birds of a lesser paradise
As I was walking Merlin to his pasture (at Riding Right the horses are turned out and don't return to the barn until late afternoon for dinner) I got a call from my new farrier, Jeff Myrick. He would be at my farm in a few minutes, and so I rushed home to meet him. He drove up the driveway in his silver Tacoma, his border collie Ryan in the front seat (half brother to Jon Katz's Izzy) and we met Jasper in his stall. Jeff worked on the pony's feet and Jasper stood well for him. That pony, while not as calm or trained as Merlin, has his moments. I was proud of him and happy to see his two feet trimmed and ready for a romp through the pasture. Tonight they want up to three inches of snow, but it was 40 degrees the night before the full moon and I left him out in the field to enjoy it. He spent the night running, a roan blur through outside my window. He comes when called like a flash and is calm for strangers playing with his feet. He isn't so bad, that boy. And he looks like a ghost and a story on the full moon.
After the farrier was through, I headed over to Patty's for a driving lesson. We hitched up Steele to his forecart in record time. I understand the harness now, how it all works. I know the reins better. I still make mistakes but I took our cart from the road to up a long dirt driveway of a neighboring farm. I asked Steele to trot and he did, and as we zoomed past sap lines and sugaring tanks, inch-thick pieces of leather in my hands I felt my heartbeat in my hands. I met Patty just a few week's ago and I feel so at home around her and Mark. They are just up the road from me in Greenwich, not far from Wendy and Jim. They are some of my people, and I'm grateful for them all.
I rushed home from Patty's too (but not before I got a cup of coffee) and made it home in time to change for Megan's reading at Battenkill Books down. Her new book, Birds of a Lesser Paradise, is amazing. She's amazing. I watched her present it beautifully, and I watched her husband glow with pride. Jon was in the audience, Connie was behind the counter, and all these people "My Tribe" as Megan said, was all around us. I live in this tiny town of 2,000 people in upstate New York and I'm amazed at the crowds a little indie bookstore and community theatre can pull in on a Friday Night. The Cambridge Hotel down the street handed out dollar-off drink coupons. Hubbard Hall was showing a community theatre performance of Tennessee William's Night of the Iguana. You can come to this town and listen to one of the best short story writers in America talk about her southern roots, get a discounted beer, and then go see a live play. Not bad for a county with a dairy cow to human ration of about 30 to 1.
I'm just so happy to be here, to have found this place. I'm so happy everything (and I mean everything) I am wearing tonight I bought in a feed or tack store. Grateful as all get out to spend a day living like this (on what used to be an office work day!) I'm proud of this town. Proud of Jon, Patty, Connie and Megan and I raise my glass of hard cider to the Iguana's taking curtain calls as my sheep find soft dry places to spend this snowy night. I think I'm falling in love with rural life all over again...
This is my home.
People with words and animals.
This is where I belong.
I am so glad I missed those rocks.