Tuesday, January 26, 2010

personal horizon lines

Thanks to the mild weather I'm back in my truck again. After weeks of hibernating in the driveway, she's returned to the now-iceless roads. I had forgotten the simple pleasures of a clean car (the Subaru is a science experiment of hay, dog hair, and random farm equipment/feed bags). I also forgot the way it feels to sit a little higher with that wide open bed behind you. Your own personal horizon line.

I never really understood truck love until I pieced together that it wasn't the trucks themselves most people adore: but the lifestyle it grants them. A truck is another draft animal. A horse you can ride by itself, or hitch to a cart. Sometimes the bed is empty, but usually it is loaded with feed bags, straw, hay, and livestock. Yes, I could do all this in several trips with the station wagon, or employ a hitched trailer, but I don't want to. I want to slam up the tailgate with a load of hay and climb into the front seat. I want to turn up the music and sip my coffee and sing. I want just enough room left in the cab for a black guitar case holding an old J-45, or a yellow-eyed jet-black border collie, or (god willing) a man with teeth as sharp as my own. (Feral men who still adore Wes Anderson movies are hard to come by these days, which is a shame.) Sometimes I look over at the empty seat and imagine those things. It's just not my time.

Anyway, just sitting in my pickup makes me feel more content and I don't mean that in any materialistic way, at all. It has nothing to do with owning a truck. I feel the same way leaning with my back against a tree with a banjo in my lap. I feel the same when Jazz curls up against me in bed and sighs before falling asleep. It is a sense of place and comfort granted by symbols that remind you of the person you strive to be. I want to be a farmer. Sitting in that used truck that carries hay and fencing reminds me of farming. That good work. Even on the busiest highway it retains its dignity as an elaborate gardening tool.

It is, quite literally, my vehicle of change.

25 Comments:

Blogger Brenda said...

My truck love is renewed whenever I haul yard waste to the town's large compost sight, or this winter when the roads were impossible to travel with our car. There are times when the extra power to haul or plow throw a snow drift just feels right.

January 26, 2010 at 11:11 PM  
Blogger Tara said...

I have a very small truck - an '89 Toyota. It's just an itty bitty thing, and ugly as all get out. My most favorite thing is to continually push the limits of what I can fit in the bed. The feed store guy is game for this as well - I say "I want (insert long list of big stuff here)...think we can fit it?" He's never said no. :)

January 26, 2010 at 11:27 PM  
OpenID Tami said...

Owning a truck gives one a sense of independence a car does not afford. When I first bought my FORD F250 Diesel, one of the guys at work asked me what in the world I was going to haul with it. I replied..."anything I want to".

January 26, 2010 at 11:44 PM  
Blogger Thistledog said...

You're so right. Truck = draft animal = lifestyle. For us farmers, anyway... In many parts of the country a truck is just another personal conveyance, but with the added benefit of machismo. Urban truck drivers slay me...why would anyone WANT to buy gas for a vehicle created to haul stuff, just to use it as a one-person conveyance??

I'm so glad you have your truck.

January 27, 2010 at 12:28 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Yes I know that feeling, its a mindset.My Ford f-150 is my first truck. I am a truck loving girl and for all of the reasons you mentioned. The fact that I can carry a 20 bags of feed, or spread a sleeping bag in the back and sleep out under the stars are among the many many reasons I love my truck but when I got the horse trailer to go with my truck it was the realization of a lifelong dream and the beginning of so many new adventures.

January 27, 2010 at 5:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My truck is named Loretta. She has hauled, among other things: lots of hay, feed, compost, the milking machine every morning and evening, and chickens. Lots and lots of chickens.

January 27, 2010 at 8:10 AM  
Blogger twistie said...

I'm glad to know I'm not the only woman who LOVES her truck! In addition to all the reasons mentioned here it's a safety thing for me, with all the wretched drivers out there I feel just a bit more safe. Up higher and surrounded but a bit more oompf! Love the sound of the triton v-8engine in my F-150, and looking forward to the day I'll be paying cash for the truck of my dreams, a Ford Super Duty F-450 Lariat! That's a truck with a nice set of hips!

It'll be because I can as well.

January 27, 2010 at 8:58 AM  
Blogger Yvonne said...

Oh, how I miss my truck. It was only a Mazda B3000 but I loved that truck!!! It was paid for and it got me from point A to point B. Knowing that I could pretty much haul anything was empowering. The only problem was that it was awful in the snow and since moving to PA, where we get quite a bit of it at times I had to trade her in for a car. I so look forward to the day that I can get another one!! Jenna, you are such an amazing young woman. I just love your writing and so look forward to reading your blog every day. I know there are wonderful things waiting for you in the future. I know you will get that cabin...one way or another. God bless!!!

January 27, 2010 at 9:09 AM  
Blogger Maria said...

My truck is a 2001 Dodge Durango, and although it really isn't a truck, I call it my truck. It has hauled everything and anything EVERYWHERE....120,000 miles and going strong! My husband thinks I am nuts because I won't get a car....He doesn't get it!

January 27, 2010 at 9:20 AM  
Blogger Leiflet said...

I like that it's hard to find "feral men who still adore Wes Anderson". Probably due to the Great Famine of Feral Men Who Love Wes Anderson in 2003 that struck so much of our population. *sigh*

Life was so simple then, when we feral men could adore Wes Anderson, without shame.

ps i learned how to drive in a 1984 Ford F150 truck. If i can find a hydrogen powered truck, i'll be in the truck camp.

January 27, 2010 at 9:37 AM  
Blogger Ann said...

We love our truck, too. He's just a little Chevy S10 named Stan, but he was affordable (cash deal!), only had 42,000 miles on him, and is to us, like yours is to you, a symbolic step toward being farmers. Buying Stan when we still lived in town was our way of saying that we really were going to the country. He moved our stuff to storage and someday he'll move stuff around our own farm. Trucks mean business

January 27, 2010 at 9:52 AM  
Blogger hlbrack said...

I loved this! Makes me pine for a truck of my own :) Thanks for the great post, Jenna.

January 27, 2010 at 11:23 AM  
Blogger Kimberly Ann said...

I feel the same way about my Tahoe. Even though she is in the shop right now for an unexpected fuel pump replacement (ouch!), I still love her.

January 27, 2010 at 11:59 AM  
Blogger David Shearer said...

I've never given it much thought, but I think you're on to something with the "draft animal" analogy. that's what it is, really. I never understood my wife's affinity for the truck either. She drives a luxury sedan, but given the choice she would prefer to take my battered Chevy 1 ton flatbed every time. Go figure?

Regarding the man, you realize that you have chosen an unconventional way of life and it may take time and patience before you cross paths with a man of similar disposition.

January 27, 2010 at 12:12 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

I miss my truck *sniff*.

Growing up we always had a truck, and I've always been more comfortable in one.

We've been a one car family for many years now, and it's always been enough (and a LOT less expensive) except when we need a truck!

January 27, 2010 at 12:14 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

I grew up with Dad who always had a big truck. Now, I own an SUV that not only hauls harps, but garden mulch, plants, random treasures I find on the curb and enormous bags of imported cat chow (spoiled rotten kitties).

But every once in a while, like after I rake or prune my climbing roses or clear off my garden, I will call upon Dad to come over with his big truck and help me haul it away. Just for the joy of the up-high ride to the compost site and the company!

January 27, 2010 at 12:36 PM  
Anonymous Tuliegirl said...

I moved from my farm 4 years ago, and after a year in town, sold my truck. That is when it hit me: I don't belong here! I still dream about my truck-we had so many adventures together. So I sold my house, bought property, moved (again), and got another truck. I feel SO much more comfortable now. And, hang in there with the man-thing. I, too, have chosen a rural life- and in our county there are about 3 single people. I don't have an answer for this, but wouldn't give up this lifestyle for love nor money.

January 27, 2010 at 3:34 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

I just brought your book home today. After reading the first sentence, I know I am going to love it... I also saw mention of your blog and hope to spend more time here - reading past postings - and future ones of course!

Linda in VA

January 27, 2010 at 3:53 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Ford= Truck= Ford
Glad you chose a Ford. Nuff said.

January 27, 2010 at 8:15 PM  
Blogger thefemalefarmer.wordpress.com said...

I know just what you mean...There is not one day that rolls by here on my farm I don't use my farm truck for something.

January 28, 2010 at 1:01 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

I loved my truck. I got rid of it when I increased my commute time to and from work. I plan on getting one as soon as I can when move to my house in Southern OH.

Peace,
Pam

January 28, 2010 at 7:00 AM  
Blogger Gretchen said...

Growing up, my favorite use for the truck was when dad would haul the canoe in it to the river. We'd pack a lunch and leisurely float the river. Or maybe not so leisurely - all depending on how deep it was.

These days, I find myself a Suburban driving mom. Though not a truck in a flat bed sense, it can certainly haul and tow a lot.

January 28, 2010 at 11:42 AM  
Anonymous SpiderWomanKnits said...

Oh my golly! I know a man who fits that description exactly. Seriously. We have to talk ;)

January 28, 2010 at 1:03 PM  
Blogger R Dean said...

I agree with Dan..gotta have a Ford..but brand aside...living in the country without truck = disaster...it is a tool that you've gotta have to survive! Don't know what I would do without my F-150...hauling wood to taking stuff to the dump and hauling the labs around...gotta have one..glad you got one!

January 28, 2010 at 8:19 PM  
OpenID thatsthelife said...

I confess, I have truck envy.

For that matter, I have subaru envy! Damn I covet the subaru's AWD, oh how much more secure our mountain drive would be!

But I'm thrilled with my very first car ever, a twenty year old chevrolet station wagon (cavalier). She's old, but she's solid and she's paid for. For us, buying a car was very much confirmation of our lifestyle out here in rural vancouver island. Our life in urban toronto meant a car was an albatross, a liability, a money suck of parking and insurance and gas spend idling in grid lock.

But out here a car is freedom, it's connectedness with the next town over. It's survival, we can now get into the hospital or the vet if we need to. She's so much more than just a vehicle.

We named her Emily Carr.

January 29, 2010 at 9:24 PM  

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