Sunday, August 20, 2006

music to my ears: the sounds of Cape Breton farming, summer passing

The other day I thought, "August 17th really marks the death knell for Summer." It seems like someone sneaked in, in the night, and turned the calender pages on us, because it seems like just yesterday I started work, moved up here, and it's August 17th??? And now, only three short days later, it's August 20th???

Forgive my disbelief, but I demand a refund.

Oh wait--I just looked back in my calender, where I would write down the daily happenings every few days, and to paraphrase Calvin and Hobbes, and contrary to my remembrance, the days were just packed. If I wasn't working hard, I was making hay, swimming, hanging out with friends old and new, or mastering the art of befriending myself, either by reading (so many good novels were digested this summer) or by working out, or sleeping. MMmm.. I have become such a fan of sleep.

So my point is, I suppose, that though time has flown, at least I know I spent it well. It doesn't make it any easier to leave Cape Breton in two short weeks, but what else do you do, with a life?

Right now I'm reading "A Thousand Acres", by Jane Smiley, which I think was made into a movie with Michelle Pfeiffer, but which is, regardless, just an amazing book. It is amazing because the author has the wide and well-founded perspective needed to give insight into all her characters, the sensitivity to the currents of a community and of human lives, and all the right words for saying it. It's about a farm in Iowa, and the last book I read, "A Map of the World", by Jane Hamilton, was also set on a farm, in Wisconsin, so that when Kathy and I were putting in the last bales of the season last night (mostly clover, so they were wiry, but light) I remarked that I'm learning to farm this summer, but mostly from fiction. We were bouncing along on the haywagon, which was attached to the baler, which was attached to the tractor. Donald was on the tractor, pulling slowly along, making sure the wiry windrows fed evenly into the clanking baler. The hay goes through it and gets packed into bale size, and the baling twine twists around it in some mysterious fashion and then gets cut off with a louder clank. The bales push out the back and pop up onto the haywagon, and we with our gloves on haul them up and stack them. Once it's loaded we ride it back to the barn for unloading.

Oh and, Janice, I changed Laura's URL. So now your web-surfboard need not run aground!

Here's a few questions for y'all, inspired by things I've been thinking about lately:

What are the songs/albums you listen to in the morning? What is it about them that rouse you? What are the songs/albums that would be featured on your life soundtrack? Why?

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