23 July

Rural Life: One Man’s Trail, My City Hall

by Jon Katz
Town Hall, Jackson, N.Y.
Town Hall, Jackson, N.Y.

In rural life, government often functions on a different scale than it does for most Americans, crowded into cities and suburbs. Government is not remote here, government is us. We know everybody in government, who plows the roads, who signs the permits. Town court is held in our City Hall down the road, an old schoolhouse.

The judge is a local person, elected every few years. One night a week, the old schoolhouse parking has some cars, and that is where government business is done, where the judge presides. Government is personal, which is not to say perfect. Our town hall reminds me where I live, where I am, even though there are the usual share of squabbles, resentments, groans and moans. I have this notion that this is what the country used to be like, I am grateful I found my way here.

23 July

The Windowsill Gallery: My Desk

by Jon Katz
WIndowsill Gallery
WIndowsill Gallery

The windowsill gallery in my office was backlit today by the strong afternoon sun, and the colored glass bottles Maria put in there lit up the corner of the desk behind one of my muse statues, a strong and beautiful woman of indeterminate past. We put up a shade to keep sun muted and my desk is 250 years old, farm kids were born on it.  I think the world is a gallery, if you look at it that way.

23 July

My Bird, My Bird

by Jon Katz
My Bird, My Bird
My Bird, My Bird

My bird is always sitting on the pasture fence. Every time I look out the window, every time I go outside. I have tried for weeks to take her photo, but whenever I point the camera at her, from any distance, she flies up into the tree,I imagine she has a nest there is is watching, is guarding. Animals make the most wonderful mothers, protective, attentive, my bird has entered my imagination, caught my attention, if I step out the back door quietly with nothing in my hands, she will let me approach here, I have come to feel she is here for me, she has brought me a message, she is waiting outside for me.

I know this is a projection, a selfish one, but she is always there, she is a haunting presence on the fence, she is always watching. Today, I took my big 300 mm lens out behind the barn and she watched me, but let me take her photo. I hope I can get closer.

23 July

Standoff: Food Riots. Red And The Chickens.

by Jon Katz
The Food Police
The Food Police

We called in reinforcements for the food police today after the food riot that erupted yesterday in the back yard between the cats and donkeys and Lenore. I figured if Red could herd pigs down the highway, he would handle three hens attacking the food bowl.

First, we locked Lenore in the house. We put the cat bowls by the door. Red was stymied, the chickens make him nervous, he always avoids them. I put him between the cat bowls on the porch and the advancing chickens and I told him “hold the chickens.” Rose would have gone right at them and chased them away, Red is a gentleman, he likes to work within the confines of professional herding, as he did with the pigs.

The chickens headed for the steps, ran into Red, who held his ground, and they stopped, and pecked for bugs on the ground. This gave the cats some precious time. Then, they jumped up into the garden and over the short wall and made their move towards the cat food. Red looked at me rather helplessly. He didn’t know what to do, I didn’t tell him what to do, but I was prepared, I was holding the hose with a spray nozzle and nailed the chickens as they approached the bowl, driving them (and the cats) away. I think it was a draw. We will try again tomorrow.

The chickens charged and I said “walk up,” and Red did, slowly and carefully. Unlike sheep herding, this does not seem to be a task Red enjoys. But he does do it, he is a good guy. We have to contain the chickens or feed the barn cats earlier (or later.) More tomorrow.

23 July

Meditation: How Does It Feel To Be A Man? A Heart?

by Jon Katz
To Be A Heart
To Be A Heart

How Does It Feel To Be A Heart?

By Hafiz

“Once a young woman said to me, “How

does it feel to be a man?”

And I replied: “My dear, I am not so sure,”

Then she said, “Well, aren’t you a man?”

And this time I  responded,”I view gender

as a beautiful animal that people often take

for a walk on a leash and might enter into some odd contest…

in hopes of winning a strange prize.”

My dear, a better question for Hafiz would have been,

“How does it feel to be a heart?”

For all I know is love, and I now find my heart infinite,

and everywhere.”

Hafiz

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