Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Usefulness


I don't know (yet) what that title or this photo has to do with anything. I've been slow with the photos lately, having misplaced the cord that connects my external hard drive and blah blah blah a lot of boring technical stuff that keeps me from using my digital SLR. I'm still picking up the Bronica from time to time, but am slower than usual getting those little rolls of film into the shop for developing. I've got a good roll in my bag that has been there for over a week! Maybe that will change soon, maybe it won't. So yesterday I was clearing out the jumbled drawers of my desk and going through old CDs of scanned photos, labeling them and matching them up with their cases (I'm so guilty of CD abuse) and looking for little unpublished photos that might inspire a bit of writing.

I took this one last fall when Tom and I went on the Festival of Family Farms tour. That is still, for me, one of the highlights of having lived at the mini-farm these past seven months. I loved being out on a field trip with him, visiting farms that I now think of as neighbors, thinking about all the possible things. This little corner of an outbuilding was so interesting to me as a record of what people were up to there, the business of the place. All the ugly plugs and weird little tools and rusted metal panels remind me now of our basement, the garage, the hard parts of the house, and the things that make things go. Having a house is a constant act of care, a practice in patience and in both vigilance and a certain blindness, the kind of blindness that keeps you from being overwhelmed by the piles of things to be taken to the dump, the pails of old paint left by former owners, the light fixtures in the bathroom that have to fall to the bottom of the to-do list, being functional and harmless, if unpleasant to look at. I keep thinking about, longing for, a way to keep track of it all without overwhelming myself. I keep longing for better systems, more routine, and being grateful for what we have established. 

One thing I  love is the weekly yard walk we do. Most every weekend, I pull on wellies and a warm coat and follow Tom around the property as he points out things he's been working on or thinking about. I almost always forget to take the camera and have to run back to the house to get it. Same thing with mittens. Once I'm outside, I'm loathe to go back in until I'm well and truly frozen, because that's when the convocation of eagles shows up, or the vine around the bench swing begs to be pruned, or the frogs start chirping, or some other thing presents itself for my attention. There's nothing more satisfying in that moment than giving it. There is a use to all that beauty - it's the way it woos me into wanting to keep working at it, to tend and trim and take great care with that little patch of land and the house on it that serves us so well. 

1 comment:

wrangler said...

Beautiful, H.