Working a farm

by DRM

long vista of house

This field has lay fallow but the crops are thriving on other parts of our land.

That’s how I imagine a farmer would explain the barrenness here on drmstream.

I didn’t grow up on a farm. I did grow up in a place where families still worked the land. Cows would  shamble into our backyard to eat fallen apples. A dairy operated at the top of the road. Woods thick enough to get lost in surrounded our houses.

This morning when I drove to the train station I passed the big stone wall at the end of the reservoir and thought, I should go stand at the bottom and look at the sky.

What do you want to feel, I wondered. Awe? The sense of occupying some other time? Release?

You want to evoke the mystery of a place.

The writer Harrison Solow shared a moving piece recently that recounts a life-changing experience in Wales that brought her back to creative work.

At the end of this post — neither essay, nor note, but an elegy to experience — she succumbs to her nature, which, I’ve learned as I’ve read her occasional pieces, is generous and instructive. She shares a conclusion about her experience.

The lessons learned from this experience are disparate and manifold, but above all is this one: Write what you hear in the silence around you. Don’t write about it.

Yes. This works.

But what works more is the deeply authentic passion that makes her recounting of the mystery of Wales so real. She holds it up with veneration and respect, a Priestess of the moment. Step in, she says. I have an experience that is greater than myself. Share it with me.

That’s my image of the farmer. My image of the land. That’s the onslaught of words that spill in gleeful disorder all around me, that abundance of words, that unruly, sun-seeking germination of words.

Over these last four months, I’ve been off tending to crops in fields in the back acres. They take a long time to ripen. They require attention to harvest. They turn into one-act plays. They turn into novels. They resist partial sharing.

I’ve given them the time that they have asked for and feel good for that.

Ah. Here’s the image…

drmstream is a farm stand, where the excess crop gets laid out for passers-by. The countless acres that make up my imagination produce the main crop. I’ve been out in the fields. It’s good honest work and I pray that we don’t get struck by an early frost.