So today I bring you:
The Satisfactions of the Mad Farmer
Growing weather; enough rain; the cow's udder tight with milk; the peach tree bent with its yield; honey golden in the white comb;
the pastures deep in clover and grass, enough, and more than enough;
the ground, new worked, moist and yielding underfoot, the feet comfortable in it as roots;
the early garden: potatoes, onions, peas, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, carrots, radishes, marking their straight rows with green, before the trees are leafed;
raspberries ripe and heavy amid their foliage, currants shining red in clusters amid their foliage, strawberries red ripe with the white flowers still on the vines--picked with the dew on them, before breakfast;
grape clusters heavy under broad leaves, powdery bloom on fruit black with sweetness --an ancient delight, delighting;
the bodies of children, joyful without dread of their spending, surprised at nightfall to be weary;
the bodies of women in loose cotton, cool and closed in the evenings of summer, like contented houses;
the bodies of men, able in the heat and sweat and weight and length of the day's work, eager in their spending, attending to nightfall, the bodies of women;
sleep after love, dreaming white lilies blooming coolly out of the flesh;
after sleep, enablement to go on with work, morning a clear gift;
the maidenhood of the day, cobwebs unbroken in the dewy grass;
the work of feeding and clothing and housing, done with more than enough knowledge and with more than enough love, by those who do not have to be told;
any building well built, the rafters firm to the walls, the walls firm, the joists without give, the proportions clear, the fitting exact, even unseen, bolts and hinges that turn home without a jiggle;
any work worthy of the day's maidenhood;
any man whose words lead precisely to what exists, who never stoops to persuasion;
the talk of friends, lightened and cleared by all that can be assumed;
deer tracks in the wet path, the deer sprung from them, gone on;
live streams, live shiftings of the sun in the summer woods;
the great hollow-trunked beech, a landmark I loved to return to, its leaves gold-lit on the silver branches in the fall: blown down after a hundred years of standing, a footbridge over the stream;
the quiet in the woods of a summer morning, the voice of a pewee passing through it like a tight silver wire;
a little clearing among cedars, white clover and wild strawberries beneath an opening to the sky --heavenly, I thought it, so perfect; had I foreseen it I would have desired it no less than it deserves;
fox tracks in snow, the impact of lightness upon lightness, unendingly silent.
What I know of spirit is astir in the world. The god I have always expected to appear at the woods' edge, beckoning, I have always expected to be a great relisher of this world, its good grown immortal in his mind.
Don't you just love the sun setting through this tangle of trees, and those fluttery golden leaves, and the rose parading itself along through late fall and into winter? As I took these, my one year old was rocking away in her tiny white rocker, too cute for words.
I am a mama, Certified Professional Midwife, dancer/choreographer, gardener, photographer-in-progress, collector, yogi, and lover of the quirky/wild/wierd/wonderful. Myself, two daughters, one dog, two rats, two hamsters, and an ever-changing number of fish reside in an old farmhouse on two limestone-ridden acres in the Hill Country of Central Texas.
My irrational obsessions include: bright blue borage flowers, embroidered pillows, tunics, vintage tablecloths, shoe lasts, rusted iron, my daughter's smile, and the sunshine on my face.