Monday, October 12, 2009

my endless numbered days

I pulled out of the parking lot fast today. Peeled out, really. I turned up the truck's stereo as loud as it would go and let Radiohead's Ok Computer carry me home. Karma Police came on and I smiled coyly. The song, all their songs, are wonderful but tonight the ending bars of the last chorus were absolutely perfect. I left the office's driveway singing with Mr. Yorke like we were in the same booth of a bar and each owed the other something important but forgot it four drinks ago. The truck had been sitting in the driveway all weekend, and had accumulated a large collection of leaves that were too wet to fly out this morning. As I sped down the highway they burst out from the bed in a fury just as the music hit its peak. You can't construct moments like that. I was a fall machine and I knew the evening would be beautiful.

I got home and almost ran to the front door. I opened it and Annie leapt up into my arms, whining, begging for what was left of the sunlight. I told my fine dogs we were going for a walk and they howled and stomped their paws as we leashed up. We ran off and up the the dirt roads. The dogs love the dead leaves by the the edges and wade through them like creek water. With the dead children of oaks and maples up to their elbows, they'd stride like the grandest brace of horses. Thrush WOOooosh Thrish THRASH was the joyful noise their pace would echo. We walked fast, west, downhill. Into the sunset, racing it to the old cemetery where men who plowed these hills before the Civil War lie dead. We ran up over the grass that covered the brave that came before us, and looked over all of West Sandgate, like kings.

A girl. Her dogs. Her Fall.

We came home and I let the dogs lap water and eat their dinners. Then I went outside to feed the sheep. I was so happy this morning when I walked out in the 28 degree cold and watched all three emerge from their small shed in a pile. I had filled it with heavy clean straw the night before and knew they woke up safe and warm. Joseph, the black lamb, was welcomed in the barn with the others. He was last to come out, groggy, a baby.

I took Finn out too, to play and headbutt and run around the yard following me like the dog he always knew he was. I collected five perfect brown eggs and fed the rabbits. I stacked wood and felt my body get hot as the night grew chill. I felt lucky. I felt alive.

Indoors again—I immediately turned on the record player. Our Endless Numbered Days was on the turntable and I let side one play as I started a loaf of bread in the kitchen. The song On Your Wings came on and played with the hollow distance that only an old record player can really growl. I know nearly every Iron and Wine song by heart and sang along as I kneaded.

"How we rise when we're born like the ravens in the corn...On their wings, on our knees, crawling careless from the seas. God, give us love in the time that we have..."

I sing those words like my mouth isn't a human mouth at all. Like some wild dog with the ability to move its jowls in elegant ways could sing. I sing like the fox I want dead and as I sing I am happy he's not. Because if he could sing, he would sing those words too. This may sound odd but that song is like that—specially as it cracks on the record player—which is older than I am.

Dinner tonight will be a simple, favorite, meal. A small loaf of bread pulled out of the oven and sliced open like a baked potato. I'll sprinkle in a little seasoning and cheddar and eat it with slow and grateful bites washed down with iced apple cider from a mason jar. But that will be hours from now. First I have a couple thousand words to write for a publisher and hopefully I'll award myself every five hundred or so with a guitar break. I want to work on that song I wrote. I'll sway between projects as I stoke the fireplace. I may not be asleep until late.

But that's okay because tonight, darling, is all about Autumn. It's about being happy I'm not dead yet. Pretty simple. Which is what this month is all about to me. It's Thanksgiving in Canada today and Thanksgiving at a cabin at the end of the world. Tucked in a hidden hollow in a mountain in Vermont one girl, two dogs, a flock of sheep, a goat, some chickens, rabbits and music are all humming with October. Which I honestly think was born right here in Bennington County. We are blessed in ways we do not have the ability to understand. Nights like these really are my endless numbered days.

I didn't spend any money tonight. I didn't get drunk, or make love, or do any drugs. I didn't have a party, or plan a vacation, or even get kissed on the forehead. I just spent a day experiencing this holy season the best ways I know how: with sweat and animals and woodsmoke and good food. And because of that I feel like I did all those things in which I did not. Which in a way, just might, be better. At least tonight anyway.

At least tonight.

36 Comments:

Blogger ashley english said...

We are of the same bones and marrow, you and I. Wish we were a bit closer to relish these quiet, still reveries together. I'm hoisting a cider with you in mind! Cheers, my happy homesteading compatriot!

October 12, 2009 at 8:33 PM  
OpenID localnourishment said...

Some perfect days need neither human companionship nor the artificial high of drink or drug. When people speak to me of Heaven, a scene similar to what you have described leaps to my mind. Someday, someday...

October 12, 2009 at 8:37 PM  
Blogger CJS said...

My god, girl, you can write. Thanks.

October 12, 2009 at 8:43 PM  
Blogger Vickie's Michigan Garden (my backyard) said...

Ahh such a happy feel good post.
vickie

October 12, 2009 at 8:48 PM  
Blogger Meaghan said...

I haven't commented before, but I've got shivers from those words. Thanks, Jenna.

October 12, 2009 at 8:55 PM  
Blogger Chelli said...

Thanks for sharing your "oh so perfect" day!

October 12, 2009 at 9:00 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Amen!

October 12, 2009 at 9:00 PM  
Blogger Darcie said...

Wow Jenna, you really conveyed how elemental your life is. Very moving.

October 12, 2009 at 9:02 PM  
Blogger Dime Store Thrift said...

Jenny, you make me swoon. I can feel the love you have for that farm of yours in every.single.word.you.type.
You are so in love with it and taking us along for the ride!

October 12, 2009 at 9:06 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Jenna.

October 12, 2009 at 9:12 PM  
Blogger finsandfeathers said...

Another great addition to your library of the simple life devotional materials.

Any hints on what the new book will be about?

October 12, 2009 at 9:31 PM  
Blogger Sarah Rachelle said...

Poetry. Thank you.

October 12, 2009 at 9:42 PM  
Blogger Gail said...

Somehow you described the way that fall always makes me feel. Blessed Be.

October 12, 2009 at 9:42 PM  
Blogger Carrie said...

Just what I needed to hear today. When everything else seems to be falling apart. I needed to hear this today. I needed your inspiration to push forward. Thanks for everything!!!

October 12, 2009 at 10:24 PM  
Blogger Alicia said...

You have so much love for the simple pleasures in life, Jenna. Thanks for another awesome post.

"'Tis the time of the ancestors," my grandmother would say. "And of course, fire, music, animals, and storytelling." Blessed be.

October 12, 2009 at 10:26 PM  
Blogger BJ Gingles said...

I sit here after a hard day at work and thrill as I read your words. Thanks so much for sharing.

October 12, 2009 at 11:14 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

Happiness is finding fulfillment in the simple things around you. You sure can put your feelings to text, you have a gift!

October 13, 2009 at 12:38 AM  
Blogger ammamcp said...

I echo all the sentiments for your gift with words. I always feel I'm walking or riding or sitting alongside you as you dance on the path. Thanks! You are always a bright spot in my day...

October 13, 2009 at 1:23 AM  
Blogger Goodiegang said...

A truly wonderful post as usual!!!

October 13, 2009 at 1:43 AM  
Blogger Sparkless said...

Wonderful post! I can't wait to read your next book.

October 13, 2009 at 1:44 AM  
Blogger MrsL said...

Great post. :)

MrsL

xx

October 13, 2009 at 2:56 AM  
OpenID frau-wolle said...

What a beatiful entry, Jenna. I'm coming out of lurkdom because your words moved me very much. Autumn here in our part of the world (southern Germany) is a little bit different), but still not so much.
Greetings on a cold, red-and-yellow-leafed day,
Ulrike

October 13, 2009 at 4:20 AM  
Blogger Emma said...

Beautiful!!

October 13, 2009 at 4:30 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

That was the best thing I have read in a long time. Thanks for sharing

October 13, 2009 at 6:51 AM  
Blogger Maria said...

That was just remarkable. You just made my day/week/autumn...

October 13, 2009 at 8:45 AM  
Blogger gilly said...

there's just something about the fall that makes everything ok---- even when it isn't. LOVE this.

October 13, 2009 at 9:59 AM  
Blogger Aydan said...

Your prose is beautiful!

October 13, 2009 at 10:11 AM  
Blogger Curtis said...

You have a wonderful way with words, thank you Jenna

October 13, 2009 at 10:48 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

Not so much on topic here, but that's a lovely wreath!

October 13, 2009 at 11:19 AM  
Blogger David Shearer said...

Let's see, you work full time, you homestead, you fiddle, you write books, and you keep up this beautiful blog almost daily. Where do you find the time, or the energy? You must be Superwoman in bib overalls!

October 13, 2009 at 11:27 AM  
Blogger laluna said...

Ah Jenna, you've made me weepy...

October 13, 2009 at 12:10 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

Sigh. Truer words were never written..

October 13, 2009 at 4:00 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

Thanks for sharing the beauty and intensity of your life. Its wonderful and inspiring to read!

October 13, 2009 at 6:22 PM  
Blogger Dessa Wolf said...

My dear, you truly are an old soul. Blessings...

October 13, 2009 at 7:04 PM  
Blogger hlbrack said...

Lovely, Jenna! Autumn truly is the season of the gods.

October 14, 2009 at 12:32 PM  
Blogger Will said...

Thanks for taking us along on your day and sharing.I enjoy forgetting my day and jumping into yours.

October 14, 2009 at 2:47 PM  

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