“Push it. Examine all things intensely and relentlessly.”
― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
- It’s suddenly quiet out, nature on the verge of a happening: that hawk overhead or the stealthy habits of a fox. Minutes later the evening chorus resumes, the crickets and cicadas browbeating the night. Beside me, my farmer dreams of rough machines and fields of barley, me, the row, him, the seed.
- This tea-green house lays too easy, sits small and old on two acres or so. I should be something more by now, more than a gentleman farmer’s wife who writes monthly checks and churns out supper ideas while washing a pan. More than the whole of mowing, laundry, animal care, and affection. The buoyancy of spirit smiles along its way—but this is wishful thinking, for much of life is drab, to be truthful, and truth is what we aim for. Bows drawn, hope arrows, release—bullseye! (Or not.)
- Ice sheets melt, sea levels rise, toxic bloom, plastic oceans, dying reefs, radioactive waste. This may not be the beginning of the end, but still the earth groans. Nature has a flagellation to endure, and it’s called humankind. Now everything’s in code and the knots are tight, the bolts, rusty. See the corn, row upon row. How much glyphosate would you like spread on that ear?
- Iowa: the place where tradesmen follow you into your home without being invited, but that’s okay; they’re only being neighborly. Iowa: the place where a neighbor, being too neighborly, wags his genitals around for your eyes only. (Aren’t you impressed?) Iowa: the place where with the first batch of light comes birdsong, a slight wispy whistle, and barn swallows. Then at 5:06 AM, a barred owl chimes in.
- The distinctive-tailed barn swallow stole fire from the gods to give to humankind, it is told, and in retaliation, the gods threw down a fireball and singed its middle tail section, since forked. Their mud nests in our barn will stay there, for these swallows are our friends; they snag bugs overhead while I preen the lawn, and I wonder if they don’t fear swooping within an inch or two of my face in pursuit of a snack.
- Walk this forest trail with a big umbrella in a big downpour, and the trees speak: Hide you here or there or there. Rivulets run alongside the worn paths to ground, or maybe to a river, the sea. Who knows? Water has a mind of its own.
- I tell my farmer that in his arms I find a missing part of me softer than the words he speaks greater than the sum of all my broken dreams there are no words or hopes can make it this much better settled into him my head reclined upon these passing years.