Monday, July 13, 2009

wide sky visions and green tunnel joys

A month since I blogged? I don’t believe I’ve ever gone that long in the five years I’ve kept this blog.

The barn I work at is in the river’s valley, a very broad valley, and the sky there is a wide sky. Today it was too too blue dotted with the big fluffy clouds that look like you could bounce on them, and wide open. When I see that I always think that it looks like skies that are in paintings. My husband always says, “Yeah, wonder where they got that idea?” At least I am amused by him. At the barn you can often see what weather is coming if you know what direction it is coming from. I like the feeling of possibility there with that sky.

At home we more often hear and smell what weather is coming than see it. Our home is high up on the mountain and the vista here is more narrow, at times even acute. The mountains, the hollers and the draws are steep and the trees are tall. I like the feeling of being in the loving embrace of mother earth.

I had a friend who walked the entire Appalachian Trail, bottom to top in one fell swoop by himself, way back in 1981. He said most of it was like walking inside a very long green tunnel. Two or three times you would come out on a bald mountain top, like the Roan or Whitetop, but that's about it. In Pennsylvania the trail was for a time beside a road and that was a relief, but most of the time it was just one very long, very green tunnel. He was on Katahdin about a day’s hike from the end when three days of rain set in and he was stuck in his tent, sick, and with only corn meal to eat. He did not stop short but persevered to the end. Then hitchhiked home.

We’ve been homesteaders, or back-to-the-land-ers, or otherwise independent cusses for a long time now. That’s our big sky vision. We’ve spent time on it, developed skills, mapped out the cloud formations of it, and bounced on them to boot. We’ve done it long enough (and are competent enough at it) that maybe we don’t have to think every day about how and why and what to do anymore. In fact, we’re competent enough at it that we can branch off and explore other paths along the green tunnel, without getting lost because we have the big sky vision to guide us.

Without vision, all one has is the tunnel. If all one has is the tunnel of daily existence, one can mistake a smoother, level, sandy path as “the path I’ve always known I should be on”, and one can mistake a rocky outcropping that one slides down a bit painfully as some big setback or something other than just how life is sometimes. Without the vision, one is only wandering aimlessly calling random events epiphanies or tragedies.

Ah, but vision doesn’t guarantee that one will not end up sitting in a wet tent with a runny nose for three days eating only corn meal mush. Sh*t happens. But sh*t that happens in pursuit of vision is a good story, while sh*t that happens without vision is just whining. Vision gets you up the mountain, lack of it just thinks maybe it might be nice to do.

Husband was explaining to one of the kids the other day why time seemed to go slowly for kids and quickly for adults. He said that life changes a lot for kids, what with them growing, changing, developing but that adults tend to get stuck, doing the same old same old day after day after day, living for the weekend or vacation or retirement or otherwise some other day than today.

I’m still milking the cow and making the bread and washing dishes and pulling weeds and playing with the family. But I’m also working at the barn and riding more and daring to teach just a bit and even riding someone else’s horse in a horse show (to train the horse).

I have wide sky visions and green tunnel joys.

for Cathy.


CG said...

I love it when no one has a clue what I'm talkin' about. (grin)

Anonymous said...

I totally understand you. It's just that, as you well know, I've got myself stuck between visions right now. Still feeling my way from one vision to another, so my view's a little narrow, and whiny, while I try to make my own, new map of wide sky. And I'm trying not to whine about it. ;-)

Anonymous said...

(Which is why I haven't been writing in my own blog lately...)

CG said...

we have missed you.

rowena___. said...

stuck between visions, that's me too. but this post is nudging me in the right direction, i think.

CG said...

you two are very funny . . . to me . . . in that I was just the other day thinking I should write Annette an e-mail about how "in-between" I am right now. But whereas you, Rowena, achieved your dreams, mine were more thwarted and yet have come back to me. But this post is some about not having to only do this. In fact, I'd say the pure independence of this sort of lifestyle enhances the being able to follow some of the possibilities of tangential visions.

Anyway, 27 pints of jam today.