Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Routine Changes

she changes
everything she touches and
everything she touches

Ah, the first fire of the season. The smell of freshly hot iron and dust burning off. The first loaf of bread that is hearth baked for the season. The first meal cooked on its top (a stir fry for which we defrosted snap peas we froze in the spring). Hot water for tea constantly available (well, any time there is a fire). The constant whiffs of variously smoking woods, from the pleasantly pungent hickory to the oak that smells like puke except somehow pleasant.

And I was COLD too. I dislike being cold. But I love the fire.

For us heat is a matter of cleaning off the stoves, cleaning out the flues, gathering and cutting the wood which is done with muscle power and handsaws, and then of course starting the fire, feeding the fire, saving the ashes for the garden, and all that. Our heating cost from year to year is pretty much the same -- which is close to nothing. Except effort. Work.

Which of course got me to thinking about all the bellyaching about how much heating costs are going to be this year. And the whole koan of energy that I’ve blogged about before. (Basically, if we use little enough energy to be able to get by on alternative (non-fossil ) sources, well, then we’d have plenty of fossil sources and would pollute so little that wouldn’t matter either.) And then there is the simple fact that the more energy that is burned through our muscles the less from fossil sources we need and the more the health of the body, the spirit and the planet is enhanced. Sometimes I wonder if there is, in fact, any real meditation or prayer outside of work.

My working a couple of shifts a week has necessitated a sharing of the milking chore. Until now, I have done that alone. The past couple of weeks, husband and I have milked together, him milking some, working on his technique and endurance, with me finishing off and milking her out. My first shift alone at work meant his first shift alone at milking. We both did fine. Well, all three of us did fine, because there is the cow to consider too. She doesn’t like changes in her routine and can get grumpy, hitting you repeatedly with her tale usually, sometimes flicking with the long hairs like a whip and sometimes bonking with the bone.

I happened upon a box with book of poems by T.S. Eliot today, and read what has to be one of the best poems ever, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. Then I read it aloud as we prepared supper. Perhaps this will be the winter of live poetry readings?


justrose said...

let us go then, you and i
when the evening is spread out against the sky
like a patient etherised upon a table ...

is that right? it's one of my favorites, one of those ones that swirls and eddies in my head all the time. this is an especially good time of year for it.

the Contrary Goddess said...

yep, that's the one, and this is the time of year for it. "Do I dare disturb the universe?"

rm said...

I always enjoy the company of the stove this time of year----the little sounds the fire and the kettle make, the need to be tended. It's such a friendly, hulking presence.

Easily Pleased said...

I love your blog. Happened upon it by pressing that "next blog" button on top. Life on the farm... so different than where I live, in the city. But we read so many of the same books/like the same movies/are interested in some similar things. I just loved reading about the stove and thinking about freshly baked bread and fresh milk and covered wagons... I will be back. Please keep posting... EP