10 July 2012

Maria’s Studio: Whispers In The Grocery Store

Maria's Studio

Maria's Studio: New Bedlam Farm.  I realized a few years ago – not too many years ago – that there are different systems in the world, and if we are awake, we can choose the system we wish to live in. One night when I was going to pieces in the farmhouse, walking in circles, talking to myself, counting the hours until Maria would arrived outside the farmhouse to help with the barn chores, staying alive for that, to be honest, it came to me that I was so enmeshed in a system of fear that I could not see it, it seemed normal to me, as insane as it was.

Politics, media, law, medicine, even the weather seem to feed and feed off of the idea that we are in peril all of the time,  that every step puts is in danger, even our food, our friends, and to survive we had to live a certain way, insure ourselves in any way against the great  terrors of being a human being.

Get certain tests, save certain amounts, avoid strangers, buy protection plans as a hedge against the breakdown of the things we just bought, seek money in redress for every accident, take pills for every ailment, replace parts when they wear out, punish misunderstanding, seek reparations for honest mistakes, avoid responsibility, protect our identities, can't be too careful these days. Politicians exploit fear to raise money, and so do journalists, doctors, lawyers and corporations. If you don't take your medicine, you will die. If you don't vote, the system that doesn't work for you will not work for you. If you don't follow the news every minute, catastrophe will surprise and overwhelm you. You can buy your way to safety and paradise. Doesn't almost everyone buy it? Perhaps they are right.

I decided to separate from this system, and choose another one, and each step has been challenging, frightening, complex, rewarding, affirming. It is hard to disentangle yourself from such a powerful and noisy and ubiquitous machine. There is nothing stranger for humans – we are flock animals, too, I think – that to swim upstream and see almost everyone else in the world swimming the other way. Either way, the dangers are great. It's a different way of living, and you will never fit in with the other world again – not with your family, your friends, the people around you.

I've discovered this strange thing, that those of us who no longer believe in the system, are no longer enslaved to it, recognize one another right away, in passing cars, across the street, in e-mails, at readings, in stores and offices, on walks with dogs. They are our friends, even if we never see them.

I saw a woman in the market, the other day, and she looked at me, and I looked back, and in another context that could have been a strange thing to do. But I knew her, and she knew me, and in my head, I whispered to her, sent her a message: I know you, do not be afraid, walk away from your fear and know joy and love and passion for your work. I am doing it, you can do it. There are others like you, and they are here, too.  And she smiled at me, and I nodded back. And she was gone.

Posted in Farm Journal, General

Bringing In The Old Sheep

Bringing In The Old Sheep

At dusk, as the last light shines over the back pasture, Red goes out to get the old sheep who are grazing in the pasture. Two of three of them cannot keep up, and he leaves them behind to take their own time. The others trot back into the pasture, towards the shelter where they will spend the night. The sheep Red found fell down again, and she may be near the end of her time. Red has brought some rituals back to the farm. Rituals and chores are the rythyms of a farm, the heartbeat.

Posted in Farm Journal, General

Red Saves An Old Sheep

Inside The System

It was raining and I didn't bring my camera. Red and I went out to lock the chickens in the barn and check on the water for the old sheep. Almost all of them had gone way up to the top of the far meadow, out of sight in the tall grass. Red had a look about him that reminded me of Rose trying to tell me something. He was in a  crouch, but looking away from where the sheep seemed to be grazing. I kept sending him to the sheep, but he kept turning the other way.

He and I climbed up the pasture – steep there – and almost at the top I saw him freeze and put his head down in the grass. As I got closer, I saw it was one of the old sheep, looking in shock, lying on her side. Red came up and nosed her and looked back and me. He got at one end and I got at the other and I pulled her up onto her feet. Red behind her, we walked her back down the pasture and under the shed – she was walking slowly but well –  where she is resting with the others. I think she just went too far and collapsed.

It was a fluke that I was out and there and I am glad I learned the lesson Rose was always teaching me. When a border collie tells you something, listen. Good work, Red. His first save.

Posted in Farm Journal, General

Donkey Greeting. Rituals

Donkey Morning

Like most animals, donkeys love ritual. If you greet them one morning at 7 a.m., they will be waiting for you the next morning at 7 a.m., sometimes for years, whether you show up or not. Maria and I show up. All three come over to her for a greeting, a hug, a bump and a carrot. It is a sweet ritual, a sacred rite. One of the sweet rythyms of the farm.

Posted in Farm Journal, General

Sunset Barns

Sunset Barns

At dusk, the buildings become a painting, a work of art, not several things but one thing, tied by light and shadows.

Posted in General, Live Your Life