27 November 2009

Sunrise, Bedlam Farm. Lift up your spirits

  How many discussions did you hear in the news this week about Thanksgiving, versus the state of the economy. Black Friday receives more attention than any other these days, and I know it is important. If money flows, people will be back at work more quickly, and breathe more easily. I can't help thinking, as I'm dealing with the issue myself, how mired we can become in the things that do not bring us much happiness or real peace of mind.
  Safety, I've learned, is internal, and not something holiday shopping will bring. The people I know with money are not any happier than anybody else. Quite the opposite. Lost int he angst are the many stories of renewal, change and creativity, not as important to the media as money, but important.
  From the perspective of this odd and beautiful little farm, I find  moments of peace and connection. This morning, I met two hunters on the path in the woods. They were nice and admirable men, one a Vietnam Vet, the other back from Iraq and heading for Afghanistan. I have come to admire the hunters I know. I don't hunt, but most of them are ethical and conscientious, and just looking for some peace out in the woods. I wish them well.
  After we talked for awhile, they headed back out into the woods, and walking back, I noticed Lenore was missing. Alarmed, I turned and ran back up the bath. There was one of the hunters coming back out of the woods with her. She had happily followed him down the path.
 "Lenore," I scolded. "Would you go with anybody?" She wagged her tail, surprised.

Deer guts and a big stick

  Lenore has been finding deer guts and intestines out in the woods. The hunters there are ethical and scrupulous about cleaning up, but every now and then, she finds a piece of deer and brings it happily home. In lieu of that, she dug a big stick out of a stream and carried that home. Lenore loves her life. And if you look at her, you will smile. Nearly finished with my last line edit of "Rose In A Storm." Then I hope to return to my short stories. Went to Glens Falls to have lunch and do some chores with Maria. The merchants seem happier this year than last. Hope so. I sure am.

If you love dogs and beauty

  You may very much enjoy this book, as I did. It's a powerful, haunting, elegaic ode in poems and stories to the ancient story of the working dog – here, the border collie – sheep, family life, and the power and beauty of undeveloped land. This ideal is vanishing in America, a country obsessed with financial markets and Black Friday's, too busy and stressed to worry about the elemental and beautiful things in life. If you have worked with dogs and sheep, or working dogs of most kinds, you know what this means and its great power. T Yamamota has captured this in this collection of lovely writing. Check it out at OutrunPress.

My front yard, Bedlam Farm. Reading Tea Leaves

 It's tricky on many levels, writing about personal decisions online. People tend to want to read between the lines, and look for deeper and hidden motives. People want to anticipate my decisions, and guess what I am really thinking. To the best of my ability, I am saying what I am really thinking. It's self-referential, even narcissistic to write about yourself, and as much as I do it, it always creeps me out a bit, but the blog is an open account of my life, and I mean to be faithful to that.
  But I mean what I say. As honestly as I can put it.
  I am going to think through this decision about leaving the farm carefully and deliberately – and as openly as I can. And I am not near a decision. I go back and forth. My guess is I will be on the farm for a good long time. Nobody is going to buy an uptate New York farm this time of year, and I am going forth with a lot of work that requires me to be here. So is Maria.
  We are both comfortable here. There is no rush. I don't have to sell it, and I don't have to stay here. The farm is a potent idea, and it means something to me and others, and that is a good  reason to be both cautious and deliberate. Yesterday, I was dying to write that we were staying here, period. But that isn't the way to make decisions, I've learned. Time to grow up.
  Some decisions are made for you. I see that I have a deep connection to the farm, and that leaving it would be disruptive and very difficult. I see that the farm will be worth more if I wait a bit, and, in any case, nobody is rushing to buy it at the moment.
  I'm surely not going anywhere until I finish my next novel and book of short stories. That already takes me into the summer.
  A few weeks ago, I thought I needed to sell the farm to bring sanity and order to my life. I feel differently. Eventually, it will make sense to leave here. It's too big, expensive and labor intensive, animals or not. For now, it seems to be making sense to do nothing. I don't need to  make any decision today. But I  feel it's valuable to share it. So I'll keep doing that until I get sick of myself.

Selling the farm. And simplicity on Black Friday

  The decision to sell or stay on the farm is complex, and involves creativity,  money, maturity, clarity. It isn't just a matter of following the heart. Or the mind. I wish it were that simple, and I've made many decisions that way. Bedlam Farm is a brand, an idea, as well as a home. I am mindful of the times. Of living simply, economically, with an eye on being less wasteful. Today is Black Friday, perhaps the most truly American of "holidays," and it reminds me that living simply and  with an eye towards waste and scale isn't just a matter of economics, but the proper temper of the times.
  Black Friday has become the barometer of America's spiritual health, surpassing Thanksgiving. It's creepy to listen to so called serious newscasts talk about Black Friday as if it were Christmas and New Year's all rolled into one.
  Maria and I have talked about living on a New Bedlam Farm, which is smaller, open, environmentally sound. More ethical, if you will. Not that the farm is a palace. I do want to live more cheaply and simply, for all kinds of reasons. Balanced against that is true love of the farm, and an appreciation for the personal creative –  and yes, financially  – rewards it has brought me.It is very tempting for me to just say, well I love it here, and it's a bad market, so stay. I think I'll think through it a bit more than that. And as promised, I will share the process. That, I see, is important. And I will be honest about it.
 I have for most of my life been an impulse person, who passed on the details to other people. I don't want to do that anymore.
 I want to understand the details and consider them.